A Detroit Catholic Central student group that allows students to formally join the Catholic Church continues to gain popularity. This year, ten members have joined the school’s Order of Christian Initiation for Teens (OCIT) program. It is modelled after the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and prepares students for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the eucharist.
The reasons for wanting to take part in OCIT and join the Church vary from student to student, but according to Kevin Walters, campus minister at Detroit Catholic Central, witnessing the three Catholic Central students take part in the Mass of Initiation the previous year played a pivotal role.
“At Catholic Central, we provide opportunities for our students to encounter Christ in powerful and transformative ways. It’s an umbrella approach of our theology classes, campus ministry, and the presence of the Basilian Fathers all working together to keep pointing our students to Christ.” said Walters.
Some students arrive at Catholic Central at different points in their faith formation, whether they have not been a part of a faith community, baptized in a different faith, or due to COVID, they may have missed out on sacramental celebrations. “The idea was that if the school was the environment where they have encountered Christ in a powerful and profound way, it made sense to form the students within the school community,” said Walters.
The program was founded by Father Bill Riegal, CSB, Father Dennis Noelke, CSB, and Kevin Walters and the school received special permission from Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit to begin the faith formation program aimed at teens.
Participants meet once every two weeks in the fall and once a week in the spring as preparations for the Mass of Initiation intensifies. Sessions cover the same topics as in an RCIA program, but at Catholic Central participants are surrounded by their peers and it makes for a more comfortable environment.
To ensure the students continue to grow in their faith, the school connects students with a parish or a university’s campus ministry after they graduate.