"Centered on Christ, Ablaze with Love"
"First, thou shalt love God, who created thee; secondly, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; whatever thou wishest that it should not be done to thee, do not to others."
-- From the "Didache", a first century manual for catechumens
THE PROCESS OF BECOMING ROMAN CATHOLIC
At St. Catherine of Siena Parish, we meet on Sundays from 9 AM to 11:00 AM. We begin at the 9 AM mass. Our priest dismisses us after the readings and his homily with a special prayer of dismissal. We then go to the parish conference room for prayer, teaching, reflection, discussion, and fellowship. From time to time, we will have excursions, watch movies, and enjoy dinners together.
If you cannot attend our meetings on Sundays because of a disability or your work schedule, we will work out a meeting time and place with you.
CURIOUS ABOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH?
If you're curious about the Catholic faith or you've even thought about becoming a Catholic, our Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA) is just for you. Adults from all faith traditions, or no religious background at all, are welcome to participate in our program of instruction. The program focuses on four essential areas: what the Church teaches; how the Church teaches; the Bible; and spirituality.
The process begins with an "Inquiry" period when questions lead to exploration. Drop in - no obligations, no commitments, no pressure at one of our meetings on Sunday. If you like, we can meet you elsewhere, like a coffee house to discuss the OCIA.
WHAT IS THE ORDER OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION FOR ADULTS (OCIA)?
The OCIA, which stands for the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults, is a process through which non-baptized men and women enter the Catholic Church. It includes several stages marked by study, prayer, and rites at Mass. Participants in the OCIA are known as catechumens. They undergo a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist. The OCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism. In 1974 the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults was formally approved for use in the United States.
OUR OCIA BOOKS
We use Credo: An RCIA Program from the Dominican Friars of the Thomistic Institute. The book is a superb summary of the Catholic Faith for the preparation of catechumens and for the ongoing catechesis of adults.
For scripture study, we use the New American Bible (Paperback). This Bible is available online for you at the U.S. Catholic Bishops' website. The Vatican also provides this Bible online. Daily Bible readings can be downloaded.
As a supplement, we recommend reading the Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Professor Peter Kreft and Fr. Ronald K. Tacelli, S.J.
I. INQUIRY PERIOD
During this time you have been "inquiring" into Christianity in the Catholic Tradition by touring our church, attending catechetical sessions with us, getting to know and trust one another, and being introduced to the parish family of St. Catherine of Siena. This is also referred to as the Precatechumenate Period.
II. CATECHUMENATE PERIOD
This is the second period of the OCIA Process which involves more intense preparation in word, worship, community life, and apostolic works. One example of this is BREAKING OPEN THE WORD.
The RITE OF ACCEPTANCE marks your step in moving from the INQUIRY PERIOD to a commitment or intention to change your lives in order to enter into a deeper relationship with God in Christ. At this time you may start a practice of calling upon God in prayer to assist you in this process. During this RITE, you will gather before the community of St. Catherine of Siena Parish at the 9 AM Mass, to declare your intention or desire to continue your quest to become a Catholic or confirmed catholic. (Note: where and how we gather will be addressed in a separate handout to follow). During the second part of this brief RITE, following the Homily, you will be invited to approach the altar, receive a Bible, and remain facing the altar until the deacon or priest has addressed questions concerning your desire to continue.
(These questions and the responses expected of you, plus further instructions, will be given to you in a separate handout, but questions will be similar to the following example):
Question: What do you ask of God's Church?
Response: To be accepted as a candidate for Catechetical instruction leading to confirmation and Eucharist. In addition to questions and responses, the catechumens will receive a signing of the cross on their forehead by the celebrant as well as their sponsor as instructed by the celebrant.
Following this Rite, the catechumens and non-Catholic Candidates are "dismissed" from the mass in order to "Break Open The Word" (The Word is the Gospel reading for that day). "Dismissal" from the mass is simply a procession where you walk behind the person carrying the Bible, and proceed as a group to the Melancon Center for a bible study of that day's gospel reading. (Sponsors remain in church as well as Catholics who have already received the sacrament of Holy Communion).
On the day of the Rite of Acceptance, following the Breaking Open The Word session, you will remain in the Melancon Center for a reception where the entire congregation is invited to come and meet you. Refreshments will be served.
Otherwise, on the Sundays to follow, you will be dismissed to Break Open the Word in the Parish Conference Room, and your sponsor will join you (when mass is over) for the usual Catechetical Session.
III. PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT PERIOD
Following the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election, you enter the third OCIA Phase -- The Period of Purification and Enlightenment (which coincides with Lent). This is a period of more intense spiritual preparation -- a more interior reflection intended to purify the minds and hearts of the "elect". A deeper knowledge of Christ Our Savior will be sought through continued fellowship, study, and the celebration of three scrutinies.
The scrutinies are rites that deepen our resolve to hold fast to Christ and to love God above all. Based on scripture readings and reflection, we search through the theme of repentance in preparation for the reception of the sacraments of initiation. On Holy Saturday (the Easter Vigil) you will take part in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist -- the culminating point in your Christian initiation.
IV. MYSTAGOGY PERIOD
The Mystagogy Period, or the final period, is a time for continued faith growth and a time to join the St. Catherine community. It will be discussed in more detail at church.
REGISTER IN ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA'S PARISH
To register as a member of St. Catherine of Siena's Parish please fill out the online form or call (504) 835-9343.
Deacon Don Richard, Deacon Mike Coney, Deacon David Warriner, Steve Ice, Joann Connell, Ben Powell, and the OCIA Coordinator Kurt Garcia are members of your OCIA team.
OCIA Contact Information
For more information, call our Parish Office at (504) 835-9343. You may also call Kurt Garcia, the OCIA Coordinator, at (504) 957-7100 or email him at kurtgarciaRCIA@gmail.com. St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church is located at 105 Bonnabel Boulevard, Metairie, Louisiana 70005.