Communion without FHC?


My current boyfriend is Roman Catholic and receives communion when we go to mass. He recently told me that he was baptized Catholic, has gone to confession but has never received his First Holy Communion as child or Confirmation as a teen (we are in our 20s). He just joined receiving communion with the rest of his family one day as a child and continued to do so.

Is it wrong for him to receive communion without going through FHC? Or is his baptism as a newborn into the Catholic church and participation in confession enough?



The lack of a special ceremony doesn’t mean he didn’t receive his First Holy Communion. The first time he received communion was his First Holy Communion. It probably should have been done differently, but there is no reason for him to stop now, as long as he is properly disposed and in a state of Grace.

He should pursue Confirmation as soon as possible. He can talk to the priest about it to find out what the parish requires.


Indeed, his “First Communion” was the first time he received Communion. Catholics usually have a formal “First Communion” that is preceded by preparation so that they understand the nature of the Eucharist and how and why we celebrate Mass. Usually, this is done at about the age of 7. (It used to be the case that you had to be 14, but after a miracle involving Blessed Imelda Lambertini, the Church decided that it was appropriate for younger children to receive Our Lord, as long as they were able to understand what the Eucharist is all about.) The Church uses age 7 as the “normal” age at which to prepare children for First Confession and First Communion because that is defined as the “age of reason”, the age at which children are capable of being held accountable for their own actions. Confirmation in the western Church is usually administered somewhere around age 11-16, depending on the child. (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are the three sacraments of initiation - the sacraments by which one enters the Catholic faith. In the early Church they were often administered together, and still are in some eastern rites. However, in the Latin rite Confirmation is usually administered by the bishop, at least for children, and as the early Church began to grow it often became quite difficult for the bishop to get around his entire diocese to confirm all the candidates. In some cases, it took several years. This is why the Latin rite has chosen to make the sacraments separate for children, though adults who become Catholic receive Baptism (if they have not already had a valid Trinitarian Baptism), First Eucharist, and Confirmation in one ceremony administered by the priest.)

In terms of Confirmation, indeed, he should see his local pastor about the Confirmation process. Often, parishes will require that unconfirmed adult Catholics join the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults - a program for adults who wish to become Catholic), although it is generally recommended that a specific program designed around understanding Confirmation be available for adult candidates. I suspect that most parishes simply ask adult candidates to join the RCIA program due to the fact that there likely are not many Catholics who were not confirmed as children, and thus demand for such a program would be low.


First Holy Communion is something of a misnomer. There is no objectively special sacramental grace afforded by a FHC that you don’t get from a Thousandth Holy Communion. It is just that, culturally, we tend to make a big deal of FHC. Which is fine (I guess), but as long as he has followed an approved course of the Sacraments of Initiation, then it doesn’t really matter.

PS/EDIT: He should, he really needs, to pursue Confirmation. This is quite important.


As long as he is properly disposed, and has received adequate catechesis on the subject, I don’t think it’s a big deal. If he hasn’t been properly catechized, such a thing can be done in a 2-3 hour conversation with a priest.

I agree with the others that he should seek out an RCIA program, or another venue for receiving the catechesis for Confirmation soon.




My only addition is that he needs to speak with either the priest or someone in the parish office to find out how to go about recording his reception of communion. It needs to be recorded both at the parish where he first received as well as his parish of baptism.


That is not an absolute. Some parishes and diocese record it and others don’t. It is not required by canonical law as it does not impact a person judicial status. In general only baptism, confirmation, marriage (and any subsequent annulment), holy orders, religious profession and death are required to be recorded.


There is no canonical requirement to record first holy communion in sacramental records.


You can gain a plenary indulgence by receiving your First Holy Communion. :thumbsup:


Thank you so much for everyone’s responses! It makes me feel better about him being able to receive communion and will urge him to get his confirmation ASAP. Thanks again!


I offer another example of a way to deal with FHC. I was adobted and was not baptised.
I was brought up Episopalian and at the end of our Catechism I recieved my FHC and the laying on of hands from our Bishop. On through life I went. After many years of no active church attendence, I returned to Church. There I spoke with my Priest and was advised to attend the Adult Catechism class and if I felt the need Confession, before Baptism, which I did. I found this very enlightening, and that it brought together folks from many denominations, yes, Romans as well. We had great leadership and great discussions after each class. By the way, I attend and recieve Mass at a Roman Church three or 4 times a year and at my Church weekly.I pray for the Pope daily. Protestant to me is something we Episcopals seem to forget, is more about the King of England, not the leader of the Holy Catholic Christian Church of which we are a part.

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