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20 OCIT Students Recognized During All-School Mass

On Friday, December 8, 2023, 20 students from Catholic Central’s Order of Christian Initiation For Teenagers (OCIT) program were recognized during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Mass for starting their journey in the Catholic faith.  

“This year, there is one senior, 13 juniors, two sophomores, and four freshmen students entering the program. OCIT stands for the Order of Christian Initiation of Teens. It's an adaptation of the typical process you'd find at a parish called the OCIA ("A" for adults),” stated Theology Teacher and Co-Moderator of OCIT, Mr. Colin Whitehead. 

The OCIT program was founded in 2018 and allows non-Christian students from Catholic Central to get baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church. Students who complete the OCIT program enter the Catholic Church during an all-school Mass held at the end of the year.  

The program is growing in popularity. Last year, 11 students entered the Catholic Church through CC’s OCIT program during an all-school Mass celebrated by Bishop Hanchon. In 2022, the program had three students.  

The program was founded by Frs. Bill Riegal, CSB, Dennis Noelke, CSB, and Director of Campus Ministry, Mr. Kevin Walters, with special permission from Archbishop Vigneron. The goal is to begin the faith formation for teenagers.  

The process helps prepare students to be received and create a connection with their local parish. Formation occurs during the school day. However, the first step is for each candidate to ensure their local involvement at their parish. OCIT leaders communicate with parish pastors to make this possible for students.  

The program is primarily geared toward high school students who are unbaptized or who were baptized in another denomination and wish to enter full communion with the Catholic Church.  

There are two types of students in the process: 

  1. Students who are not Catholic and have expressed a desire to become Catholic. 

  1. Students who are Catholic but have not been fully initiated (for example, they are missing either Confirmation or First Communion).   

Mr. Whitehead stated that many students join because they have a desire for the Eucharist. He stated that many students witness their friends go through the program who are active and confident in their faith and this inspires them to join as well. Other students are influenced by the faith of a grandparent or by what they learn in class when taking Theology classes at CC.  

“One student said that his faith has become more important to him for two reasons: Attending Mass at CC and doing service (specifically serving people experiencing homelessness at St. Aloysius in Detroit). Another student said that he appreciates the moral values that the Church encourages us to strive for and the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Confession,” shared Mr. Whitehead.  

The OCIT process is supervised by a team of Basilian Fathers and members of the Catholic Central faculty and staff. Students meet every other week in the fall and once a week in the spring to prepare for the Mass of Initiation, where they receive the Sacraments of Initiation and are welcomed into the Church.  

“Over the next few months, students will cultivate deeper habits of prayer as they prepare to receive their sacraments. There is a strong focus on cultivating a daily habit of prayer and reflecting on the Gospel from the prior Sunday's Mass,” stated Mr. Whitehead. 

The OCIT process begins in September when students first express their interest in joining. The first meeting is held in October. By the end of the month, students are asked to pick their Godparent or sponsor. In November and December, students solicit their baptismal certificates if they are baptized, identify a local parish that they want to become involved in, and submit their confirmation names.  

They meet with the Archbishop at the Rite of Election of Catechumens and the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit on the first Sunday of Lent. Also during Lent, students receive their Scrutinies, schedule their first confession with Basilian Fathers, and finalize their faith at the Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation all-school Mass in April. 

During today’s ceremony, OCIT members Hudson Todd ‘24 and Jack McHugh ‘25 held an incredibly special refinished chalice dating back to 1906 as Father Fulton explained its relevance. "You’re going to see something which none of you have seen before or will ever see again,” Father Fulton told Mass attendees, referring to the consecration of the chalice that occurred during Mass. 

The chalice is what Father Fulton uses during daily Mass. He explained that it’s older than Catholic Central. He guesses the chalice was brought over to the original Catholic Central by one of the Basilian priests who was in college in Windsor at the time and later assigned to Catholic Central.  

The chalice was refinished with the help of the Mother’s Club and Orin Jewelers Jewelers, which took about six months. Father Fulton explained that the chalice is special because it’s two toned. It incorporates both silver and gold. “One of the reasons why I like it is because the top is decorated with all shamrocks. God knew it needed to end up at Catholic Central,” stated Father Fulton.   

For more information about the OCIT program, please contact Mr. Kevin Walters at Kwalters@catholiccentral.net.  

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