Campus Ministry supports the Boston College community’s engagement in the Catholic faith by providing multiple opportunities for prayer and reflection, as well as, catechetical instruction that ideally serves as a pathway to greater participation in the Sacraments and the rich liturgical life of the Church. For information about three important catechetical programs and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, see below.
Adults interested in joining the Catholic Church do so through a process called the OCIA (Order of Christian Initiation for Adults). The OCIA is a journey of faith which allows you to explore the Catholic Church, go deeper into understanding yourself and God, and be formed in faith by reflecting on God’s Word, and the Catholic community’s life, liturgy and beliefs. This formation process culminates in full membership in the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.
There are generally three categories of people who participate in the OCIA process:
- Those who have never been baptized
- Those who have been baptized in another Christian Church (i.e. Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, etc.)
- Those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church but never received Holy Eucharist and Confirmation.
The OCIA program at Boston College is a joint program between the Office of Campus Ministry and St. Ignatius Parish, and meets every other Tuesday from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., along with some occasional Sundays from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; the first meeting is on September 20, 2022. If you have questions about becoming a Catholic or the OCIA program, please contact Ellen Modica. You can register for the OCIA program here.
Students who have been baptized and received communion in the Catholic Church but not confirmed are welcome to participate in our Confirmation program which begins in January. Please contact Fr. Tony Penna for more information on this program.
What is involved in OCIA?
At BC, anyone interested in participating in OCIA first meets with Ellen Modica, the director of the program, to learn more about it and to discuss their particular circumstances. The program itself consists of weekly meetings throughout the school year where questions about the Catholic Church, relationship with Jesus, issues of faith, church practices, etc. are discussed. Participants are encouraged to pray daily and to attend Mass on a regular basis. Preparation for the various rites that are celebrated as part of the OCIA process is also part of the program.
Who can participate?
Any student or employee of Boston College who is interested in joining or learning more about the Catholic Church is welcome at OCIA. This includes those who are unbaptized, baptized in another Christian Church, or baptized in the Catholic Church but have never received Eucharist or Confirmation.
When and where are the OCIA sessions held?
The bi-weekly meetings will be held on Tuesday nights from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. in the lower level of St. Ignatius Church (28 Commonwealth Ave).
What is the format of the sessions?
The bi-weekly meetings will provide time for questions from participants, input on a specific topic, and discussion and preparation for the following Sunday's liturgy. These meetings also provide time for personal reflection, prayer and community-building with others who are on the faith journey.
I think I was baptized, but am not sure. What kind of information do I need to join OCIA?
If you were baptized, you should be able to get a copy of your baptismal record (either a certificate or a letter from the pastor) from your church or congregation. Locating records can sometimes be difficult or time-consuming, so you should try to obtain these records as early in the process as possible. We must see these records to confirm your baptismal status before you’re received into the Church. If your church or congregation did not keep records or no longer exists, we can make other arrangements. The specifics of what records you need will be discussed at your initial meeting with the director.
If I was baptized in another church, will I be rebaptized?
If you were baptized with water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you will not be baptized again. If you are unsure of the form of your baptism, someone in the program can help you to figure this out and what your next steps should be.
I was told I need a sponsor who is a baptized and confirmed Catholic who will attend the sessions with me. What does a sponsor do and how do I find one?
A sponsor is someone who is on the journey with you and can help answer some of your questions. They will stand up with you during the various liturgical rites that are part of the program. They do need to be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church. If possible, that person will attend the meetings with you, but that is not absolutely necessary. A sponsor can be a friend, a colleague, a mentor or a family member (but not a parent or spouse). We have people we can call on in the BC or St. Ignatius community who can serve as sponsors if you don’t have someone to fill that role for you.
I know who I want my sponsor to be, but that person doesn’t live locally and can’t attend sessions. Can that person still be my sponsor?
Yes. While the best practice is to have your sponsor attend meetings with you, it is permissible to have a sponsor who is not able to do so.
I already know a lot about the Catholic Church. Can I skip OCIA?
Skipping OCIA entirely is never recommended. Part of the OCIA process includes participating in the various rites that happen over the course of the program. These rites are important milestones in the process and go a long way in helping a person feel connected to the Church. Another important aspect is the community-building and support that occurs by spending time with others in the program. Ultimately, every person’s situation is unique, and the knowledge and experience that someone comes in with is a factor in determining how much time is appropriate for them to spend in the program.
My schedule doesn’t permit me to attend your sessions. What should I do?
We are always happy to work with you in finding alternative ways to participate, including arranging cathechesis in a private setting with a qualified member of the BC community. Please contact Ellen Modica at email@example.com to discuss your specific circumstances.
What happens if I start OCIA and then decide I don’t want to be Catholic?
You are never under any obligation to continue in the program if at any time you decide you do not want to join the Catholic Church. If, after making that decision you wanted to continue attending meetings for your own education, you would be more than welcome to do so.
Is there a cost for the program?
Not generally. We strongly suggest all participants have a copy of a Catholic study bible, and some years we ask everyone to purchase a book that we’ll be using in the meetings, but otherwise there is no cost.
Is it time for you to be confirmed? If you’re a Catholic who has answered this question in the affirmative, we invite you to register online for Campus Ministry’s spring-semester program, which culminates with the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The program consists of a series of conversations about our Catholic faith, with an emphasis on its rich tradition and its heroes, practices and rituals.
Your baptismal record will be required.
The Confirmation Conversations will begin in late January 2023 and will take place across several Sundays at noon in St. Joseph's Chapel (Gonzaga Hall on Upper Campus). Please register below or for more information call Campus Ministry at 617-552-3475 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each fall and spring, Campus Ministry offers a Marriage Preparation Program for both the Boston College community and the St. Ignatius Parish in Chestnut Hill. The infrastructure of the program is a series of presentations by married couples centered on topics typical of marriage life. These presentations are followed by exercises purposely designed to engender focused reflection and discussion about these topics among the engaged couples. Following each presentation, engaged couples are free to ask questions of the presenters; but outside of this - there is no public sharing with the whole group. Instead, private time is weaved throughout the program for engaged couples to go off by themselves for the kind of heart-to-heart talks that honor the spirit of the program, which is: to grow in relationship. Convicted that prayer enlarges the heart, the program opens and closes with prayer. Breakfast foods, lunch, and beverages are provided. Because participants are limited to 15 engaged couples, interested couples are encouraged to register as soon as possible.
Fall Date: Saturday, September 24, 2022
Location: 825 Centre St. Newton, MA 02458
For more information, please call Campus Ministry at 617-552-3475.
Reconciliation is so important in our lives—reconciliation with significant people, reconciliation with ourselves, and reconciliation with God.
If you would like the Sacrament of Reconciliation on an individual basis, please call (617) 552-3475 or e-mail email@example.com for an appointment. You can also stop by Campus Ministry (McElroy 233) during office hours to schedule a time.
Additionally, Reconciliation is available before or after any of our daily or Sunday liturgies, just ask the presider.
Manresa House is a place for discernment, hospitality, conversation, and spirituality concerned with helping students and staff consider where they feel God might be leading them in their lives. We hope to be a resource for people at any step in the journey, whether you just want to learn more or whether you feel ready to commit to religious life.
Congratulations on your engagement! Having your marriage at Boston College speaks to the important place our University community has in your life and, as you begin wedding preparations, we want to help make planning this special celebration easier. Information on the use of the chapel, scheduling a wedding, planning the ceremony, and more can be found on the Weddings page.