OCIA Webinar Series – English

September 2022 – February 2023 |Wednesdays at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT

The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions invites you to join our upcoming FREE series on the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) September 2022 – February 2023!

Register to join us live on Wednesdays at 1pm ET and/or to viewing the recordings! We are fortunate to be able to have assembled an incredibly talented team of presenters who are ready to assist you in your parish or diocesan ministry as we journey together through the OCIA!

(All webinars are also being offered in Spanish on Thursdays.)


Webinars

Even after nearly fifty years of use, we continue to discover the richness of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults – its Spirit-filled vision, its rich history, and its theological foundations. This session will offer an overview of the rite itself — offering a deeper examination of its generous options, its pastoral mandates, and its transforming liturgies.

Presenter: Lesa Truxaw is the former Director of the Office of Worship in the Diocese of Orange.  She holds a master’s degree in Liturgy from Santa Clara University.

From the earliest days of the Church, new Christians have participated in processes of formation and rituals of initiation. When the Second Vatican Council called for the restoration of the rites of adult initiation, the framers drew upon centuries of tradition and pastoral practice. The newly-revised translation for the dioceses of the United States offers us a glimpse of the texts, rituals, and Scripture which have long accompanied the journey of a catechumen, a candidate, and an initiating community.

Presenter: Rita Thiron is the Executive Director of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.  Formerly, she served as the Director of the Office of Worship in the Diocese of Lansing and as the Director of Adult Education and the Catechumenate at Holy Family Parish.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Xavier University and a master’s degree in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame.  She is the author of seven books and countless articles.

The primary duty of priests is the proclamation of the Gospel of God to all.” (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, 4, Second Vatican Council). Other presbyteral duties are considered in light of this primary responsibility. The various rites which are contained in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults and the Sacred Scripture which has been appointed to them are seamless.  They both provide rich fodder for the enlightenment of catechumens and candidates, as well as the entire assembly. This session will explore the principles of preparing homilies which not only enrich the assembly’s understanding of Scripture but also draw out the rich theology of the ritual text.

Presenter: Rev. Michael Connors, CSC is an Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the John and Virginia Marten Program in Homiletics in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.  He holds a ThD from Regis College at the University of Toronto. He is the author of two books, including Preaching for Discipleship: Preparing Homilies for Christian initiation (LTP); and he is the editor five other books on preaching, including Effective Preaching and Preaching as Spiritual Leadership (both LTP).

Each person’s faith journey is different.  As we accompany those who are seeking Christ, we may encounter various circumstances which will require pastoral care, the careful examination of sacramental records, and the patient reconciliation of marriage situations. Often the local pastor and the OCIA team must be familiar with policies, procedures, and canons which impact inquirers, catechumens, and candidates.  Interviews should be conducted early and regularly to assess pastoral needs and no dates for initiation or reception should be set a priori.

Presenter: Very Rev. Michael J. Ibach, JCL is the Judicial Vicar and Ecclesiastical Judge for the Tribunal in the Diocese of Yakima. In addition to his nearly thirty years of service on the Tribunal, he currently serves as parochial vicar at Holy Family parish.

“The Order of Initiation is suited to a spiritual journey of adults that varies according to the many forms of God’s grace, the free cooperation of individuals, the action of the Church and the circumstances of time and place” (OCIA 5).  No two stories are alike. No two individuals are the same. Throughout this journey, the Church expects prayerful reflection and discernment of the conversion that has taken place. How can pastors, sponsors, and catechists offer effective pastoral conversations which aid in this reflection? 

Presenters: Father Thomas Ranzino is the Vicar for Clergy and the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. He serves as the pastor of St. Jean Vianney Parish in Baton Rouge, LA.  He is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of the FDLC and the principal author of This Sacred Bond: A Pastoral Companion to the Order of Celebrating Matrimony.  He was a team member for the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. He holds degrees from St. Meinrad Seminary and the University of Notre Dame.

Sr. Donna Steffen is a Sister of Charity who does spiritual direction and leads retreats in Cincinnati, OH.  She holds a master’s degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley/GTU and completed her credentials in spiritual direction from the Jesuit Renewal Center.  Sr. Donna is on the staff as the Jesuit Spiritual Center for directed retreats and the internship in spiritual direction.  She presents various OCIA workshops nationally.  She is the author of A Handbook of Prayer (RCL), Discernment in Christian Initiation (LTP), and one author of Foundations in Faith (RCL).

“The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) includes several major ritual celebrations that presuppose the presence and participation of the local community given the at the initiation of adults is the responsibility of all the baptized (OCIA 9).  Since singing is one of the most important forms of active participation in the Liturgy, it is important to choose sung responses, acclamations, antiphons, psalms and other songs that will enable the whole community to participate at the appropriate times” (Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, 202).   This session will explore the nature of music’s role in the celebration of the rites and offer practical suggestions for repertoire.

Presenter: Dr. Steven Janco is the Director of the Masters Program in Liturgy and Music at Alverno College in Wisconsin.  He holds a DMin from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  For ten years, he directed the Rensselaer Program of Church Music and for many years, he was a team member for the North American Forum for the Catechumenate. He is a past president of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy. A prolific composer, his works include “Mass of the Angels and Saints” (GIA) and “Mass of Redemption” (WLP).

The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults provides pastoral advice and adapted rites for non-baptized children who have attained the use of reason and are of catechetical age.  “Such children are capable of nurturing a personal faith and of recognizing an obligation of conscience” (RCIA 252).  The initiation of these children requires both a conversion that is personal and somewhat developed, according to their age and educational level (cf. OCIA 253).  Their formation is gradual and is influenced by their companions and parents. This session will examine the particular needs of children of catechetical age, the selected adapted rites which the RCIA provides, and the clear directives about their full initiation at the same celebration. 

Presenter: Sr. Sandra DeMasi is the Director of Liturgy at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Short Hills, NJ.  She is the former Director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Newark.  She holds a D. Min from Catholic University of America.  She is a frequent workshop presenter in the dioceses of the USA on the topic of children and the Liturgy.  

In November 1986, the United States Bishops passed thirty-seven statutes related to the process of Christian initiation. By early 1988, they were approved by the Vatican.  The latest translation of the OCIA provides an opportunity to examine these important, but often-neglected regulations. A committee of canonical and liturgical experts revised the text, distinguishing among those directives which were repetitive of what the OCIA already stated, what was particular law for the dioceses of the United States, and what could appear in a pastoral companion that more deeply  explored a variety of pastoral circumstances. Clergy, OCIA teams, and parish staffs should be familiar with the Statutes’ content and wisdom.

Presenter: Very Rev. Michael J. Ibach, JCL is the Judicial Vicar and Ecclesiastical Judge for the Tribunal in the Diocese of Yakima.  In addition to his nearly thirty years of service on the Tribunal, he currently serves as parochial vicar at Holy Family parish.   

“It is for the Bishop, either in person or through his delegate, to establish, supervise, and encourage the pastoral instruction of the catechumens, and to admit them to election and to the Sacraments…” (OCIA 12). In addition, the OCIA establishes several areas where the Bishop’s permission is required and his liturgical directives are to be followed.  Like the famed bishops in the Patristic era, the Bishop’s role in the initiation process is a vital one.

Presenter: Rev. James Bessert is the Director of the Office of Liturgy in the Diocese of Saginaw. Ordained in 1980, he has been involved in initiation ministry and formation for decades, including as a team member for the North American Forum.  He holds an MDiv degree from St. John Seminary (Plymouth) and an MA in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame. 

“The People of God, represented by the local church, should always realize and show that the Initiation of adults is its own concern and a matter for all the baptized (Ad gentes, 14).  It should therefore show itself always prepared to fulfill its apostolic vocation by helping those who seek Christ. In the varying circumstances of everyday life… every disciple of Christ is individually obliged to spread the faith.  He or she must therefore help others throughout the course of their Initiation… “ (OCIA 9). Rightfully, we seem to focus on the role of the priest, deacon, RCIA Director, sponsors, catechists.  But how is each parishioner responsible for the important role of evangelization and conversion?  In turn, how does this encourage us to reflect on the value of the paschal mystery (OCIA 4) and our ongoing conversion?

Presenter: Dr. Donna Eschenauer is Associate Dean and Assoc. Professor of Pastoral Theology at St. Joseph Seminary and College in Yonkers, NY.  She holds a Ph.D from Fordham University, School of Religion. She assists the Academic Dean in directing all academic programs and teaches courses that are reflective of theology and practice, particularly in the area of Christian Initiation, liturgy, catechesis, and ministry. She has been a liturgy and catechetical consultant and contributor for William H. Sadlier Publishing Company. She currently is part of the Catechumeneon Team for Liturgy Training Publications in Chicago. Her pastoral experience is reflective of her over twenty-two years of work in the Diocese of Rockville Centre at the Cathedral Parish of St. Agnes where she served as a religious educator, liturgist, and catechumenate director.

For those seeking to know Jesus, the process of conversion begins with God’s call.  We assist in this invitation when we welcome the inquirer into our community and invite him/her to “come and see.”  The period of evangelization or precatechumenate “is of great importance and as a rule should not normally be omitted” (OCIA 36).  How can we most effectively draw the inquirer “into the profound mystery of divine love” (37), offer them a suitable explanation of the Gospel (38), and provide opportunities for them to meet families and groups of Christians (38)? 

Presenter: Victoria Tufano served as the Senior Editor and Liturgical Consultant at Liturgy Training Publications in Chicago.  She was a team member for the North American Forum on the Catechumenate and a Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Des Moines.  She holds master’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame. 

“The rite commonly called “Entrance into the Catechumenate” is most important since that is when, coming together in public for the first time, those entering the catechumenate manifest their will to the Church, and when the Church, fulfilling its apostolic office receives those who intend to become her members. God grants them his grace, since their desire is expressed openly in this celebration, and their reception and first consecration are marked by the Church” (OCIA 41). What are the theological implications of this rite?   How often is it celebrated?  What part of this rite involves the people of God? What is the role of the sponsor? How richly can the rite be executed by the presider and assembly? 

Presenter: Dr. Patricia Hughes served as the Director of the Office of Worship in the Diocese of Dallas until 2020, recently transitioning back home to serve in part-time ministry in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  Shaped initially as a parish organist, she has ministered in the Church for over forty years. She received her DMin from Catholic Theological Union (Chicago). She is an adjunct instructor in the Neuhoff Institute of Ministry at the University of Dallas and has served diocesan offices in Louisville, KY and Grand Rapids, MI. A popular workshop presenter, she is also the author of Celebrating Sunday for Catholic Families and has a regular column for Pastoral Liturgy magazine. Dr. Hughes keynoted the second National Gathering of Christian Initiation sponsored by LTP.

The catechumenate is an extended period during which the [catechumens] are given suitable pastoral formation and guidance aimed at training them in the Christian life.    The OCIA’s famous “Paragraph 75” provides the model for all catechumenal formation, indeed for all catechesis.  It encourages 1) a suitable catechesis planned to be gradual and complete in its coverage, accommodated to the liturgical year, and solidly supported by celebrations of the word; 2) a growing acceptance of the Christian way of life; 3) the celebration of suitable liturgical rites; and 4) active participation in apostolic works and the spread of the Gospel. How does your parish catechumenal process measure up against these standards?  How can clergy, catechists, OCIA teams, and the entire parish form our catechumens in the Christian life?

Presenter: D. Todd Williamson is the Director of the Office for Divine Worship of the Archdiocese of Chicago, a position he has held for twenty-two years.    He earned his MTS in Liturgical Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is a speaker, author, and liturgist whose ministerial experience includes teaching and parish pastoral ministry. He is an adjunct faculty member for St. Mary of the Lake University (Mundelein, IL), and has also taught for the Institute for Pastoral Studies of Loyola University (Chicago) and St. Gregory University (Shawnee, OK).  He chairs the FDLC’s Task Force on OCIA Formation. His most recent publications — Great is the Mystery: The Formational Power of the Liturgy and Guide to Celebrating the Rites of Christian Initiation with Adults are published by Liturgy Training Publications. 

“At the conclusion of the period of the Catechumenate, a Rite of Sending Catechumens for Election by the Bishop may be celebrated in parishes wherever this seems beneficial or desirable…” (OCIA 106). The celebration of the Rite of Election (or Enrollment of Names) closes the period of the catechumenate.   In this ancient rite of the Church, the Bishop listens to the testimony of the sponsors, godparents, and assembly.  Based upon this testimony, he judges their state of readiness and “elects” or “chooses” them to receive the sacraments of initiation.   “It is called “Election” because the admission made by the Church is founded on election by God, in whose name the Church acts…” (OCIA 119). This session will take a closer look at the theological, ecclesiological, and pastoral implications of these rites and offer insights into their proper celebration.

Presenter: Laura Bertone is the Director of the Office of Worship in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  She holds degrees from Santa Clara University and the University of Notre Dame.  She is currently a student of Canon Law at St. Paul University in Canada.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the FDLC.

“The Period of Purification and Enlightenment of the elect normally coincides with Lent and begins with “Election.” Both in the liturgy and liturgical catechesis, through remembrance of Baptism or Preparation for it, and by penitence, Lent renews the community of the faithful together with the elect and disposes them to recall the Paschal Mystery…” (OCIA 138). “The time of purification and enlightenment is given to a more intense preparation of spirit and heart.  This period is intended as well to enlighten the minds and hearts with a deeper knowledge of Christ the Savior” (OCIA 139). The season is enriched by ancient liturgies and traditional Scripture passages.  This session will examine the Scrutinies and the progressive way they prepare the elect (and all of us) for the Easter sacraments.  

Presenter: Rev. Jan Michael Joncas is a senior priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul-Minneapolis.  He is recently retired as a professor of Theology and Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas.   He received a masters in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Doctorate from the Pontifical Liturgy Institute Athenaeum at Sant’Anselmo, Rome.  A prolific composer of Sacred Music, his beloved hymns, psalm settings, and Mass settings are used in parishes and dioceses throughout the world.  He is the author of six books and countless articles.

“The Period of Purification and Enlightenment of the elect normally coincides with Lent and begins with “Election.” Both in the liturgy and liturgical catechesis, through remembrance of Baptism or preparation for it, and by penitence, Lent renews the community of the faithful together with the elect and disposes them to recall the Paschal Mystery…” (OCIA 138).   “The time of purification and enlightenment is given to a more intense preparation of spirit and heart.  This period is intended as well to enlighten the minds and hearts with a deeper knowledge of Christ the Savior” (OCIA 139).    The season is enriched by ancient rituals and related Scripture passages.  This session will examine the rites of Handing On [Presentation] of the Creed and of the Lord’s Prayer which are traditionally celebrated during this period.  Finally, we will study the rites of immediate preparation, celebrated on Holy Saturday.

Presenter: Father Paul Turner is pastor of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri and director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph. He holds a doctorate in sacred theology from Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. A prolific writer, his publications include Ars Celebrandi: Celebrating and Concelebrating Mass, The Pastor at Prayer, Glory in the Cross, and dozens of other titles. He is a former president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, a member of Societas Liturgica, and the Catholic Academy of Liturgy. He is the recipient of the Frederick McManus Award from the FDLC. He serves as a facilitator for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) He brings a wealth of academic and pastoral experience as he daily answers questions about the liturgy on his blog.

“These Sacraments, namely Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist, are the final steps by which the elect, proceeding with their own sins forgiven are incorporated into the people of God, receive the adoption of the children of God, and are led by the Holy Spirit into the promise of the fullness of time, and indeed into a foretaste of the Kingdom of God through the Eucharistic Sacrifice and Banquet” (OCIA 206). This session will examine the celebration of the sacraments of initiation within Easter Vigil (and at times outside Easter Vigil), while bearing in mind that these sacraments are always to be received in a single celebration.

Presenter: Father Robert Kennedy is a senior priest of the Diocese of Rochester, NY. He is a former director of the Office of Divine Worship and a former team member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.  He was assistant professor of liturgical studies at Saint Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. He most recently as pastor of a three-parish cluster in the city of Rochester.  Happily retired from those administrative duties, he now assists in several parishes and serves on the FDLC’s OCIA Formation Task Force.

“The Order of Initiation is suited to the spiritual journey of adults, which varies according to the many forms of God’s grace, the free cooperation of Individuals, the action of the Church, and the circumstances of time and place” (OCIA 5). This session will examine Part II of the OCIA – “Rites for Exceptional Circumstances” and “Christian Initiation of a Person in Danger of Death.” What constitutes an exceptional circumstance? What pastoral decisions need to be made? What canonical implications may exist? How does the celebration of the rites differ? How are the rites truncated or merged?

Presenter: Dr. Eileen Jaramillo, DMin, JCL served as a Tribunal Judge and Canonical Consultant in the Dioceses of Lansing and Columbus for a total of 24 years.  Prior to studying canon law and while serving in parish ministry, her MDiv degree thesis and pastoral project focused on the implementation of the RCIA.  Today, she is a Professor of Canon Law for several universities and a consultant to bishops and religious in the USA and other countries.  She is the co-author of Christ is All and In All: Initiation, Reception and the Eastern Churches.

Dr. Carmel Ann Sperti has been in Catholic Education and parish and diocesan ministry since 1984. Her education includes a MA in Theology, Post-Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Liturgy, and a D.Min. from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY. She has served on the Initiation Committees of three dioceses, served on the Diocese of Albany Liturgical Commission and is an enthusiastic breeder of Collies and Arabian horses. She is a proud member of FDLC.

“Those who have already been baptized in another Church or ecclesial community should not be treated as catechumens or so designated. Their doctrinal and spiritual preparation for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church should be determined according to the individual case, … on the extent to which the baptized person has led a Christian life within a community of faith and has been appropriately catechized …” (National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 30; 1988 edition). How can we best journey with those who have been baptized in another Christian community – some of whom will be catechized others who are uncatechized – as well as with the uncatechized Catholic wanting to be confirmed and to share in the Eucharist?   Which rites do we celebrate?  Which are optional?  How frequently do we celebrate the Rite of Reception into Full Communion and related sacraments?  Most importantly, how do we respect their baptismal status?

Presenter: Rev. Ronald Oakham is a senior priest of the Order of Carmelites.  He is a former Archdiocesan Director of the Catechumenate for the Archdiocese of Newark, a team member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate and has served as pastor of a parish in Houston, TX and Tucson, AZ.  His publications include The Reception of Baptized Christians: Pastoral and Practical Approaches a revised version of his earlier publication One at the Table: The Reception of Baptized Christians.

“After the last step is complete, the community, together with the neophytes, by meditation on the Gospel, by participation in the Eucharist, and by the exercise of charity, makes progress in understanding the Paschal Mystery more deeply and carrying it over more and more into the practice of daily life. This is the final period of Initiation for the neophytes, that is, the Period of ‘Mystagogy’ “(OCIA 244). “A genuinely fuller and more fruitful understanding of the mysteries is acquired by the newness of the explanation and especially by the experience of the Sacraments they have received. For neophytes have been renewed in mind, have ultimately tasted the good word of God, have shared Communion in the Holy Spirit, and have come to realize how sweet the Lord is. From this experience, proper to a Christian and enhanced by day-to-day living, they draw forth a new understanding o the faith, the Church, and the world” (OCIA 245).

Presenter: Father James Marcus McFadin is a priest of the Diocese of El Paso. He serves as the rector of Saint Patrick Cathedral and Director of the Diocesan Office of Worship. He holds a DMin from the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.


Past FDLC Webinar Series

Published by FDLC

Since 1970, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has served the clergy and faithful of the dioceses of the United States by providing leadership, scholarship, and resources to aid in the authentic implementation and celebration of the liturgy.