Sacramental Life

The Office of Campus Ministry supports the Fordham University 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 who are 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 one to explore the Catholic Church, go deeper into
    understanding oneself 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: 

    1. Those who have never been baptized;
    2. Those who have been baptized in another Christian Church; (i.e. Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, etc.)
    3. And those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church but never received Holy Eucharist and/or Confirmation.

    The OCIA program at Fordham University meets every other Tuesday from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., along with some occasional Sundays from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; the first meeting is on September 19, 2023. If you have questions about becoming Catholic or the OCIA program, please contact Fr. Jerry Hayes, SJ.

    Register 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. Jerry Hayes, SJ for more information on this program.

  • What is involved in OCIA?

    At Fordham University, anyone interested in participating in OCIA first meets with Fr. Jerry Hayes, SJ, the director of Campus Ministry for Liturgical Ministries, Rose Hill, 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 Fordham University 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 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. in the lower level of University Church at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus, 441 East Fordham Road.

    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 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). Members of the Fordham University community are available to serve as sponsors if you are unable to identify one yourself.

    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 ispermissible 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 catechesis in a private setting with a qualified member of the Fordham University community. Please contact Fr. Jerry Hayes, SJ at [email protected] 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?

    We ask all participants to purchase the book, "A Well-Built Faith" by Joseph Paprocki, and strongly suggest they have a copy of a Catholic study bible, 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.

    Register Here

  • Reconciliation is so important in our lives—reconciliation with significant people, reconciliation with ourselves, and reconciliation with God. The very word reconciliation means to be eye-to-eye again with one another, but more importantly, to be eye-to-eye with God.

    If you would like to schedule an appointment for the Sacrament of Reconciliation,
    please call Fr. Jerry Hayes, SJ at 718-817-1272 or e-mail [email protected] for an appointment. And if you happen to be on the Lincoln Center Campus, please email Erin Hoffman [email protected] to schedule a time with one of our LC priests.

    Additionally, Reconciliation is available from 12-12:30p in the University Church Reconciliation Room M-F and 6:15 – 6:45pm on Sunday’s prior to the 7pm mass.