first Holy Communion

My 8 year old daughter was not baptised in the Catholic church. She has always attended a Catholic school and attends church regularly. She is shortly going to make her first Holy Communion. The school said that this was ok as long as she has been baptised and that she attends classes. Is this correct? I am a little worried about this.

That would depend on how she was baptized. Some Protestant churches are not recognized by the Catholic Church as having valid baptisms. I would suggest speaking to the Priest at the school to make sure. God bless.

Definitely speak to your pastor. Usually someone has to have proof of baptism for first communion. Don’t take the word of someone at the school.

She would have to make a formal profession of faith and be registered in the book for Full Communion with a notation when they receive Communion and that Confirmation is being witheld until the normal age in the area. Otherwise when it comes time for other sacraments, including marriage, where would there be no proof of her being a Catholic since her baptismal certificate would show otherwise. We have had several children in this situation over this past year. The pastor gathered them together in a private ceremony and they made their first confession and a profession of faith. Technically, I guess they should also receive the sacraments of Eucharist and COnfirmation at that time as a Candidate for Full COmmunion but becuase of their age, on the cusp of the Age of Reason and preparing for First Holy COmmunion, we did it this way.

We have been seeing more and more of this, parents registering their kids for First COmmunion who are not Catholic but Christian. Many times it slips by the secretaries who collect the baptism certificates and don’t catch it. Beginning this year we are making a strong effort to remedy this. So far, for next fall, we found three children who are not baptised as Catholics but are in preparation for First Holy Communion.

The girl’s parents must provide proof of her Baptism, and the pastor must discern that it was a valid Baptism.
She CANNOT receive her first Holy Communion until she has been received into the Catholic Church. It is a rite from the RCIA manual, and can easily be incorporated in the Mass after the homily, before the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins.

missing info: has she been baptized at all? where? what church? by whom? and was it done with the Trinitarian formula and water?

you need to speak to the pastor right away about this. The act of receiving holy communion in the Catholic Church begins her initiation as a Catholic and should be accompanied by a solemn profession of faith and confirmation, at that time or at a time set by the bishop. Does she want to be Catholic? do you want her to be Catholic?

The normal way a non-Catholic child over age 7 (who is considered and adult for this purpose) comes into the Catholic Church is through RCIA. The pastor, not the school, oversees this process. She may not receive communion in any case without permission of the pastor, so you need to speak to him directly. This should have been done when you enrolled her, but that is not your fault. The school personnel quite likely have no knowledge of RCIA or what is required.

also what Joan said is correct

if she will just be starting the year to prepare for first communion you have plenty of time so she can receive with her friends, but please do not delay. If communion time is now, speak to the priest today.

We face this quite often my FF Office. My secretary was the parish secretary before I stole her - so she knows the ins and out of this. Generaly speaking, children who were baptised in another Christian Church are welcomed in. Usually they had not been in any sort of Catholic faith formation, so they go through our RCIC program. But in this case (assuming there are not any major issues) your daughter should be able to proceede with the 1st HC prep. When she receives her 1st HC, that church will become her church of 1st sacrament and will keep track of all her following sacraments.

dc is right, that is the bare minimum, and the school secretary generally notifies the baptismal parish of the fact of reception of first communion. However in this case, there is no baptismal parish, so it will quite likely fall through the cracks if you don’t do something about it. Please talk to the pastor today. There is no need to delay her reception if he is ready, but only he can discern if she is ready for the implications, in essence, conversion from her present religion to Catholic. and he will see to it that the fact of her reception into the church is entered into the baptismal record as well, so all will be in order when she comes for confirmation and marriage (or religious profession, God willing). above all don’t panic her about not being able to receive with her class, but do take care of business.

I would assume that you have spoken to the pastor and that you or your husband are Catholic or are in RCIA. It is the norman process for a child who was not Baptized Catholic to simply enter the Catechetical process to become Catholic by simply joining their age group. RCIA for children is not necessary for a child already Baptized. Realize however that it is the parish pastor who coordinates this and it is in the parish Church that the Sacraments are celebrated, NOT in the school.

RCIA for Children (no such thing as RCIC) should be only for children who are NOT Baptized, but over catechetical age. Children entering from another Christian background who are validly Baptized, may need remedial Catechesis, I don’t disagree with that, but it’s NOT, RCIA for children.

“…this was ok as long as she has been baptised and that she attends classes. Is this correct?”

This is essentially correct. What was left out is that the baptism must have two important things. First and foremost, the Baptism must have been done “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” That is the Trinitarian formula PuzzleAnnie referred to. She is also right that it must be done with water, not any other liquid.

I’m glad you asked!


you are seeing different responses because it is the bishop of each diocese who decides when and how baptized non-Catholics are brought into full communion with the Catholic Church. That is why it is imperative you speak to your pastor of your parish (not the school) right away.

The RCIA ritual book includes forms, rites and describes preparation for reception of baptized Christians of other denominations, so it clearly envisions this will happen through the RCIA process. How this happens in actual fact depends on the Diocese, as does the timing of Confirmation for these children–that is for the bishop to decide. However a non-Catholic simply cannot receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church until they have been received into the Church and that is done through the pastor of your parish NOT through the school.

what I don’t want is to cause you to fear she will get a big let down and not be able to receive with her class. We are looking at worst some hustling around and paperwork, and it is not likely she will be prevented from celebrating the sacrament. But you do have to understand that by doing this she is formally entering the Catholic Church, and you have the right, as she does, to know everything that entails—biggie of course is she will be bound by Catholic laws on marriage, among other things.

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