Receiving sacraments without having celebrated in a formal setting

Good Morning!

I was baptized Catholic as an infant and attended Catholic schools most of my childhood and for the entirety of high school. However, I was not allowed to make my 1st Penance and 1st Holy Communion in grade school. My parents did not want to “force” a religion on me and wanted to allow me to choose on my own. I am now in my 30’s and participating in the RCIA program as a candidate preparing for these sacraments, as well as, Confirmation at the Easter Vigil.

My question feels silly but I honestly do not know the answer and am too embarrassed to speak up at the meetings. While I was in high school the teachers demanded every student attended confession - so I have been to confession 2 times. Also, I received Holy Communion 2 times my freshman year b/c I was too embarrassed to remain behind. Is this something I should make known to the RCIA director? Were these occasions my 1st Penance and 1st Holy Communion? Do I need to confess to my priest about taking Holy Communion without having celebrated the first sacrament in a formal setting?

To add to my confusion (and this was my freshman year of HS) – in the second confession I DID confess to receiving Holy Communion (without having celebrated the sacrament in a formal setting) and father said it was no big deal BUT he is a controversial priest in my diocesan b/c he encourages EVERYONE (Catholic or not) to receive Holy Communion….Weird coincidence, huh? :shrug:

Thanks so much for the insight and advice. Have a blessed Lent!

It looks to me like God used some unusual means to get you to the Holy Mysteries!

Also, I received Holy Communion 2 times my freshman year b/c I was too embarrassed to remain behind. Is this something I should make known to the RCIA director? Were these occasions my 1st Penance and 1st Holy Communion?

Therefore you have already made your first Communion and first Confession, howsoever informally.

Do I need to confess to my priest about taking Holy Communion without having celebrated the first sacrament in a formal setting?

Why? You were properly baptized. There’s no law requiring that you receive in a formal “First Communion Group”. Some smaller parishes might have no more than one or two in their “First Communion/Confession Class.”

I DO think you should discuss these matters with your Priest and RCIA director, however, to see if you should wait until Pascha to resume these Sacraments.

I assume you’ll be confirmed then, too.

God bless.

Practically speaking you have receive your First Confession and First Holy Communion. Technically speaking it’s most likely not recorded in your Ssacramental record. This record is kept at your parish of Baptism. Have you contacted this parish and asked them for a Baptismal certificate and Sacramental record? “First Sacraments” are supposed to always be celebrated in the persons parish church, NOT in the Catholic school they attend. The parish is required to notify the Baptismal parish of the fact, as well as recording it in their own records, a school does not keep Sacramental records.

Since you are Catholic and have been catechized (proof of which is that you have attended Cathoic grade school and HS) then WHY ARE YOU IN RCIA? I just hate it when they do that to people. Talk to your priest, go to confession and begin going to communion. You can receive Confirmation at the Vigil or next time the Bishop comes to town to confirm the kids.

Welcome!! :slight_smile:

My question feels silly but I honestly do not know the answer and am too embarrassed to speak up at the meetings. While I was in high school the teachers demanded every student attended confession - so I have been to confession 2 times. Also, I received Holy Communion 2 times my freshman year b/c I was too embarrassed to remain behind. Is this something I should make known to the RCIA director? Were these occasions my 1st Penance and 1st Holy Communion? Do I need to confess to my priest about taking Holy Communion without having celebrated the first sacrament in a formal setting?

It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong on purpose - it seems as if you were pressured to conform to what the other kids were doing. So, don’t worry about this at all. Mention it if you think it will help the priest to know where you are coming from spiritually, but it does not seem to me as if you need to confess this as a mortal sin, because the element of full consent appears to be missing - the teachers were making everyone go, and as a child or young person, you didn’t really have the ability to say “no” to their demands without giving an appearance of rebelliousness.

So First Communion is pretty much only a formality?

Not sure what you mean by “only a formality”. It is certainly an important occasion with forms which should be observed. But in cases like the OPs where these forms have not been observed, sometimes all you can do is correct the record afterward.

Unless you own a time machine that you can lend the OP? :wink:

No, it isn’t that simple. The proper education is required. There doesn’t seem to have been that done here. Many parishes do not have the volunteers required to separate out the baptized Catholics who missed out on the other sacraments and education so they are mixed together. Not the best but a necessity.

lolmom, you definitely want to go over again with your priest or the people who are in charge of your formation the details you shared here.

I would disagree in this particular case. This is a person who attended Catholic schools – and the accompanying religious instruction – most of her life. So it seems the proper education was indeed received, her parents just kept her from participating in the formal milestones of faith, the rites of initiation.

Like Joannm, I think if lolmom had a heart to heart with the parish priest and explained her specific situation, she could just rejoin the community and get the records updated.

A parallel can be drawn here with Judaism.

A boy becomes Bar Mitzvah automatically on reaching the age of 13 years and one day, whether or not there is the formal synagogue ceremony and party afterwards.

First Penance and First Holy Communion are not really particular sacraments, they’re just the first time that you celebrate those sacraments which you are encouraged to celebrate frequently.

So, it is not sinful to receive your First Holy Communion in a non-formal setting, but it would be sinful to receive in a state of mortal sin.

That all being said, RCIA is probably the right place for you since you’re rather removed from the Confirmation classes you would have taken in school.

God bless!

Look, I don’t think we need to be second-guessing her priest, sponsor, and Catechist here. Presumably there was an intake interview during the Inquiry period, and it was ascertained that some time in RCIA would be a good thing. Adults come at the faith differently than children do, and if she had not been practicing the faith for some time, an adult perspective on the teachings, such as that provided in RCIA, could very well be beneficial.

I agree strongly with this…I am often very suprised at the number of Catholics who do not know their own faith. I think adult classes for people already Catholic would be great…although those who need it probably wouldn’t attend. :rolleyes:

Thanks so much for all of the advice! I will talk to the RCIA leader and state just what I did in the op. I was just embarrassed about the whole situation and to be honest, didn’t want to have to admit it unless it was necessary :blush:

To be clear, while I haven’t been taking Communion - I have been participating the faith and (although some may disagree) I have always considered myself Catholic. I went through the same classes as my school mates who did receive these sacraments but was never allowed to attend the actual sacrament ceremonies and I have been too self conscious and embarrassed to admit it to most. I attend Mass weekly, I was married in the Church BUT after my son made his First Communion last year, I finally said to myself “I need to join RCIA - not receiving these sacraments b/c of fear of embarrassment is a horrible example to be setting for my child” - there are just somethings more important than my selfish anxiety. Plus, it will be great opportunity to learn more about the faith.

There was no interview during the Inquiry where I would have even have been able to tell anyone. If I were to tell anyone it would need to be during class in front of my fellow candidates (which I felt would have been inappropriate and distracting) or set a specific appointment with the RCIA leader. I will do the latter.

:thumbsup: Thanks

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