Do I need to go through RCIA?????

I was recently completely shocked to learn that my childhood parish has no record for my confirmation. The parish says that I was not confirmed there, period! However, my mother says I was confirmed when I was eight years old on the same day I received first communion. This would have been in 1980. I do remember picking a confirmation name - St. Bernadette, but I don’t have a single memory of that day or any photos of the service. Has anyone ever heard of both sacraments being administered to children on the same day?

One of the people at my current parish who is in charge of religious education says that I will now need to go through RCIA. Is that really true? I mean, I’ve been a practicing Catholic for all these years and I need to go through RCIA?

I’m glad you brought this up. I was confirmed at the age of 22, dropped out of my teen confirmation program for lack of orthodoxy. Anyway, we had to have a card signed by our pastor with our name and confirmation name typed in and present it to the bishop who confirmed us. The confirmations were done in a cattle call style at the cathedral church in the diocese–don’t even ask!

I called the chancery last year to ask a question about my confirmation date and they said they had no record. I don’t know what to do either.

It does not seem reasonable to require you to attend RCIA, but in some parishes, adult confirmation is done at the Easter Vigil at the same time new Catholics are received. Perhaps the person who spoke to you was thinking of this, and the fact that you would need some kind of preparation to receive Confirmation. Ultimately, it will be your pastor who decides how to handle this. If I were to guess, I would think you’d be confirmed conditionally, since that is one of the sacraments that leaves a special character on the soul, along with Baptism and Holy Orders. It can only happen once.

So, go see your pastor ASAP! Everything will work out - have faith! :smiley:


Did you try calling the parish itself? Is it possible that when your pastor filled out the card he also made an entry into the parish register and the record is at your parish instead of the chancery?

No they don’t…sigh.

The problem is, it was an indult parish, one that had permission to have TLM. It was not my official parish, but one of the priests there prepared me privately for confirmation. He and the pastor who signed the card are dead. This was in 1997. I just assumed the chancery would keep that sort of thing on file.

aye aye aye…:confused:

I just received word back from the RCIA coordinators at my parish. I won’t have to go through RCIA, but I will need to take a 6-8 week confirmation preparation class and be confirmed by the bishop in the spring unless I can produce any kind of evidence that I was confirmed. They said that if I am able to produce a picture of myself being confirmed that would be proof enough for the diocese, but alas, I don’t have one.

Age of discretion for first confession, first communion, and confirmation then to age 16, so they can all happen at the same time. Sometimes the records are in different parishes. Did you change parishes?

RCIA began after Vatican II, so I missed it, but instead had CCD classes, first confession and communion at age 7 or 8, confirmation at age 14. Baptism was at a different parish. When I requested a baptism certificate there were no annotations at all. I think the parishes are not always notifying the others.

There are other types of evidence than photos, y’know.

Is there anyone else you (or your mother) know of who was present at the confirmation and can sign a statement to the effect that they were there with you and that you were confirmed? If so, they should accept that along with a statement from your mother.

I’d actually ask the bishop’s office about it, if the people at your parish won’t accept signed statements from witnesses. Tell you the truth, people who think photos are the only possible evidence of a confirmation don’t sound too bright to me.

Were you sponsored by someone at your confirmation (I know I was when I was confirmed)? Could you get a statement from someone who taught you prep class for your your confirmation? It’d probably be the same person who prepared you for your first communion.

Were others confirmed at the same occasion? Were other family members or family friends there perhaps who can affirm that it happened?

What about the priest or bishop who gave you first communion? Are they still alive? Maybe your diocesan office can help if it was the bishop who confirmed you. Even if not - a priest may’ve needed permission from the bishop to confirm you and that may be on record at the diocesan office.

That is very true.

I had been working for at least 5 years before it came to my attention that, if someone who was confirmed in our parish had been baptized in another, the baptismal parish had to be notified. I guess since I was the first secretary hired in years they forgot to include that information that in my ‘training’. The Pastor had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was hired so I was pretty much left to learn on my own.

I’ve since received notifications from other parishes of confirmations that dated back 6 or 7 years so it’s not a rare problem.

I saw my worst case of delay recently. When a baptismal parish is sent a notification of marriage they are supposed to return it promptly to the marriage parish signed and dated to show that they have entered the info in the baptismal record. I an envelope the other day and found a notification of marriage we’d sent a few years previously – the couple was already divorced.

I would talk directly with the priest at the parish to see what needs to be done. Check with the diocese for the records. If there is anyother parish close, check that one as well for the records.

Hi Elene,
Were you confirmed with your class? Who was your teacher? Who else in your class was confirmed then?
Who was your sponsor? (don’t give us a name ;), but ask them if they remember it)
Do you have other family who were there? Do you remember receiving any gifts?

The chancery doesn’t keep the files unless the parish is suppressed. Have you checked both the parish where you were confirmed, and your home parish?

Many parishes use RCIA as the catch-all for anything involving adults. You’re not baptized? Go through RCIA. You’re a non-Catholic Christian? Go through RCIA. You were never confirmed? Go through RCIA. You’ve been away from the Church and want to return? Go through RCIA. You’re an adult who wants to learn more about her faith? Go through RCIA. It’s definitely not the ideal!

Ask the pastor how you can prepare for confirmation. It may be that RCIA is your only answer, but perhaps there are alternatives. It depends on what kind of resources your parish has, especially human resources.

Records of sacraments aren’t sent to the chancery. They’re supposed to be sent to the parish where you were baptized so they can be noted on your baptismal certificate. Even though people may have long ago left their hometowns, they still have a connection to their parish of baptism.

Your parish of Baptism is to be notified when you receive any subsequent sacraments. Check with them. I am on staff at a parish and mom remembering you receive a sacrament is not enough.

Nothing bad should come from eight classes about our faith.

Actually, an affidavit by a parent or sponsor or other witness is usually enough to prove that a sacrament took place. Since Canon Law does not require that reception of First Communion be recorded, I have rarely, if ever, seen a notation of First Communion in baptismal registers we maintain.

My parish of baptism was Episcopalian. I went to Catholic school and entered the Catholic church in the second grade. This was 30 years ago and I don’t recognize the names of any of the parish staff or the priests there now. My mother says she remembers it, but she is not Catholic and now I am thinking there is a good chance that she didn’t really understand what was happening.

My father, who was Catholic and was there, died a few years later and he would really have been the only one who knew what was going on because the rest of the family were all Episcopalians. I still have the phone number for one of the other girls in my class. I am will call my friend and see what she remembers as she was there that day…

I completely agree - I think it actually would be fun and informative to go through them as an adult! The big issue is that I signed up to volunteer for a ministry in my parish where being fully confirmed is a requirement :eek:

I’m curious what the usual age of confirmation was in your parish 30 years ago. That would have been around 1980 at which point RCIA/confirmation at the Easter Vigil for Christians who were coming into full communion with the Catholic Church was very common for adults. But not necessarily for children.

I’m not sure when it is customary for Episcopalians to to make their First Communions. But it might be that they are always “confirmed” prior to doing so. Your mother might have assumed that Catholics followed that practice. (We did for centuries.)

Back then the sisters prepared each second grade class for first communion and confirmation and the class members received both sacraments on the same day. At least, that is my memory. My brother did it three years after I did and he said it was the same way for him :shrug:

Oh I feel so bad for you! I had/have a similar problem.

When preparing for our marriage we had to tell the priest where we both were baptized. Luckily, it was the same parish and thank goodness they actually had the baptism records.

But our first communions, his confirmation- no record at all.

Maybe in some parts of the country First Communions aren’t recorded but this was a huge problem for the parish that wanted to marry us. The funny thing that parish was the one I went through First Communion with! I told the lady at the church and she’s like “Oh I’m sure Father remembers.” I’m thinking “Yeah right, he’s retired and this was almost 20 years ago!” What do you know…he didn’t remember.

I wasn’t too upset until they started choosing their words very carefully about my husband’s confirmation records. It became very clear to me very fast they thought he was lying about it.

I finally lost it with them and informed them we had no reason to lie as they couldn’t refuse to marry us since we were both baptized and the priest has signed off on our completing pre-cana and furthermore it was obvious keeping records was not at the skill-set of these parishes.

I had to go through RCIA anyways because I was never confirmed- so why would we lie about my husband?

Anyways, they married us without another complaint- then sent us back to our home parish. They were probably as happy to get rid of me as I was to get rid of them.

So to make a long story short- if my experience is any indication you’ll probably have to go through RCIA, just think of it as bible study.

Good luck!

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