Unconfirmed Catholic at a Baptism

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Q.  Can an unconfirmed Catholic serve as a Christian witness at a baptism? A.   An unconfirmed Catholic is not qualified to be a godparent, so someone has to fulfill that role. There is no provision in the law for an unconfirmed Catholic serving as a Christian witness, but it is a logical alternative as long as someone else serves as the godparent. The unconfirmed Catholic could take part in the liturgy with the godparent and pose for photos, but the church record has to indicate one godparent. You could also encourage the unconfirmed Catholic to take the necessary steps …

Priest Washing Hands at Mass

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Q.  Is the priest representing anyone when he washes his hands at mass? A.  No. There’s no connection to Pontius Pilate. The priest is praying that his own sins be washed away. The practice probably began as a way for the priest to wash up after handling the incense.

Saints and Votive Candle Holders

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Q.  There is a parishioner who says you MUST have a picture of a saint behind a votive candle holder.  Is there any teaching that says this? A.   Nope. There is no legislation governing votive candle holders and their relationship to pictures of saints. It would be appropriate, but not necessary.

Living together without marriage requesting sacraments

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Q.  “We have a woman in RCIA with her daughter (who is 18 and not baptized).  The daughter decided to become catholic and so the mother is supporting her by coming to classes with her.  The mother is a baptized catholic but was never confirmed.  She lives with the man with whom she has 4 children including the daughter who decided to become catholic.  They were never married.  Now the mother wants to come back to the catholic church with her daughter at Easter vigil.  My question is can I confirm her at Easter?  Can she be confirmed by the …

Rite of Reconciliation Form II

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Q.  Do you have any written words of wisdom regarding the Rite of Reconciliation Form II?  (where the penitent when confessing sins omits the other parts). A.   I wrote a bulletin insert precisely on this topic in volume 25, No. 6 for Ministry and Liturgy. It’s part of the CD of bulletin inserts. I’ve got one about people leaving the communal celebration early in 31/03. A general one on reconciliation in 22/10. And one on Senior Citizen confessions in 37/03

A New Altar

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Q:  Suppose you have a church that is pretty seriously renovated and gets a new altar. But the parish starts celebrating Mass on the new altar prior to the dedication. Now the bishop is coming. What rite should they use? my understanding is that you cannot dedicate an altar once mass is being said on it (like there is no need to bless a chalice once you have used it for Mass).    The rite is a bit confusing – “What Would Paul Turner Do?“ A:  I’d go ahead and have the bishop do the full dedication as if nothing …

New RCIA position

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Q: I have begun a new position in a parish where RCIA needs to be rethought. What materials have you written or do you recommend? A: Here are links to my books on RCIA: The HallelujahHighway: a History of the Catechumenate When Other Christians Become Catholic Celebrating Initiation Catechumenate Answer Book And here’s the talk I gave this fall at the FDLC meeting: The Meaning of Adult  Initiation in Post-Vatican II America

RCIA and the Collect.

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Q.   When the Rite of Acceptance is celebrated at Mass, what happens to the collect?  A.    I think it’s just something that the framers of the RCIA didn’t think through. The Rite of Acceptance was surely designed to be celebrated apart from the mass. For example, the priest or deacon may wear a cope (48), but not a chasuble or dalmatic. However, at the end of the rite, the option for continuing with the liturgy of the eucharist is plainly appended (68). In the Roman Missal, the various masses for Christian initiation begin with the Rite of Election, not with …