Order of Christian Initiation

For more than two thousand years, the Catholic Church has continuously safeguarded and handed down the fullness of the Christian faith, making Jesus Christ present in every time and place and inviting all to know and follow Him.

Got questions?
We’ve got answers.

Questions such as:

  1. Do we earn our way to heaven?
  2. Are Sacraments scriptural?
  3. Why does the Church have 7 Sacraments and other Christians only 1?
  4. Why is the Catholic bible different from Protestant bibles?
  5. What is Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition?
  6. Can the Pope ever be wrong or commit sin?
  7. Why is so much importance given to Jesus’ mother, Mary?
  8. Why do Catholics pray to saints?
  9. Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest?
  10. Do we have to choose between faith and science?

and many others will be addressed.

In the meantime, check out why you should be Catholic: https://www.wordonfire.org/articles/fellows/3-reasons-why-you-should-be-catholic/

“The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” (G. K. Chesterton, Why I Am a Catholic)

If you are interested in exploring the teachings of the Catholic Church, if you need to complete the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation), or you would just like a refresher in the Church’s teachings, then OCI is for you. The Order of Christian Initiation (OCI) is a spiritual journey in faith to discover what it means to follow Jesus as a Catholic Christian and the joy and freedom that can result from journeying with Christ. It is a learning and loving process in which conversion of the heart brings you to Jesus Christ who is our Lord and Savior. Anyone interested in inquiring about the Catholic Church, or her teachings, are welcome to participate with your questions, insights, and faith story in a warm, fun, enlightening, and exciting setting. You will be surprised at the depth and breadth of the Catholic Church!

For more information, please contact Deacon Don Fox at 757-813-6428, deacondonfox@gmail.com, or the Parish Office (757) 898-5570. Jesus casts his net wide and deep; no one is excluded from His invitation!

OCI Family

As people come forward inquiring, they begin to form the nucleus of the next OCI family. Each participant has a unique story and gifts to share. We would love to hear your story of how the Holy Spirit has been moving in your life. Come and join the family!

OCI has several aspects:

The OCI is a dynamic part of St Joan of Arc parish and is a process through which adult men, women, and youth (ages 8-18) enter the Catholic Church. It includes several stages marked by participation in community, study, prayer, service, and liturgical rites at Mass. Participants in the OCI are known as Candidates (baptized Christians from other non-Catholic Christian denominations) and Catechumen (unbaptized). In the OCI, each undergoes a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, journey together with their OCI family and sponsors, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.

The OCI process follows the ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults and youth to prepare for baptism. The OCI has four periods:

I. Period of Inquiry

Prior to formally beginning the OCI process, an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church. For some people, this process involves a long period of searching; for others, it is a shorter time. Often, some contact with people of faith and a personal faith experience leads people to inquire about membership in the Catholic Church.

After conversation with the Pastor or a member of the OCI team, the person, known as an inquirer, may decide to continue the process and after a time of exploring the Christian faith seek acceptance into the Order of Catechumens (those who are Unbaptized) or ask to be welcomed into the Church (those who are already Baptized). This involves a celebration that marks the intention of the inquirers to continue their journey towards full membership in the Catholic Faith through the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. The next period is known as the Catechumenate which means: one who is being instructed. During this time each Candidate and Catechumen is assigned a sponsor from the Parish whose purpose is to journey with each Candidate and Catechumen as they draw nearer to Christ.

II. Period of the Catechumenate

The OCI program’s length depends on how the person is growing in faith, what questions or obstacles they encounter along the way, and how God leads them on this faith journey. During the period of the Catechumenate, candidates and catechumen consider what God is saying to them in the Scriptures, what changes in their life they want to make to respond to God’s inspiration, and what membership in the Catholic Church involves.

III. The Period of Purification and Enlightenment

The third stage of the OCI process is called Purification and Enlightenment phase. This period usually takes place during the forty days of the Lenten Season. During the Lenten Season, in preparation for the joy of Easter that approaches, the faithful are called to a time of personal reconciliation and prayer. During this time, the focus of the OCI process changes. Instruction into the Catholic Faith is replaced with an emphasis on conversion. Those who are already baptized take this opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Confession.

The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation, for the unbaptized normally takes place during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday night when the catechumen (unbaptized) receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Candidates (those already Baptized) may receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist after a time of formation to help them understand and experience the specific teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and are admitted at any time throughout the year. Normally, the Easter Vigil is preserved for the Unbaptized.

IV. Period of Mystagogy

Mystagogy means entering more deeply into the mysteries. After the person is initiated at the Vigil, another period of formation and education continues in the period of the postbaptismal catechesis. This period continues at least until Pentecost and often longer. In reality Mystagogy continues throughout the life of the Christian. During the OCI Period of Mystagogy, the newly baptized members reflect on their experiences at the Easter Vigil and delve deeper into the Scriptures, experience the grace of the sacraments, and live the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition they reflect on how they will serve Christ and help in the Church’s mission and outreach activities.

Bishop Knestout encourages anyone aware of sexual abuse of minors on the part of clergy or staff of our diocese to notify civil authorities,
call the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064, and reach out to the Diocesan Victim Assistance at 1-877-887-9603.