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  #1  
Old Oct 14, '09, 9:47 am
firefly firefly is offline
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Default age for first holy communion

Is it true that the church is moving First Holy Communion to the third grade?

The children in my daughter's catholic school do not receive their First Communion unil the the spring of third grade. I always remember it being in second grade. Most chldren I know received their First Communion in second grade, even recently. Someone told me that everyone is moving first communion up a year.

My daughter is already 7 and just started first grade. This means she will be going on 10 by the time she recieves her First Holy Communion. This just seems old to me. Is moving Communion up a year a new thing, or is my daughter's school odd?
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  #2  
Old Oct 14, '09, 9:52 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

in this diocese, synod legislation enacted in 2006 revised particular canon law for the diocese, and set the age for first communion at 3rd grade or age 8. That is the bishop's perogative, because like the age for confirmation, the age for baptized Catholic youth is anywhere over the age of reason, from about 7 to majority, 18, and it is left for individual bishops to set the age for their diocese. Actually several parishes had already been doing this and the reason cited was that the majority of 2nd graders were "not ready" for first communion.

go to cdob.org and click on synod legislation to see details.

the catechesis for sacramental preparation is also specified, and is part of the guide published by the Office of Catechetics, as an appendix to the synod legislation.

It calls for one year of initial formation, followed by two years of sacramental preparation, with first confession celebrated in the second year, and first communion during the third year. The actual timing within the year is left to the parishes, but it is expected at least 6 months will elapse between the two sacraments, and the state reason for that is pedagogical, that candidates and families will distinguish between the two sacraments. The content of sacramental catechsis, and of required parent-sponsor meetings was also codified.

Since the synod document did not specifically address the issue of RCIA for unbaptized children and the age for sacraments, it was discussed in a follow-up memo. Confirmation age remained at age 16 or 10th grade, and requirements for confirmation catechesis were also set forth in subsequent addenda.

the age for first communion in your diocese is whatever the bishop says it is. if your parish is out of step with diocesan policy, consult the chancery, bishop's office, vicar general, priest in charge of liturgy and sacraments or office of catechesis for clarification.
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  #3  
Old Oct 14, '09, 10:20 am
CDNowak CDNowak is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

While the Bishop can set a higher age as the custom of the diocese, if a child beyond the age of reason is prepared for the Sacrament (actually, the three Sacraments tied to the age of reason: Confession, Confirmation, and Communion), they are not to be refused. (from Responsum ad dubium on age of Confirmation)
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  #4  
Old Oct 14, '09, 10:22 am
firefly firefly is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Thank you so much for your quick reply. Your letter does seem to say that everyone is leaning towards moving Communion to the third grade. My daughter is in a Private school in the Philadelphia archdiocese. So while the school must follow what the archdiocese says, since it is a private school they can make their own rules (yes I know, as long as they are in line with what is dictated) I will check out your link.

I was just curious, about this because the children in the school she was in last year make First Holy Communion in second grade. Maybe the Philly area is just slow to adjust to the change.
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  #5  
Old Oct 14, '09, 10:30 am
gelsbern gelsbern is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Is this before or after first confession?

When I was a kid, our first communion in 2nd grade came a few months after first confession. Later in 4th grade after having gone to confession for years, I was required to participate in first confession again because that diocese had first confession at 4th grade. To me, even back then it made no sense to have first communion before first confession.

Which order do they have it these days?
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  #6  
Old Oct 14, '09, 10:39 am
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jmcrae jmcrae is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

In our Diocese, the Sacraments are celebrated in the parish, rather than in the school. This way, it is up to the parents to decide at what age their children will receive them; not the school.

I think this is very sane and good - I don't see what the schools have to do with it, or how it is any of their business, in the first place.
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  #7  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:16 am
churchsecretary churchsecretary is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcrae View Post
In our Diocese, the Sacraments are celebrated in the parish, rather than in the school. This way, it is up to the parents to decide at what age their children will receive them; not the school.

I think this is very sane and good - I don't see what the schools have to do with it, or how it is any of their business, in the first place.
Probably because that is the way the priest/pastor wants it. It is his responsibility to see that every child presented for the sacraments is ready to receive them, and since he cannot possibly test each child himself, he has to rely on some gauge. Since the children are receiving their instruction in the school, in some places they are the ones who present the child for the sacraments. And as noted earlier, it may be the parents decision in your diocese, but only with the help of a DRE, or the pastor, or someone acknowledging that the child is prepared. In other words, just because I want my child to receive the sacrament at age 7, doesn't mean that the child will receive if Father feels that she isn't ready.

In our diocese, some churches celebrate in 2nd grade, but many (including ours) have moved it to 3rd grade. If you've ever taught 2nd grade rel. ed., you would readily see why--many, many of the children get no support at home as far as knowing anything about their faith. We have found, in the 2 years since we've changed it, that 3rd graders are, for the most part, more mature & easier to teach. In other words, everything goes much more smoothly for the DRE, pastor, and the CCD teachers. Sad to say, but true! This has effected my own daughter, who will be 9 when she receives in May. She is the youngest of 4 siblings, so it has been very hard for her to wait.
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  #8  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:18 am
churchsecretary churchsecretary is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelsbern View Post
Is this before or after first confession?

When I was a kid, our first communion in 2nd grade came a few months after first confession. Later in 4th grade after having gone to confession for years, I was required to participate in first confession again because that diocese had first confession at 4th grade. To me, even back then it made no sense to have first communion before first confession.

Which order do they have it these days?
They must receive First Confession before Eucharist. That came from the Vatican, and it is a universal given, but I couldn't tell you when!
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  #9  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:33 am
CDNowak CDNowak is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

It may be of interest to re-read Quam Singulari, the decree that lowered the age of First Communion back to the age of reason, or about seven years of age.

The delaying of the Sacrament beyond the age of reason may indeed be problematic in the face of requirement (dating back at least to the Fourth Lateran Council) that all who have reached the age of reason are bound to the "Easter duty" (annual Confession and reception of Communion). The contrary position (that they were not required) was anathematized at Trent.
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  #10  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:35 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

You've received some good responses so far, but I would just like to reitereate that it is really up to the local bishop to set the age. According to Canon Law, in the Latin rite, children typically receive First Communion after the age of reason (age 7) and after suitable preparation (canon 914).

We can't really make comments about general trends to move First Communion to third grade. There are still plenty of dioceses where it remains in second grade. Nothing has changed in Canon Law that would dictate parishes or dioceses have to make such a change (though, of course they are free to do so if the bishop permits it and/or requires it).
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

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  #11  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:38 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by firefly View Post
Thank you so much for your quick reply. Your letter does seem to say that everyone is leaning towards moving Communion to the third grade. My daughter is in a Private school in the Philadelphia archdiocese. So while the school must follow what the archdiocese says, since it is a private school they can make their own rules (yes I know, as long as they are in line with what is dictated) I will check out your link.

I was just curious, about this because the children in the school she was in last year make First Holy Communion in second grade. Maybe the Philly area is just slow to adjust to the change.
I don't know about everyone, just my own diocese. You may inquire in the Phila a.d. to find out. Actually the same legislation I refer to specifies that while Catholic children receive catechesis in the Catholic school, immediate preparation for the sacraments, including the parent meetings, and actual celebration of the sacraments belongs in the child's home parish, not the school. Probably one of the most often broken prescriptions in the history of such legislation.
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  #12  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:40 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelsbern View Post
Is this before or after first confession?

When I was a kid, our first communion in 2nd grade came a few months after first confession. Later in 4th grade after having gone to confession for years, I was required to participate in first confession again because that diocese had first confession at 4th grade. To me, even back then it made no sense to have first communion before first confession.

Which order do they have it these days?
this was always wrong, it was never right, it was never permitted, generally a local experiment in localized areas.
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  #13  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:40 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelsbern View Post
Is this before or after first confession?

When I was a kid, our first communion in 2nd grade came a few months after first confession. Later in 4th grade after having gone to confession for years, I was required to participate in first confession again because that diocese had first confession at 4th grade. To me, even back then it made no sense to have first communion before first confession.

Which order do they have it these days?
First Confession should always come before First Communion. If you think about it, it makes sense:
  • You cannot receive Communion until you have reached the age of reason.
  • Once you have reached the age of reason, it becomes possible for you to commit mortal sin.
  • If you have committed mortal sin, you cannot receive Communion until after you have been forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • Therefore, First Confession should come first.

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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
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  #14  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:47 am
BernadetteM BernadetteM is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

All my grandchildren received their First Communions in the 2nd grade. The oldest was 8 as she had been held back because she started kindergarten in public school and didn't learn anything and when we decided to put her in Catholic school we knew that the children were very far ahead than the public schools. The others also made theirs in 2nd grade.

The oldest went to a private Catholic school in England but the children had to go through their own parishes for First Communion,

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Bernadette
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  #15  
Old Oct 14, '09, 11:52 am
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jmcrae jmcrae is offline
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Default Re: age for first holy communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelsbern View Post
Is this before or after first confession?

When I was a kid, our first communion in 2nd grade came a few months after first confession. Later in 4th grade after having gone to confession for years, I was required to participate in first confession again because that diocese had first confession at 4th grade.


This is why I think parish-based programs are superior. Kids go through the Sacraments in the order and on the timing that their parents choose (with support from the parish, including a Sacramental Preparation process) but once they have received their Sacrament, there would be no way to "force" them to retake it, unless the parents themselves wanted their child to receive a refresher course on the subject.

Quote:
To me, even back then it made no sense to have first communion before first confession.
Me neither. But in our case, it's up to the parents. Some parents have their kids receive First Holy Communion first, and others prefer that their children receive First Reconciliation first. Our process is set up so that it's easiest to do First Confession first, but if the parents choose the opposite order, they can also do that. The Diocese traditionally has preferred that First Holy Communion take place in the second and third grades, and that First Reconciliation take place in the third and fourth grades, but with the system I'm working with in our parish, nobody follows that - I've assisted whole families to go through all three Sacraments in a single year, and nobody from the Diocese said anything about it.
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