What to say instead of “OCIA”

24 thoughts on “What to say instead of “OCIA””

  1. Why do we need to call it something else? After almost 40 years of people getting used to what RCIA is- it wouldn’t be helpful to change it. After all- it’s still going to be the “Rites” for Christian Initiation however The Order might look different. I see no point in calling it something else- it’s still RCIA. Anyway I think We’ll have a few years to figure it out.

  2. I’ve been using “The Catechumenate” for years. Of course, I almost always have to explain what that means.

  3. We already refer to our RCIA process as a ‘Journey in Faith.” Using the word in and not the word of makes a world of difference, just like O instead of R in the initials. Honestly. The initials RCIA are usually are usually in parentheses.

    Now, instead of someone inquiring about the RCIA process, they say I’m ready to begin my journey.

  4. 1 and 23 are closest to my choice.

    The RCIA is a learning process of faith seeking understanding for seekers of a community of believers:
    An initiation in the mysteries of Catholic faith.
    It is a journey that celebrates initiation and an ongoing journey with the People of God.

    I never liked the acronym as it sounds like a club or company name and isn’t immediately understood as an invitation initiated by God to draw closer to the Holy Trinity in a faith community!

    I agree that OCIA is even worse, for all the reasons you name.

    Thank you for all your good work!!

  5. I have no idea what it should be called. I do know that I will avoid any name that sounds like or implies it is an event. Events start and finish. I will avoid letting that mindset infiltrate the minds of our Catechumen and Candidates.

  6. hi. We use Journey of Faith already, with RCIA….but I like the Catechumenate as well. Will be interesting to see where we land. Do you also have the same recommendation for the Spanish RICA since their name isn’t changing? We like to be consistent with both programs at our parish so I assume we’d adjust that as well…but would love to hear others’ thoughts too. Thanks.

  7. I really like Faith Formation with perhaps an added tag of FAITH FORMATION: INQUIRING and then a later tag of FAITH FORMATION: CATECHUMENS etc. Maybe even FAITH FORMATION: NEWBIES. I know Faith Formation is used in a lot of parishes for religious education. It could still happen, but just use something after the colon to signify who is being addressed. FAITH FORMATION: WHOLE PARISH!!

  8. I’ve always thought that when we say, “RCIA” we are not reaching the very people we are trying to attract. “RCIA” or OCIA” means nothing to them. Also, many people call themselves “Christian” although they are not “Catholic.” I believe that calling it the “Catholic Initiation Process” or something similar to that would more directly communicate our intentions.

  9. I like many of those suggested titles. I have been saying “the Christian Initiation Process” for many years and I certainly use many of those other words to explain what the “process” means.

  10. The majority of people entering into the process are coming from another Christian faith tradition. It is not appropriate to imply they are becoming Christian. The majority of these are coming because someone who is already Catholic has invited them, often a family member or future spouse. Their first question is always “How do I become Catholic?” This is also true for the unbaptized who are nevertheless somewhat catechized. Therefore we speak of the process as Becoming Catholic.

  11. Deacon Daniel Hernandez

    Properly, the “Catechumenate” or the “Catechumenal Process.”

    The Catholic Church used this term in it’s early history.

  12. Amen to not using OCIA or even RCIA as a noun. The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy urged not doing so in early 1990’s. Yet publishers and even the USCCB continued doing it.
    I favor 1, 2, 23, 24, and 25. Add “baptismal catechumenate” since this is used in catechetical and Apostolic See documents.
    Most of the other options can/should also apply to ongoing faith formation efforts of the baptized.
    As a retired diocesan staffer, 130 parishes using 76 different names would not help the faithful focus on “what is going on here.”

  13. Christian Initiation is a term we have used. It captures the heart of both RCIA and OCIA which is Christian Initiation. Less is more!

  14. Denise Anderson

    Great reflection~ And of course there is the, http://www.ocia.org, the Organic Crop Improvement Association… which I guess does sound like initiating growth and discovery… 🙂 I have always preferred not to refer to RCIA at all and go with whatever references can connect more readily with the rest of the parish sacramental preparation efforts. RCIA usually requires multiple explanation anyway, so sacraments of initiation or initiation sacraments and identify more specifically from there…. For children, for adults, or inquiry promotion for “adults who have not been baptized, confirmed,” etc. rather than, for those interested in the RCIA program,” etc. The names of the sacraments are more probably more familiar than “RCIA” and sidestep OCIA the different iterations for children’s RCIA altogether, as well as the “program and graduation” nuances and pitfalls. I have always found it problematic that some pastors can say, “oh we don’t do the RCIA, like any ritual of the church is an option. Presenting it as this is how we initiate adults can maybe help with that as well.

  15. John J Hennessy

    “Becoming a disciple” – your own lead-in to the question, best sums it up for me.
    It is, after all, the end goal of the Kerygma.
    We are meant to be “mini-me’s” of Jesus – becoming a disciple is how!

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