Wednesday 10 October 2012

First Sacraments

Here in the Archdiocese of Liverpool we are operating a new system of preparing children for first Sacraments.  At the age of nine children, having made their first Confession, will be Confirmed by the parish priest and then receive First Holy Communion at the same Mass - all sometime during Eastertide throughout the diocese.  The link with the bishop for Confirmation is to be retained by the fact that the bishop will be somewhere in each Deanery during Eastertide presiding at one such a Mass.  This is going ahead with a renewed emphasis on parents as the educators of their children in the Faith.

A version of this worked very well here last year when we had a course of instruction which included parents, brothers and sisters and even friends of those children making first Communion - a family catechesis that included them working through topics at home.

In beginning the preparations for this next Eastertide I have discovered, to my surprise, that it is now possible for parents to choose which parish their children make first Sacraments in, regardless of where they live or to which geographical parish they belong.  I say, "To my surprise" because I had always been under the impression that the Parish Priest, with care of souls in his parish, was responsible for discerning and administering this process for anyone living within the parish boundary.  This being so, when in the past parents from other parishes have approached me to allow their children to make first Sacraments here, I have always directed them to their geographical home parish - certainly to obtain permission from their parish priest for their children to receive first Sacraments outside their home parish - geographically speaking.  I have now been assured at the highest levels that this is not the case and parents can choose any parish they prefer for their children to make first Sacraments.  So if there are any parents out there who have approached me in the past, I can now say that such permissions are not needed and that I'm more than happy to accommodate you within our preparations here.

It will certainly help here and in other parishes, where there is a commuting population who attend the Extraordinary Form, when people often request special occasions according to the Traditional Form.

On a related note, it makes it much easier for parents and families who attend the Extraordinary Form in particular parishes (such as  the Institute parish of Ss Peter and Paul's in New Brighton ) who want their children to make first sacraments there.  In the past, I know that they have had to go to some trouble to obtain permissions. 

1 comment:

David O'Neill said...

But will your diocesan bishop confer Confirmation in the EF?