I've made a mess of my sacraments


#1

The short version of this long story is that I was baptized Catholic as an infant but my parents stopped attending a Catholic church before I took my first communion. We went to an Episcopal church for a time where I took communion, but then we didn’t attend church at all for about 8 years. By this time, I was in high school and my parents decided to go back to the Catholic church and I was the only child who went with them. My father, correctly or incorrectly, reasoned that I was under no obligation to go through any formal first communion rite of passage and so I didn’t (I was 16, I didn’t want to have to take classes so it sounded good at the time).

Then things started to snowball as things are frequently want to do. No formal first communion means when you register for a parish and they ask for the date of your first communion, you don’t have one, so I’ve avoided registering rather than admit I have no earthly idea when my first communion was. It also means no formal first reconciliation. So now I’ve avoided going to confession because I have no earthly idea what I’m doing having never actually gone to confession. And the longer this goes on, the more I feel like I’m compounding the problem. I feel like the person who ignores a toothache for fear that the dentist is going to yell at you for getting a cavity and then lets the tooth get abscessed over an irrational fear of being yelled at by a dentist.

So I’ve settled on an anonymous forum to start because that seems less scary than being yelled at by the proverbial dentist. What do I do at this point?


#2

For Heavens’ sake, being a Catholic is not like registering to vote or applying for government relief. Speak to your priest and he will fix it all up. He will explain the simplicity and the enormity of Confession and the simple rubrics. Don’t worry so much. Enjoy your Catholicism. After confession you will appreciate why it is so hard and yet so freeing. It is like coming for a cuddle to your Father when you were five. AMDG


#3

See your priest. Have no fear. :slight_smile:


#4

I no longer live in a country that has formal parish registration, but when I did I was never asked for the date of my First Communion. :confused: The only time any parish needed to know that was when I got married.

Anyway, as those above have said, speak to your priest. He is not going to bite your head off. Tell your priest exactly what you said here. He will know how to make things right.

From the information provided, it sounds as if you have not actually had First Communion in the Catholic Church so until you have a chance to meet with a priest, I would advise you to cease taking Communion in Catholic churches (assuming you have not done so already), just to be on the safe side. That is what I would do if it were me, but I admit I don’t know enough about your particular situation nor about these things in general :o to definitively advise you one way or another.

You are in my prayers!


#5

You aren’t the only person that this has happened to. I suggest you make an appointment and visit with a priest. I can virtually promise that he won’t yell at you–though he may even laugh a little at your unnecessary fear! The sooner you do this, the sooner you an be in full communion with the church again. Remember that trite old saying that today is the first day of the rest of your life? In your case, you have the ability to make this come true. I had to go to a priest just over 2 years ago and confess, among other things, that I had dropped out of the church for about 30 years–and that was the GOOD part! I was terrified and if my Mom hadn’t died, making me want to go to communion for her at her funeral Mass, I wonder how I would’ve ever gotten the nerve. It turned out to be a no-brainer. Just tell the priest what you said here–it’s not nearly as awful as it seems to you–remember these priests have heard everything!:thumbsup:


#6

Yes definitely make an appointment to see your priest and explain the situation. He might recommend that you attend some RCIA classes so that you begin to learn more about your faith, how to make a confession and why this is important, and reasons for all Sacraments. I believe this confusion when you were a child gives you the opportunity to really get to know your faith as an adult.

Catholicism isn't just about receiving this or that Sacrament by jumping through the hoops. It is about developing a personal relationship with Jesus. It is a beautiful way of life that enriches everyday when you understand the depth of the faith with the understanding of an adult mind. You will see that it brings everything into focus and will give your life center and meaning. Look into some good reading about your faith (perhaps by Scott Hahn) and there are all kinds of faith building classes for adults especially in this year of Faith that are being offered in many parishes at no cost. You just bring your heart.
:)


#7

This is not an unusual problem. It is easily fixed. Make an appointment with a pastor and he will welcome you home! You need some instruction in the faith, to make a good confession, and be Confirmed.

There is much information about the faith on this website, Catholic Answers. Also see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, available online.

Catechism:
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

Catholics Come Home:
catholicscomehome.org/


#8

If you have ever received Communion in the Catholic Church that was your ‘First Communion’ but it’s not a moment that is required to be recorded so if you don’t remember, you don’t remember.

I don’t know if my own First Communion was recorded – I know it’s not indicated on my Certificate of Baptism and back then we didn’t get any fancy souvenir certificates like they do today. My mother didn’t record it anywhere if I had to give that date when I go to a new parish I’d be totally unable to do so beyond ‘sometime in 1960’.

The main problem now is that you are not catechized. The advice to meet with your priest is the best one you’ve been given. He might suggest that you join RCIA or that you take an adult Confirmation class if they offer those separately. Then you can complete your initiation. He’ll also probably teach you how to do a simple confession.

If you can get your hands on the book “Catholicism for Dummies” you will get a good, basic understanding of what the Church teaches. It’s written for people who really don’t know much about the Church.


#9

First Communion and First Reconciliation are not sacraments that are even required to be recorded in the sacramental records-- only Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, and Orders.

No one is going to ask you for those dates.

Make an appointment to talk to your pastor, tell him what you have told us, and ask him for help in making a good confession and in preparing for Confirmation.

Don’t be afraid.


#10

Thank you all for your responses. It’s a relief to know that this is not an usual problem and there’s not a collective online gasp. I know that really I’m being ridiculous here, but there’s knowing something rationally and then there’s actually taking it to heart.

I had to go through such a process when I got married because my baptism was evidently never recorded, I started to feel like an illegal alien with no papers. And actually the parish registration does ask for the dates of your first communion and first reconciliation which is why it got stuffed in a drawer and was never turned in.

I will make an appointment.


#11

Actually, Holy Communion is one of the three sacraments of initiation, so yes, it is supposed to be recorded.


#12

What a blessing in disguise you are. Talk to your priest and he will be both delighted and happy to get it sorted for you. Your situation is not uncommon for some reason. To be honest all that early Catholic teaching that I got when I was a child / young adult I never understood it nor did I ever remember it. I had to come back to it as an adult and re-introduce myself to it, and this is still a daily process after many many years. Go in love and peace to serve the Lord.

Please pray for me a sinner x


#13

I went through the usual process as a Catholic child and I have no idea when my first Confession was. I just guesstimated on my parish registration. :o

Yes, as others have said, simply talk to your priest. He will help you get things straightened out. And you will feel so much better afterwards. No need to put it off and no need to fear. :thumbsup:


#14

I was baptized Catholic but I didn’t make my first communion until I was 18. I’m now 59, and after being away from the Church for many decades I am starting RCIA to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Take that step, talk to your Pastor. I think you’ll find it might be a little work but also very rewarding!:bible1:


#15

Great :thumbsup:

And if you have to go through RCIA or any other kind of catechises, your timing is perfect: it has all just started and I’m sure you can join.

Good luck!


#16

Canon Law dictates which sacraments are recorded: Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Marriage. None of the others need to be recorded. It’s possible that the national conference may require recording of First Communion but the Church universal doesn’t.


#17

Yes, it is a sacrament of initiation.

No, there is no canonical requirement to record it.

Can. 535 §1. Each parish is to have parochial registers, that is, those of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and others as prescribed by the conference of bishops or the diocesan bishop. The pastor is to see to it that these registers are accurately inscribed and carefully preserved.

§2. In the baptismal register are also to be noted confirmation and those things which pertain to the canonical status of the Christian faithful by reason of marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 1133, of adoption, of the reception of sacred orders, of perpetual profession made in a religious institute, and of change of rite. These notations are always to be noted on a baptismal certificate.

Can.* 877 §1. The pastor of the place where the baptism is celebrated must carefully and without any delay record in the baptismal register the names of the baptized, with mention made of the minister, parents, sponsors, witnesses, if any, the place and date of the conferral of the baptism, and the date and place of birth.

[edited]

There are NO canons pertaining to recording Communion, first or otherwise, in the sacramental register.


#18

Perhaps this is specific to my diocese, then, as we are required here to record it. Forgive me if I spoke out of turn…i was basing my rsponse on my experience as a DRE.


#19

We record it in my present parish but it’s not included on the Certificate of Baptism. That only shows Baptism, Confirmation & Marriage – there has never been a need to record Holy Orders in this parish’s baptismal register.


#20

[quote="Phemie, post:19, topic:338241"]
We record it in my present parish but it's not included on the Certificate of Baptism. That only shows Baptism, Confirmation & Marriage -- there has never been a need to record Holy Orders in this parish's baptismal register.

[/quote]

We record it too. There is just no requirement to do so.

And, of course it is not included in any baptismal certificate notation.


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