Q: I hope you’d be able to clear a few things for me. Please excuse me if these questions are very basic.
- A validly baptized non-catholic should be “received” at a community liturgy prior to the Easter vigil, but would get confirmation and first communion at the vigil. Correct?
- An adult baptized catholic (who may or may not have had first communion) would be “fully initiated ” at Pentecost rather than at the Easter vigil. Correct? Or May they be fully initiated at either of those 2 Solemnities? What’s the preference?
You did mention all these in a workshop I attended, but I just want to get things right. I might have missed a few details here and there.
A: Thank you for modeling good pastoral care for your people.
1. A validly baptized non-Catholic may be received any time of year. In my view, they are best received when they are ready, not necessarily at the Easter Vigil. But they may be received at the Vigil.
Whenever a priest receives them into the full communion of the Church he has the faculty to administer confirmation right away, and he must use that faculty (canons 883/2 and 885/2). The newly received and confirmed also receive communion in the same ceremony.
So, no, you do not receive a new Catholic on one Sunday and delay confirmation and communion. You administer those sacraments in the same ceremony. You need no permission from the bishop to do this. The permission comes from the law.
2. An adult baptized Catholic who has never been confirmed is to be confirmed by the bishop. However, the bishop may give a pastor permission to administer that confirmation. Ask your bishop’s office for the proper procedure if this is what you wish to do. Such a confirmation is not tied to any day of the year, though many parishes include such confirmations in the Easter Vigil. Again, your bishop will need to give you permission—or he may prefer to administer that confirmation himself, which is his prerogative.
If the adult baptized Catholic has not received first communion, you may prepare him or her at any time and administer first communion at any time. You need no permission for that. I would advise giving the necessary formation and welcoming that Catholic to the communion table as soon as possible so that he or she could benefit from the grace of the sacrament.