Monday, September 24, 2012

Restored Order of the Initiation Sacraments

Happy Monday to one and all.

There is a chill in the air here in Chicago this morning. Got up early and went to my 6:00 A.M. spin class at the gym. I could tell that Autumn had arrived here in the Midwest.

I have great memories of my time in Tyler, Texas. I have been traveling to and speaking in the diocese for many years. At first, I was doing presentations on the RCIA. The bishop had a real passion for intitiation and what the catechumenate could mean for formational ministries in general. A few years ago, the bishop decided that having two sequences for the sacraments of initiation operative in the diocese made little sense. So he restored the order of the sacraments in the diocese. Now, when parents feel their child is ready for formation for confirmation and Eucharist, the parents present their child for formation, as long as the child has reached catechetical age, which is around seven years of age.

This family-centered approach has been working quite well in the diocese. Once the child has moved through the formation process, confirmation is celebrated with the child's family at Sunday Mass. The newly confirmed child then receives First Communion at that same Mass. The bishop of the diocese has confirmed and given First Communion to thousands of children over the past several years. He was quoted as saying something like, "Even if you have only one child for confirmation and Eucharist in your parish, I will come; after all, that's my job." I think this bishop showed lots of courage in restoring the order; it has taken lots of work and the diocese is still moving through the attending issues that result from such a move. But I have to hand it to this small diocese; they are definitely on the right track in my book.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a fantastic policy. It puts the responsibility back in the hands of the parents to "bring their child up in the faith." We have way too many parents who drop their kids off on Sunday morning for Religious Ed classes, and leave and go to the grocery store or somewhere else. They don't invest their own time in mass, yet are adament that their children attend classes. If parents had the responsibility to present their child when they felt they were ready, it would bring ownership back into play----the parents would need to know their faith before they expected their children to embrace it.

Tim Rohr said...

Don't blame the parents. They were taught to do that. They were taught that they weren't good enough to educate their own child by being commanded to drop their children off for the last 3 decades. It is the church leadership that violated the Catholic teaching that the parent is the first educator of the child. Yes, it is time to restore. But it is also time to admit why we have gone so wrong.