How do I recieve the Eucharist? I've been baptized Catholic, but that is it.

I have conflicting information about how to pursue by goal of feeling comfortable understanding the Eucharist, and if I can receive it or not.

I was baptized Catholic as a baby and we attended church semi-regularly until my parent’s marriage became rocky and they divorced. I never received Communion or beyond. Through late childhood to early adulthood, I occasionally attended church. We moved frequently, and life brought us hours from nearby Catholic Churches.

Lately we have been attending regularly. However, I do not know if I am allowed to receive the Eucharist at mass. My mom, who attended Catholic school, said I cannot. Others say I can since I was baptized. I do not know, so I do not. But I always feel like I am the only one not doing it, and I can’t imagine that everyone in our church has completed their sacraments to that point.

My husband was never baptized but we wish to officially make him Catholic, although he has called himself Catholic his entire life. His parents never emphasized religion in life. We have just both chosen to remain Catholic and do what we can. I would imagine it is true that he also cannot receive the Eucharist?

I would like both of us to get with the program. Our daughter will be starting our local Catholic school soon (kindergarten) and we have wanted to be more committed Catholics for years, but our jobs have committed our weekends to work/school and little ability to get to church until recently - and we are ecstatic.

So, can I receive the Eucharist as I have only been baptized? What about my husband, who was never baptized?
What is the next step - the adult education program seems to be for those who were not baptized. Is there an educational program for those who were already baptized?

Thanks! I have struggled with this for years.

Dear friend,

You both need to enroll in the local RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) because you both need to be educated in the faith. Even though you were baptized in the Catholic Church, you need to learn about the Mass and the sacraments, including going to Confession. Also, you need to be married in the Catholic Church. As for your comment that you can’t imagine that everyone who goes to receive the Eucharist has received the sacraments, imagine it. It is unusual for a Catholic to have only received the sacrament of Baptism.

You didn’t mention if either of you are divorced. If either of you have been married before and the spouse is still alive, you would need to talk to a priest about the possibility of having it annulled.

None of this is as daunting as it sounds. All things are possible for those who put God first. You are in our prayers. Welcome home!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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