Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise | Cathedral dedicated 1921

Becoming Catholic (OCIA)

Our program formally begins in the Fall following the traditional time-line of the early Church when people were brought into the faith community at Easter, but before then we are gathering with those who are interested to begin this journey.  For more information email johny@boisecathedral.org 

Becoming Catholic is a two-way street: one party (the potential convert) needs to make a commitment to abide by Catholic Church teaching, and the second party (a Church represenative) must affirm that the candidate is indeed adequately prepared to enter the Church. So this takes time, which explains why (with few exceptions usually a serious health issue) there is no ASAP entry into the Catholic Church (which relates to point one above about abiding by the Catholic Church teaching about the conversion process). It's approximately six months (condensed from the early Church original of almost three years) that allows both parties adequate time to determine the best path forward. 


OCIA is for:

Unbaptized adults who follow a process to help them grow in awareness to God's call to conversion as well as ways to respond to that call. They are considered catechumens, and the focus will be on the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist & Confirmation.

Baptized in Another Christian Church... those catechized and uncatechized persons from a faith tradition other than Catholic who are seeking full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. They are considered candidates, and the Catholic Sacraments for them include the Eucharist, Confirmation & Reconciliation.

Baptized but uncatechized Catholic Adults... persons who were baptized as infants in the Catholic Church yet not given any religious upbringing within the Catholic Tradition. They are considered candidates, and the Catholic Sacraments for them include the Eucharist, Confirmation & Reconciliation.

WHY BE CATHOLIC? There are many reasons to consider becoming Catholic, depending upon where one is on their spiritual journey in life. If one is searching for God, meaning and belonging and upper case Truth (not my truth and your truth), then Catholicism has what you seek. We have the seven Sacraments, instituted by Christ to convey grace, including the Eucharist. Jesus is our number one reason for being Catholic. We believe the Eucharist IS Jesus (not a mere symbol but substance) because we take seriously Jesus' words in the Gospel of John: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day." We follow Apostolic Tradition as we read about in the Acts of the Apostles in Scripture, where they went about replacing Judas via an election of Matthias, making him unique as an apostle since Jesus did not make his appointment personally, thus establishing the precedent still used today. We are a people of the Word, because it was the Catholic Church that established the Holy Bible that we know today at the Council of Hippo in 397AD. So while many assume that Jesus left us a book as an authority and not a teaching Church, it's the other way around; i.e., in terms of the timeline Christ did not establish a Bible, He established the Church when he designated our first Pope: "thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church." Thus we believe our faith is built on both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, because for years before the Bible the Christian faith was passed on through oral tradition. Nothing in tradition can contradict what is in Scripture, but it is tradition that fills in some parts since Scripture is not comprehensive as St. John the Evangelist noted saying "there are many more things that Jesus did" that go unrecorded. And we're Catholic because we respect authority, or what we call the "Magisterium" which provides the authentic interpretation of the word of God "whether in its written form or in the form of tradition."


< CONTEXT.  This statement recognizes that the Catholic Church is both human and divine. In the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA, formerly RCIA), we'll never make the case that Catholics have been perfect. The Catholic Church has never been--nor will it ever be--perfect because as a human institution it is comprised of imperfect human beings, from the faults of its founders (e.g., St. Peter denies Christ three times) to the present day. But the Catholic Church transcends its human imperfections because of God's grace that resides in it and accounts for why it has endured going on 2,000 years. Christ didn't choose the gifted; He gifted the chosen!

"No one will force you to stay. Have a look at the Catholic Church from inside the convictions that make Catholicism what it is. Walk around in it. See how it feels. Then decide what you think about it."  ~ George Weigel

WHAT MAKES ONE A CATHOLIC? A person is said to be fully initiated in the Catholic Church when s/he has received the three sacraments of Christian initiation:  Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. This is achieved through a process of preparation that we call the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA) explained below. To read what we believe CLICK HERE.

COST. We ask that you obtain your own study materials that include:
__ Please get a copy of The New Catholic Answer Bible that we'll be using; this one specifically has embedded explanations of Catholic beliefs.
__ We will be making use of the online Catechism of the Catholic Church (or you can buy a book version HERE)
__ Bring a notepad/pen or laptop/tablet to take some notes.
__ Finally take a couple turns hosting treats for our gatherings CLICK HERE
(PS let us know if this is a financial hardship for you at this time and we'll find a remedy).

COMMITMENT. The ask is that you attend as many of the forty sessions on our schedule.

< CONTEXT: In the Gospels, Christ met people where they were; but he never left them there. Accordingly, we aim to meet people where they are, but also challenge them to rise up. There's no ladder to heaven except the cross, so we won’t sugar-coat things.

Catholicism will ask much of you, because Christ asked a lot of us. But it's worth it!  There's so much more in front of us if we're willing to open ourselves to God's calling for our life. So if you're humble enough to know you're imperfect, then consider joining some fellow travelers on this spiritual quest to find out more about of what was established by Christ when he told the imperfect man who denied knowing Him: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church." There's a big adventure waiting for you!

Prayer for Becoming Catholic:  Lord Jesus, we ask your blessings on those who aspire to join your Church through our Cathedral parish community. As they ponder your Word and share their stories, may the fabric of their lives become interwoven into the very Body of Christ, your Church. Amen.

What is OCIA?  

OCIA stands for Order of Christian Initiation of Adults. When we bring people into the Catholic Church, or help them to receive all of their initial sacraments if they are already baptized Catholic, we call that "initiation." While the word "initiation" is often used when people are talking about joining a club, we are really talking about a process of prayer, reflection and study spread over several months during which the inquirer participates in Catholic life and worship.  The focus of the OCIA process is Christian conversion - a change of heart in which the individual turns toward God and away from whatever is in the way of living a full Christian life. Those who participate in this process of prayer, study and reflection include catechumens (people not yet baptized) and candidates (those already baptized in another Christian tradition) who are joined by their sponsors and others looking to grow their faith. Becoming Catholic today means being a part of an ancient faith, deeply rooted in the teachings and traditions of Christ, that is filled with hope and vibrancy as we continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the ends of the earth. To look at frequently asked questions about OCIA CLICK HERE