Initiation of children

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q I am a new sacramental preparation coordinator for a private, catholic elementary school that does not belong to/have attached a parish church.  We offer sacramental preparation of Reconciliation and Eucharist (second grade) and Confirmation (8th grade).

There are some students who were baptized non-Catholic Christian and desire to be part of the sacramental preparation process.  We do include them in the process as “companions on the journey”, but a twin duo wants to celebrate and receive the sacraments.  Parents have given the okay (most likely without any thought), and their pastor has signed off, as well.  

Do we need to celebrate the Rite of Reception with these second graders – and therefore confirmation and eucharist will need to be celebrated all at once?  Or do the parents/even the second graders themselves have any “power” to be considered Catholic from here on out?  (They are in a catholic school and learning about the Catholic faith through religion classes and liturgies, but I am sure they are not being raised in the faith “at home.”) . 

Thanks for your ‘two cents’ on this.  


A:  If a validly baptized non-Catholic second grader wishes to receive first communion, then the path is through the Rite of Reception and confirmation. Their Catholic pastor passes judgment on questions such as having reasonable assurance that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith – which includes attendance at Sunday mass every week.

First communion is a wonderful occasion, but it makes lots of presumptions. And the newly received children will one day fall under the Catholic rules pertaining to many areas, including fast and abstinence, and marriage and divorce, whether or not they have continued to practice the Catholic faith.

If I were the Catholic pastor of the place where these kids live, I wouldn’t do it based on the description you give me.

But they could probably find some pastor who would.