Liturgy and Sacraments

The Liturgy Office of the Diocese of St. Paul serves as a resource to the parishes with the preparation of liturgical celebrations. Parishes may request training for liturgical ministries and liturgical music.

FOR INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:

Marie-Anne Hébert

Liturgy Office Coordinator

marieannehebert@dostp.ca

780-645-3277 ext 204

Good preparation for the sacraments is an ideal means of evangelizing. “All Sacraments are an encounter with Christ, who is himself the original sacrament." (You Cat # 193)

FOR INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:

Louise Lavoie

Pastoral Office Coordinator

llouiselavoie@dostp.ca

780-645-3277 ext 207

Pastoral Letter : The Restoration of the Order of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation


Pastoral Letter

to the

Faithful of the Diocese of St. Paul

on

The Restoration of the Order of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation

… Bishop Luc Bouchard

December 27, 2006


Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

For a number of years now there has been an ongoing discussion in the Church as to the order of the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. I have sought the advice of the priests and catechists of the diocese as well as theologians, liturgists and other bishops and I am now ready, as the Church has recommended, to proceed in restoring the order of the sacraments of Christian initiation. In this pastoral letter, I will explain to you the reasons for this restoration and outline what this change entails.

Background

To fully appreciate the importance of and necessity for restoring the order of the sacraments of Christian initiation one needs to see them within an historical context. Over the centuries the Church with great care has initiated candidates into Christian life through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. However, the sacraments of Christian initiation have been celebrated throughout Church history in slightly different ways and with varying emphasis due to the pastoral necessity of responding to various cultures and times. The Church, today again, wishes to renew its sacramental theology and practice so as to better preserve and express its central liturgical faith convictions.

The current movement to reform the sacraments of Christian initiation began some years prior to the Second Vatican Council in what was then referred to as the liturgical movement. This long work of research, deliberation, discussion, and prayer came to fruition in several encyclicals by Pope Pius XII and in several decrees of the Second Vatican Council. The liturgical reforms initiated by the Council then found specific application in liturgical directives, in revised sacramental rites, in the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and in the provisions of canon law. The point made here is that the current process for restoring the order of the sacraments of Christian initiation is not something new; it has been discussed for well over fifty years and is just now in Canada beginning to affect local pastoral practices.

Historical Overview of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation

From apostolic times until around the fifth century, the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) were celebrated in one flowing, continuous celebration presided by the bishop with the Eucharist being the culmination. This was the practice for persons of all ages, including children. Although celebrated in one continuous rite, these three sacraments remained distinct.

In the Middle Ages (5th to 13th centuries) the celebration in one continuous rite began to disintegrate. Due to a growing concern that infant Baptism not be delayed and due to the difficulty bishops experienced in trying to be present at initiatory celebrations in ever-larger dioceses, bishops were no longer able to be present to administer Confirmation in a unified rite of Christian initiation. As a result, Baptism and Eucharist were administered together in infancy, while Confirmation was delayed being celebrated by the bishop usually in early childhood. As a result, Confirmation now followed Eucharist where originally it had preceded it.

During the 13th to 19th centuries, infant Baptism continued to be the norm but now Eucharist came to be delayed until after the age of discretion and Confirmation began again to be celebrated in the original order of the sacraments that is before reception of the Eucharist.

The present practice of receiving Eucharist before Confirmation dates to the time of Pope Pius X who, in 1910, motivated by a pastoral concern that children were being needlessly delayed in receiving the Eucharist, again changed the order of the sacraments of initiation. Pius X in Quam Singulari established the pattern that persists to the present: children are baptized as infants, receive Eucharist around the age of seven and then receive Confirmation at a later date ranging anywhere from age seven to eighteen.

Theological Considerations

Historical and theological research has led the contemporary Church to appreciate more deeply her earlier initiatory practices. When an adult became a Christian in the early centuries of the Church, he or she participated in a highly integrated Christian initiation rite. Each stage of the celebration reinforced and took its meaning from the whole. Originally the rites were relatively simple and the community experienced them as a single celebration through which a person became a Christian.

The initiatory process had three stages: a person was baptized in water, was anointed and sealed with oil, and then received the Eucharist. This ceremony was presided over by the bishop. The meaning of Confirmation, the anointing and sealing with oil, was inseparable from its integral relationship to Baptism and Eucharist and like them was most clearly understood and experienced as a grace and a gift.

Today however, when Confirmation takes place at a later age, there is a strong natural tendency to place an undue emphasis, one that was not present in the practice or theology of the early Church, on the candidate’s maturity. The reception of Confirmation in the early Church was never understood as dependent on the maturity of the candidate.

Therefore, the decision to return to the original practice comes from a deeper appreciation of the sacrament of Confirmation: Confirmation is a grace

- that completes, strengthens and deepens the grace of Baptism,

- that invites the one who is confirmed to a stronger witnessing of Christian life,

- that is source of courage,

- and that is to flourish in a Christian life anchored in the Eucharist, the Eucharist being the source and the summit of Christian life and of the mission of the Church.

The reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is not dependent upon the age or the knowledge of the one who is confirmed. The grace that is conferred is a free gift and “does not need ratification to become effective,” (CCC 1308). The common practice of Confirmation at a later age gives the impression that the reception of Confirmation depends on one’s volition and maturity in order to be effective. In truth, the sacrament of Confirmation is an effective vehicle of grace at any age as long as it is validly conferred. Confirmation, like all sacraments, is a gift, which we receive and which perfects us.

It is not accurate therefore to connect Confirmation with maturity in the psychological sense thereby necessitating its reception at the age of social maturity. The sacrament of Confirmation indeed strengthens a person to bear witness rather than expresses a person’s determination to bear witness to the faith. This strengthening is something that can be fittingly received at any age. Confirmation, which is intimately united to Baptism, is, like infant Baptism, a gift, a grace and a treasure.

When seen as an expression of maturity, the reception of Confirmation can inappropriately be conceived as a type of graduation into an adult faith. This misconception can cause one to falsely assume that our ability to do good is a result of our own innate ability rather than a result of grace. Confirmation is not about an individual deciding to embrace the faith of Baptism. Sacraments choose and embrace us not the other way around. For instance, in Baptism, God marks us unconditionally as a member of his family and coheir with Christ; we become children by adoption (Galatians 4:5-7). Once baptized, at whatever age, we can no more choose to cease being a child of God than could the child born of a mother choose to cease to be her natural child. Similarly, Confirmation is not our “confirming” Baptism or our faith in Christ; it is Christ confirming in us by the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Christian life we have already been given in Baptism.

Church teaching

This approach to Confirmation is one that restores the intimate link that Confirmation has with the other initiatory sacraments. In referring to the sacraments of Christian initiation, Church documents consistently use the order Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist and direct that their intimate relationship to each other is to be stressed. Some recent examples include:

§ The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, par. 71:

o “The rite of Confirmation is to be revised and the intimate connection which this sacrament has with the whole of Christian initiation is to be more lucidly set forth.”

(Walter Abbot, Documents of Vatican II, (America Press, Piscataway N.J. 1966) p 160.)

§ The Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, par. 14,

o in referring to the catechumenate process, states: “Then when the sacraments of Christian initiation have freed them from the power of darkness, having died with Christ, been buried with him and risen with him, they receive the Spirit who makes them adopted sons and celebrate the remembrance of the Lord’s death and resurrection together with the whole People of God.”

(Walter Abbot, Documents of Vatican II, (America Press, Piscataway N.J. 1966) p 601.)

§ The Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation

o refers to the sacraments of Christian initiation as being so closely linked that the rites and words by which Confirmation is celebrated should be closely associated with Baptism and Eucharist: “In baptism, the newly baptized receive forgiveness of sins, adoption as sons of God, and the character of Christ, by which they are made members of the Church and for the first time become sharers in the priesthood of their Saviour. Through the sacrament of Confirmation, those who have been born anew in Baptism receive the inexpressible Gift, the Holy Spirit himself, by which they are endowed with special strength. Moreover, having received the character of this sacrament, they are bound more intimately to the Church and they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith both by word and deed as true witnesses of Christ. Finally, Confirmation is so closely linked with the holy Eucharist that the faithful, after being signed by holy Baptism and Confirmation, are incorporated fully into the body of Christ by participation in the Eucharist.”

(Rite of Confirmation, Ritual and Pastoral Notes, (Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ottawa, 1987) p. 5.)

  • The Rite of Confirmation:

    • The revised rite speaks of Baptismal initiation into Christian life being completed by Confirmation and also requests that Confirmation’s intimate connection with the whole of Christian initiation be made clear. It also notes in paragraph eleven that “children who are baptized at an age when they are old enough for catechesis should ordinarily be admitted to Confirmation and the Eucharist at the same time they receive Baptism.”

(Rite of Confirmation, Ritual and Pastoral Notes, (Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ottawa, 1987) p. 13.)

§ The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, par. 208:

o “According to the ancient practice maintained in the Roman liturgy, adults are not to be baptized unless they receive Confirmation immediately afterward provided no serious obstacle exists. This connection signifies the unity of the paschal mystery, the close relationship between the mission of the Son and pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and the joint celebration of the sacraments by which the Son and Spirit come with the Father upon those who are baptized.” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, (Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ottawa, 1987) p. 119.)

§ The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

o Affirms the order of the sacraments of Christian initiation (1211, 1212) speaks consistently of Confirmation as the completion of Baptismal grace (1285, 1302-1306, 1314 and 1316) and also states that Confirmation is not dependent for its efficacy on the faith choice of the recipient (1302, 1303, 1308 and 1316).

Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ottawa, 2000).

§ Code of Canon Law:

o Canons 842:2, 852:1, 866 and 891 presume the close interrelationship of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist and states that children at the age of discretion who are baptized at the Easter vigil should receive Confirmation and Eucharist during the vigil.

(Code of Canon Law; English Translation, (Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ottawa, 1983).

In summary, renewed historical research, theology, church teaching, and canon law all support a restoration of the traditional order of the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. This restoration enhances the centrality of the Eucharist as the summit and source of the life and the mission of the Church while providing a context in which the meaning of Confirmation is properly understood. Therefore, this is the

Diocesan Policy:

In the Diocese of St. Paul, all who have been baptized should appropriately prepare for and receive the sacrament of Confirmation before their First Communion. This norm is effective immediately.

A transition period will be necessary for most of our parishes to observe this norm. I will do all that I can to assist each parish in adopting this policy. As of September 2007, all parishes will begin to implement the restored order of the sacraments of Christian initiation with the result that by 2009 all children will be confirmed before receiving first Communion.

However, a word here on reconciliation: because it must be celebrated before the reception of the Eucharist (CCL 914 - CCC 1310) it will also be celebrated before Confirmation.

After Baptism, children will receive first Reconciliation in grade two or at the beginning of grade three followed by Confirmation and first Communion in grade three. One of the following two options is suggested:

Option A

Grade Two – first Reconciliation would be celebrated during the Advent and or Lenten season. Preparation for the sacrament would take place before Christmas or after Christmas. However, it could also involve a full year process.


Grade Three – Confirmation/first Communion would be celebrated during the Easter season. Preparation for both sacraments would take place before Christmas or after Christmas. However, it could also involve a full year initiation process.

Option B

Grade Three – first Reconciliation would be celebrated during the Advent season. Preparation for the sacrament would only take place before Christmas.


Grade Three – Confirmation/first Communion would be celebrated during the Easter season. Preparation for both sacraments would take place after Christmas.

Other options could be possible but only after consulting with me. But these options should respect the proper order of the sacraments of Christian initiation.

The Role of the Parents

I would like to thank in advance the parents, the parishes, the schools and the catechists within the diocese for their cooperation and their effort in helping to restore the order of the sacraments of Christian initiation.

But let me insist on the irreplaceable role of the parents in the faith journey of their children.

When a child has reached the age of reason, he or she is capable of being a disciple and a witness of Jesus. However, it is obvious that parents must assist their child in developing a life of holiness. The initiation of children into the sacramental life of the church is primarily the responsibility and concern of parents (CCL 774.2).

Parents are the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith. In the Baptismal liturgy, parents are urged to make it their constant care to educate their children in the practice of the faith as well as to see that the divine life which God gives their children is kept safe from the poison of sin and that this life grow always stronger in their hearts. Active participation in the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist, regular Reconciliation, daily family prayer and Scripture reading are but a few examples that enable families to live the Gospel life of Jesus.

The Role of the Sponsors

The sponsors of Baptism and Confirmation also have a role to play. It is desirable that the sponsors of Confirmation be the same as at Baptism. This signifies the close link of the two sacraments. If that is not possible, one sponsor is sufficient but that sponsor is to meet the following qualifications:

§ be sixteen years of age,

§ not be the adoptive parents of the confirmed,

§ be fully initiated into the Catholic faith (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist),

§ be leading a life in harmony with the faith,

§ be free of any canonical impediment.

The Role of the Bishop

I would like to offer a final word on my role as the ordinary minister of Confirmation. The Bishop is understood in the Catholic tradition to be a successor of the Apostles and thus who has received the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders. The Bishop presides at Confirmation and is the one who is the ordinary minister of Confirmation (CCL 882). This demonstrates most clearly that the effect of Confirmation is to “unite those who receive it more closely to the Church, to her apostolic origins and to her mission of bearing witness to Christ” (CCC 1313). For these reasons, here in the Diocese of St. Paul, I will continue to celebrate Confirmation.

However, if for some grave reason, I am impeded to do so, I am able to delegate the pastor (or another priest) to preside. In this case, the apostolic aspects of the sacrament are maintained by the use of chrism oil consecrated by the Bishop during the Chrism Mass and by the fact that the priest exercises the apostolic ministry through of his ordination by the Bishop. The pastor (or the priest) must, however, obtain delegation either orally or in written form before doing so. Otherwise the Confirmations would be illicit and invalid. He cannot presume that this delegation is already granted.

All priests, however, do have permission to administer Confirmation to any baptized person in danger of death regardless of age and to adults during the Paschal Vigil.

Conclusion

The challenge that this restoration presents to us will be rewarded as we all come to recognize that the Eucharist is the culmination of the sacraments of Christian initiation and the source and summit of the life and the mission of the Church. The ongoing formation to holiness and the witnessing of the Gospel that follow will always remain a constant endeavor for all who have been initiated into the Christian life by Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. From grace flows responsibility. But without grace we can do nothing. May we always be attentive to that grace so that it bears fruit for eternal life in all of us.

…Luc Bouchard

Bishop of St. Paul

Useful Resources

Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

Codex Iuris Canonici (Code of Canon Law) (CCL)

Quam Singulari, Pope Pius X

Rite of Confirmation

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

Second Vatican Council

§ Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy

§ Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity

Aquila, Most Rev. Samuel, “Send Forth Your Spirit” pastoral letter, Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota, 2002.

Corrada del Rio, Most Rev. Alvaro, “Confirmation, Sacrament of Initiation”, pastoral letter, Diocese of Tyler Texas, 2005

Wiesner, Most Rev. Gerald, “The Order of the Sacraments of Initiation,” found on website of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Wiesner, Most Rev. Gerald, “The Sacrament of Confirmation: Initiation or Commitment,” National Bulletin on the Liturgy, Vol. 31, no. 152, 1996.


Pastoral Letter: Adjustment to our Pastoral Practice

of

Confirmation and First Communion.

PASTORAL LETTER

to the

Faithful of the Diocese of St. Paul

for the

Adjustment to our Pastoral Practice

of

Confirmation and First Communion.

…Bishop Paul Terrio

May 1, 2017

Feast of St Joseph, the Worker

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On December 27, 2006 Bishop Luc Bouchard issued a Pastoral Letter in which he restored the original order of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. This measure was undertaken after considerable study, prayer and preparation. It is now ten years that the diocese has been living this experience of the restored or original sequence of Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion.

When I arrived as bishop in 2012-13, I almost immediately, received letters and comments of concern from some parents and catechists, not about the restored order of the sacraments as such, but rather that with it they found that many children did not have sufficient time to assimilate the preparation for Holy Communion and therefore appreciate the great gift the Eucharist.

In response to this, I consulted with the Priest’s Council as well as several other priests and laity. While some of them had the very same concerns, they all felt that it was not the right time (in 2013) to make any changes so soon after having just undergone the restoration of the sacramental order.

I also consulted with the bishops of two other dioceses which had also restored the order of the Sacraments of Initiation. In one case, the recently appointed new bishop had stopped the new practice and returned to the previous order. In the other case, the also newly appointed bishop had retained the newly restored order. However, he said that while he agreed with the theology of the restored order, he too, found that with it generally the children were lacking adequate preparation for and appreciation of Holy Communion.

Also it has been my experience, for five years now as confirming bishop that while some parishes manage to prepare well for both Confirmation and Holy Communion, most have not managed to do that. And for sure, this is not because of a lack of effort or good intentions on the part of everyone involved.

Therefore, it is the conviction of myself and the former bishop of Saskatoon, that the real problem has been the joining of the two sacraments in one celebration. For children of seven or eight years of age, to be preparing for both Confirmation and First Communion, at the same time, is just too much catechetical material in too little time. Also, when Confirmation and First Communion are combined in one liturgical celebration, the unique and supreme importance of the Eucharist for our whole lives as Catholics tends to be less evident.

And so although Bishop Bouchard, wrote in 2006 that “(t)his restoration enhances the centrality of the Eucharist as the summit and source of the life and mission of the Church”, in the light of ten years’ experience of this form of the restored order, I see that it is time to make an adjustment to our current practice in order to be able to better reach this goal and objective for our young people, as rightly stated by our former bishop.

Therefore, the current pastoral practice for the celebration of Confirmation and First Communion is adjusted as follows:

AS OF SEPTEMBER 2017 IN THE DIOCESE OF ST PAUL IN ALBERTA THERE WILL NO LONGER BE CELEBRATIONS OF CONFIRMATION AND FIRST COMMUNION TOGETHER IN ONE LITURGY.

This means that the bishop will continue to visit parishes to confirm but that First Communion will be celebrated later at a Sunday Mass with the parish priest and after a sufficient time interval to better permit the children to have a more gradual and deep assimilation of the rich catechesis for the Eucharist.

Currently, our children prepare and celebrate Reconciliation in grade two and this should continue. In grade three they will be confirmed before or after Christmas but make their First Communion after Easter during the rich Pascal season.

But practically how is this going to work?

A. Scheduling:

Well, each parish will continue to schedule the Confirmation date with Odette Plamondon at the bishop’s office. (For First Communion the schedule will be much more flexible because it will be a strictly parish Sunday Mass timetable.)

And when will Confirmation take place so that there is a sufficient interval between it and First Communion?

The answer is: on a week day evening during Advent or in January so that that the First Communion Sunday can be after Easter and during the Pascal season.

B. Catechetical and teaching materials:

To answer this question we are having our 2017 Diocesan Assembly.

During it we shall see how “Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ”, the new Religious education program, can be used as either a complement to or as preparation for the sacraments.

Finally, from the bishop’s perspective, unity of faith and pastoral practice which supports and sustains the former, are essential concerns of episcopal ministry. In this diocese, we have parishes with Catholic schools and parishes without them. Also, we have parishes which are First Nations as well as non-First Nation parishes. The fact is that there are very large differences of pastoral practice and resources from parish to parish as regards catechesis and sacramental preparation.

As a Catholic man of faith but even more as a bishop with responsibility for the souls of all people of the diocese, I cannot resign myself to the fact that some children have access to better pastoral resources and practices than others just because of the accident of birth and social context.

From all accounts the “Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ” is one of, if not the, best Catholic religious education program(s) in the world today. I cannot accept that only the more fortunate children of the diocese have access to this great nourishment for their faith.

Therefore after considerable negotiations our diocese has obtained the licence and digital code(s) to be able to connect all our parishes’ children with this wonderful contemporary but fully Catholic food for their lives of faith. In fact, for all non-Catholic school parishes, Louise Lavoie will be able to function as superintendent/principal/Religious Ed coordinator so that all sacramental prep/catechists/parents and pastors can access and participate in this exciting new chapter of the journey of Catholicism in Canada.

In all of this, we are somewhat pioneers because no other diocese has yet tried to implement on the level of all its parishes this new religious education program’s potential to enrich and harmonize the sacramental practice of the whole diocesan faith community.

Also, we are pioneers in the sense that the program is still new. Therefore, during our May 12 and 13 Diocesan Assembly, Charlie Weckend, Religion Ed Coordinator for Ft McMurray Catholic School Division, where they have twelve catholic Schools, has accepted to provide us with their experience of the new program and his suggestions for using it as a complement to or, in some exceptional parish contexts, as basic sacramental preparation material.

I send this letter out to you now so that the questions and suggestions that it may raise can be brought to our meeting on May 12 and 13 for the further benefit of us all on this wonderful faith journey.

Bishop Bouchard wrote in conclusion to his letter,

“The challenge that this restoration presents to us will be rewarded as we all come to recognize that the Eucharist is the culmination of the sacraments of initiation and the source and summit of the life and the mission of the Church.”

May these adjustments to that initial restoration and the prayers and pastoral zeal of us all, contribute to the fulfillment of that noble objective.

Sincerely in the Good Shepherd,

…Bishop Paul Terrio

Bishop of St Paul in Alberta


Baptism / RCIA

“Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the spirit,

and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are

freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission…” Catechism of the Catholic Church #1213

Baptism is the first step into initiation in the Church. At baptism the individual receives God’s grace and becomes a member of God’s family.

There are two rites of Baptism:

1. The Rite of Baptism for Children is use exclusively for children under the age of reason (seven years or Grade 2).

2. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, (adapted for children) is used for everyone over the age of reason (eight years…).

Parents are the primary teachers of faith to their children. Parents take a Baptism Preparation Course prior to their child’s baptism. At their child’s Baptism, parents promise to raise their child in the Catholic faith.

For Baptism Preparation contact your local Parish.

See RCIA (below) for Baptism Preparation for persons over the age of reason.


For more information see:

Catechism of the Catholic Church – Article 1- The Sacrament of Baptism #1213 – 1284

You Cat – Section Two – The Sacrament of Baptism # 194 – 202

CCCB – Liturgy Office – Documents - Renewing Our Baptism: Basis of our Christian Life

http://nlo.cccb.ca/index.php/documents/baptism

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process for welcoming adults into the Roman Catholic Church.

A similar process is offered for children who have reached the age of reason (seven years or grade 2).
Contact the local parish to inquire about the RCIA process.

Reconciliation

Reconciliation is one of the sacraments of healing.

It is called:

the sacrament of conversion … CCC 1423

the sacrament of Penance… CCC 1423

the sacrament of confession… CCC 1424

the sacrament of forgiveness… CCC 1424

“It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:20) He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.” (Mt 5:24)” CCC 1424

Reconciliation involves the recognition and forgiveness of sins through conversion throughout one’s life.

Children who have been baptized can prepare for and receive the sacrament of Reconciliation once they have reached the age of reason. Reconciliation is a repeatable sacrament.

Reconciliation must be celebrated before the reception of Confirmation and Eucharist (CCC 1310).

Baptism Certificate:

Parents must provide a baptism certificate in order to register for preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation. The parish must ensure that the child is a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church before preparing and celebrating the other sacrament of Reconciliation.

Records of baptism are held in the parish in which the child was baptized. Contact the parish to request a copy of the certificate of baptism.

The Parish partners with parents to appropriately prepare children for First Reconciliation. After baptism, children will prepare for and receive first Reconciliation in grade two (age 7) during Advent or Lent or at the beginning of grade three (age 7 or 8) during Advent. See December 27, 2006 Pastoral Letter.

For more information see:

December 27, 2006 Pastoral Letter to the Faithful of the Diocese of St. Paul on the Restoration of the Order of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation Bishop Luc Bouchard

Catechism of the Catholic Church – Chapter Two – The Sacraments of Healing #1420 - 1470

You Cat – Chapter Two – The Sacraments of Healing #224 - 239


Confirmation

“… the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church #1285

Children must receive the sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation prior to Confirmation.


Baptism Certificate:

Parents must provide a baptism certificate in order to register for preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation. The parish must ensure that the child is a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church before preparing and celebrating the other sacraments of initiation (Confirmation and First Communion).

Records of baptism are held in the parish in which the child was baptized. Contact the parish to request a copy of the certificate of baptism.


Sponsors (godparents):

Sponsors are the spiritual parents of the child. They help with the faith formation of their godchild.

The sponsors should be the same as the Baptism Godparents. If not, a man and a woman or one man for boys and one woman for girls. A sponsor must be at least 16 years of age. They must be baptized, confirmed, and a practicing Catholic.


For more information see:

December 27, 2006 Pastoral Letter to the Faithful of the Diocese of St. Paul on the Restoration of the Order of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation Bishop Luc Bouchard

Guidelines for Confirmation and First Communion Celebration (Revised February 12, 2014)

Catechism of the Catholic Church – Article 2 The Sacrament of Confirmation # 1285 – 1321

You Cat - #203 – 207

Guidelines for Confirmation and First Communion Celebrations (revised February 12, 2014)



Eucharist

“The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation.” CCC # 1322

It is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” Lumen Gentium 11.

To receive the sacrament, the child needs to have the desire to receive Christ, and to be able to distinguish the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Jesus. Eucharist is a repeatable sacrament.

Baptism Certificate:

Parents must provide a baptism certificate in order to register for preparation for the sacrament of First Eucharist. The parish must ensure that the child is a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church and have celebrated reconciliation before preparing and celebrating Confirmation and First Communion.

Records of baptism are held in the parish in which the child was baptized. Contact the parish to request a copy of the certificate of baptism.

For more information see:

December 27, 2006 Pastoral Letter to the Faithful of the Diocese of St. Paul on the Restoration of the Order of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation Bishop Luc Bouchard

Catechism of the Catholic Church – Chapter Two – The Sacraments of Healing #1420 - 1470

You Cat – Chapter Two – The Sacraments of Healing #224 - 239

Guidelines for Confirmation and First Communion Celebrations (revised February 12, 2014)


Marriage

The Catholic Church, as a community of believers in Jesus, truly desires that each couple who marries in the Church, has a happy marriage leading to fullness of life. The Church wishes to accompany all couples with loving support as you prepare for marriage. Marriage Preparation is a requirement as part of your wedding preparations in the Church. This is an opportunity for you and your fiancé to grow in an even more fruitful and committed relationship with one another.

Four steps to getting married

1. Contact your parish.

In order to allow time for reflection together and for fulfilling all of the steps in preparation for marriage, a couple (a man and a woman) must pay a personal visit to the parish priest six to nine months prior to the proposed date for their wedding.

2. Attend a Catholic marriage preparation program

Marriage Preparation Courses offer:

- Information about what the Catholic Church believes and teaches about marriage and family life.

- Advice and practical assistance for your daily married lives.

- An introduction to Natural Family Planning, a method of planning your family that is both reliable and in harmony with God’s design for sexual intimacy and Church teaching. Natural Family Planning not only assists with planning or spacing births, but is also extremely effective in working with any infertility issues.

Contact your parish office for information about upcoming Marriage Preparation Courses.

3. Follow-up meeting with your priest

After completion of an approved Marriage Preparation Course a second meeting is to be conducted by the priest, deacon or parish worker. Its purpose is to give you, the couple, the opportunity to reaffirm your decision for marriage and in particular for marriage in the Church. Each party will be interviewed separately.

4. The Celebration of your wedding

Weddings can be celebrated on any day of the week. Weddings may not be celebrated in Holy Week or on any day of the Easter Triduum.

Weddings during Advent and Lent are not encouraged. If a wedding is celebrated during Advent or Lent, the wedding ceremony should reflect the special nature of this liturgical season.

For more information see:

Catechism of the Catholic Church – Article 7 – The Sacrament of Matrimony #1601 - 1666

You Cat – Chapter Three - The Sacrament of Marriage #260 – 271


Links:

Catholic Engaged Encounter http://ceewest.com/

For Your Marriage http://www.foryourmarriage.org/

Marital Healing http://www.maritalhealing.com/

Retrouvaille http://www.helpourmarriage.com/

World Wide Marriage Encounter http://www.wwme.org/


Holy Orders

“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church …” # 1536 Catechism of the Catholic Church

Everyone is strongly encouraged to pray the Diocesan Prayer for Vocations.


For more information see:

Catechism of the Catholic Church - Article 6, # 1536 – 1600

You Cat Chapter Three #249 – 259

See Vocations page


Anointing of the Sick

“The Lord himself showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and commanded his followers to do likewise.” #5, Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum.

The sacrament of the anointing of the sick is a repeatable sacrament.

Contact the local parish priest or hospital Chaplin to request the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

For more information see:

Catechism of the Catholic Church – Article 5 – The Anointing of the Sick #1499 – 1532

You Cat – The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick #240 – 247.