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  #1  
Old Apr 5, '08, 2:41 pm
marywhitney marywhitney is offline
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Default Solemn Communion?

My Aunt (88) gave me her Rosary and told me that she had received it for her "Solemn Communion?" when she was in her teens.
I had not heard this before and wonder what it is. Does anyone know?
Thank you and
May God bless us
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  #2  
Old Apr 5, '08, 3:04 pm
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

Presuming your aunt is Catholic (are you sure she is? I know a fair few non-Catholics who also pray the Rosary) she probably just means her First Holy Communion.

Cradle Catholics usually make their First Holy Communion at a younger age, but there may be reasons why she did so a little later (if she was a convert or if she lived in a remote area, if there was a war on or something).
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  #3  
Old Apr 5, '08, 5:39 pm
marywhitney marywhitney is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

Well she is a cradle Catholic. I had thought that is maybe something to do with Confirmation. It would have been back in the 30s.
Thank you for the response.
God be with you
Mary
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  #4  
Old Apr 5, '08, 5:42 pm
Tantum ergo Tantum ergo is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

It is certainly possible that your grandmother's first Holy Communion took place when she was in her teens.

Can you ask her, or your mother/father, or uncles or aunts? Is it possible the event was recorded in the family Bible, or in other papers (letters?) Can you check the archives of the church she attended at the time?
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  #5  
Old Apr 5, '08, 5:57 pm
AJV AJV is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

I'm not sure where you're from, so the term can have multiple meanings.

1) The Solemn Communion (which may be termed quasi-Solemn to distinguish it from the Solemn Communion) . It is also known as the "General Communion", although this term may be used for situations without solemnity
2) The Solemn Communion in the full and proper meaning of the term


(1) is what Lily described and what many people might be familiar with today. All the children of a particular church receiving Holy Communion on one day, with some amount of solemnity and extras like white clothes, possibly even a procession holding candles or something, etc. This usually happens annually for a parish (at least it does in my parish)

(2) The "Solemn Communion" was an institution that was very common in certain parts of Europe - it was particularly however, associated with France. I don't know about the USA, but I imagine that possibly immigrant parishes may have retained their own traditions.

Before the decree of St. Pius X, Quam Singulari, urging an earlier age for the reception of First Holy Communion, the Sacrament was often administered at an older age - around 12 -14. Thus the Solemn Communion was the First Holy Communion . In France, it was invested with some aspects of solemnity - the children renewed the baptismal promises, were consecrated to the BVM at the end, and often ivested with the scapular; Confirmation was also received at this time and it was generally a Big Bash

Quam Singulari was the first of a series of instructions in which children were ordered to be admitted to the Holy Communion at a younger age. Consequently, this annoyed many people who had grown used to the time-honoured ceremonies of the Solemn Communion, some of which could not be done with children as young as 7.

However, the directive could not be ignored and so the practice was usually as follows. The children were admitted either to a "private First Holy Communion" which was a very "quiet" affair, or a "General First Holy Communion" every year, which did not have much, if any, solemnity.

At an older age (11-13), they made their Solemn Communion. It was no longer the First Communion, but it retained all the trappings - Solemn High Mass, renewal of baptismal promises, consecration to the BVM, or the Sacred Heart, etc. processions with clergy and sodalities, and the sacrament of Confirmation. Accompanied of course, by the non-liturgical bits like new clothes, gifts, parties, and so forth.

Last edited by AJV; Apr 5, '08 at 6:13 pm. Reason: clarity of expression
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  #6  
Old Apr 5, '08, 6:23 pm
Pious Mat Pious Mat is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

In France and in French Canada (where I live), Solemn Communion refers to a formal reception communion by an entire class of students (everyone receiving was very rare in the past) as they finished primary or secondary school. For most of them this would mark the end of their formal education, and so this would be sort of a "graduation Mass" where everyone dressed in white and received, just as they did at their first communion. Gifts such as Rosaries would be very appropriate. I believe the practice might also have taken place in certain parts of the USA.

This is from a web article on French Catholicism:

" The significance of the first communion in French Catholicism was very relevant to its social meaning: to symbolise the passage from childhood into youth. In 1910, Pope Pie X allowed children to take their communion as early as the "age of reason", at the age of seven years. The French Clergy decided then to distinguish between a First Communion, i.e. "private Communion" which is celebrated discretely and a "Solemn Communion", taking place between the ages of 12 and14. This second ceremony had no theological basis, and was therefore replaced since the 1960’s by a "profession of faith". Nevertheless, the fact that the Solemn communion was institutionalised shows that society felt the need to sanctify the end of childhood by a religious act. "



Hope this helps!
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  #7  
Old Apr 5, '08, 6:46 pm
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pious Mat View Post
In France and in French Canada (where I live), Solemn Communion refers to a formal reception communion by an entire class of students (everyone receiving was very rare in the past) as they finished primary or secondary school. For most of them this would mark the end of their formal education, and so this would be sort of a "graduation Mass" where everyone dressed in white and received, just as they did at their first communion. Gifts such as Rosaries would be very appropriate. I believe the practice might also have taken place in certain parts of the USA.

Hope this helps!
In my home parish (French parish in New Brunswick) the last time they had Solemn Communion was in the late 60s. The year I was supposed to do it, I told my parents I didn't feel ready -- in reality I had no desire to attend catechism classes in the evening. The next year they had done away with this ritual.

As indicated, this was one sacrament we didn't prepare for in school. We were prepared by the priest in evening classes, usually in May and June. I think the ritual was dropped when confirmation started being pushed back -- up until then anyone who had received First Communion was confirmed the next time the bishop came to the village (he usually visited every 2 years).

FWIW, Solemn Communion was probably a much better ritual to have in the teens than confirmation, which should be done early, with less stress on what the child does and more on what it does to the child, and much more connected to baptism than to commitment to the Church.
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  #8  
Old Apr 5, '08, 6:47 pm
marywhitney marywhitney is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

That sounds very plausible. They were living in Indiana and of German decent, but I know they went to Catholic school through high school. I did see old pictures of her sister and a neighbor friend in white dresses at about that age. It makes sense!
Thank you
May God be with you
Mary
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  #9  
Old Apr 5, '08, 6:53 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marywhitney View Post
That sounds very plausible. They were living in Indiana and of German decent, but I know they went to Catholic school through high school. I did see old pictures of her sister and a neighbor friend in white dresses at about that age. It makes sense!
Thank you
May God be with you
Mary
yes this part of Midwest, Mich, Ind. etc whose historical roots are French have similar traditions due to influence of French priests and nuns, and this is the experience of the elder members on both sides of our family in Mich, Ind. and NW Ohio. It is interesting to note, in view of frequent debate on the sacraments forum about "whole class of 2nd graders celebrates communion together" vs "family brings candidate to 1st comm. in context of Sunday Mass" that traditionally the first private communion was at about the age of reason and the Solemn Communion and Confirmation with the entire class later, usually at about the age 12-14 when formal education ended and apprenticeship or "working papers" were received.

It is also interesting to note that it is only within the last 100-120 yrs that the reform of Pope Pius X allowing the earlier age for communion that this issue arose at all, an important point whenever we are talking about "tradition".
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  #10  
Old Mar 27, '10, 10:11 am
InHisLight81 InHisLight81 is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

I live in Canada and I am of a Portuguese background. I remember having to do my solemn communion at about 13 years of age. The year after I was confirmed. It was in essence receiving your first holy communion again but less "ornate" for a lack of better terms. It was also held with the group being confirmed. But that was the personal organizing of the Parish.

It was optional, (although I felt a little forced by Mommy, lol!) We also referred to it not only as Comunhão Solene (Solemn Communion) but also as Profissão de fé (Profession of Faith). It also envolved staying in Catechism for another year. I'm not sure how obligatory that was.

Knowing what I know now, and my Catholic faith more enriched, I feel as though it a moment one (at any age) can have a special moment with Christ in the Eucharist. I also have the impression it can be done a few times in one's life. That is of a personal choice.

In Church:

The parents may pray in together, having chosen to baptize their children and raise them as Christians and now ask God to continue to guide them in life to choose the right paths, etc...

The priest proceeds to ask the teenagers if they renounce satan, temptation, evil....

And eventually, with the Creed askes the teen if they believe in God, the Father Almighty.

They respond "Yes, I believe"... and so on and so forth.
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  #11  
Old Mar 27, '10, 4:12 pm
Revs96 Revs96 is offline
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Default Re: Solemn Communion?

This is still done in Portugal. I have many cousins there who made their Solemn Communions long after Vatican II. The practice is still alive in the Azores, which really says something as it is the ceremony for 1st Communion from before the lowering of the age a century ago. The age was lowered but the old ceremony was never abolished and is still done to this very day (at least in the Azores). So my cousins got TWO Communion Masses and parties: at age 7 and at 10 or so. I only had one: at 7 yo.
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