Becoming Catholic

Discover a beautiful faith in the Catholic Church

To talk to someone at St. John please contact Joe Swiss

Frequently asked questions about becoming Catholic

What is OCIA?

OCIA, or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is the process by which interested adults undertake a journey of conversion leading to initiation into the Catholic Church at Easter. The OCIA is not a “sign-up” for becoming a Catholic. It is a time of no-obligation spiritual formation during which we look at the meaning of life, the answers to eternal questions, and the truths, teachings, and practices of the Catholic Church. Our gatherings are open to all people, and as different people pursue the possibility of becoming Catholic through the OCIA process, they fall into various categories as follows:

Inquirer Anyone in OCIA to check out the possibility and learn more but very much uncertain about making any decision.

Catechumen An un-baptized person who has decided to possibly enter the Catholic Church.

Candidate A baptized Christian who has decided to possibly enter the Catholic Church. A candidate can also be a baptized Catholic who has never received First Communion or any religious instruction. 

OCIA classes are held on Wednesday evenings. As you discern God’s call, please know of our prayers for you and offer of support and encouragement. If you have any questions, please email Joe Swiss, Director of Liturgy.

Who can apply?

Any adult, 18 years or older, who is unbaptized or a baptized Christian of another faith may participate in the OCIA process.

What is the process?

  1. The process begins with several weeks of inquiry and instruction, during which interested individuals learn the core beliefs of the Catholic Church, sacraments and rituals, and basic church history. During this time, inquirers ask many questions of the OCIA team members and class speakers. After this initial period, participants are asked to affirm their decision to continue the conversion process.

    Have you ever thought about becoming Catholic but didn’t know how? This short video explores the process for unbaptized and baptized persons seeking to become Catholic or learn more about the Catholic faith.
  2. Next is an extended period of weekly classes and other activities designed to involve participants in the church community. This period allows participants to examine their commitment to the process through regular attendance in classes and participation in community service events and involvement in other parish activities.
  3. For those committed, the next step is an intense period of prayer and reflection leading to the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. St. John’s normally celebrates these at the Easter Vigil.
  4. The process is completed in a period of reflection and prayer during which the newly baptized and/or confirmed Catholics can further their faith formation.

I’m engaged to marry a Catholic, and we want to be married in the Catholic Church. What should I do?

We encourage your interest in marrying in the church but discourage entry into the OCIA process for the sole purpose of marriage. Since initiation into the faith is a long-term commitment, we suggest you proceed with the marriage, then enter the OCIA process after careful thought and prayer.

What if I’m married civilly, divorced, or divorced and remarried?

If you are divorced but not remarried, you are free to begin the OCIA process. An annulment may be required if you later choose to marry in the Catholic Church.

What documents are required for becoming Catholic?

Baptized Christians of another faith will need a copy of their baptismal record. Copies of marriage certificates and decrees of annulment in the Church may be required if appropriate.

What about attendance?

Regular participation is strongly encouraged at all weekly meetings, days of prayer and community service events. Attendance is viewed as a commitment to the process. Please feel free to discuss any attendance conflicts with one of the OCIA team members.

Does anyone help me?

You will be paired with a sponsor to help you throughout the initiation process. Sponsors are fully initiated Catholics chosen from the St. John community. Spouses or fiancées may assist the participant but are not encouraged to act as their sponsor. The OCIA team is always available to answer questions and select your sponsor. Those who seek the sacrament of Baptism may choose a godparent in addition to their sponsor. Details are explained during the process.

When does the process start?

Those curious about the Catholic faith are encouraged to begin exploring this process whenever they feel so moved. Timing of the process and reception of sacraments is always geared toward your readiness to move forward through the process. We welcome you to begin this process at any time.