Sacramental records questions


#1

I have been told that churches are supposed to write on the back of the baptismal certificate the dates of any subsequent sacraments. What if the church doesn't do this? Are records kept anywhere else, like in the diocese?

If someone wants to get married and the other sacraments (first communion and confirmation and reconciliation) aren't recorded, but they were known to be received, what is the person supposed to do?

Also do you have to be confirmed to be married in the catholic church?


#2

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:311484"]
I have been told that churches are supposed to write on the back of the baptismal certificate the dates of any subsequent sacraments. What if the church doesn't do this? Are records kept anywhere else, like in the diocese?

If someone wants to get married and the other sacraments (first communion and confirmation and reconciliation) aren't recorded, but they were known to be received, what is the person supposed to do?

Also do you have to be confirmed to be married in the catholic church?

[/quote]

Most parishes keep their own archives and transcripts of Baptisms, Holy Communions and Confirmations. My Parish has baptismal records going back to the late 1880's onward. I think some were later stored on micro-film during the war era as back up but ducuments were also kept sealed in cabnets. Sacramental Marriage certificate copies have to be kept by the church for legal purposes.


#3

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:311484"]
I have been told that churches are supposed to write on the back of the baptismal certificate the dates of any subsequent sacraments. What if the church doesn't do this? Are records kept anywhere else, like in the diocese?

[/quote]

This is something of a misunderstanding. Each parish is required to keep sacramental records and to notify the baptismal parish of sacraments of confirmation, marriage, and holy orders. I promise you, they do keep these records. The bishop signs the sacramental register after reviewing it and it is required that he do so on a regular basis.

The parish keeps sacramental records in a sacramental register or registers. Our parish is small, so we have a combined register that includes baptism, FHC (which is canonically optional as far as recording it), confirmation, and marriage and death records. Other larger parishes have one register for each of these.

When someone needs their sacramental records, they are printed up (or hand written) on a form on in a letter and the parish seal affixed to the document. Typically parishes that are large have a template or form set up that they can go in and print the info up on. Sometimes the baptismal info is on the front and other sacraments are printed on the back. Personally, I don't print duplex, I print a letter that lists all the sacraments on it and affix the seal.

Your personal baptismal certificate you may have received as a souvenir at your baptism does not have your other sacrmaents on it. That is why a current sacramental record must be provided, but it is not always in the form of a certificate.

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:311484"]

If someone wants to get married and the other sacraments (first communion and confirmation and reconciliation) aren't recorded, but they were known to be received, what is the person supposed to do?

[/quote]

It would be quite rare that they are not recorded. Something really exceptional. If for some reason there is no record-- such as a natural disaster, then an affidavit would suffice.

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:311484"]
Also do you have to be confirmed to be married in the catholic church?

[/quote]

Yes, typically, although canonically there is some leeway that the priest has regarding this.


#4

Maybe I should explain more. I sent for my baptism certificate because I need a "recently issued" baptism certificate at my current church to get a sacramental marriage there. I received it and on the back there is nothing noted even though I KNOW I received first communion at that church. All the spaces are blank.

The woman asked me about it on the phone and I didn't really understand until I received it in the mail. So I'm not sure what to do, or is that even required for me to get a validated marriage? I'm sure it is just a clerical error of some type that it's not noted. Are you saying that there would be another piece of paper on file for each sacrament and that the one I received where they write on the back isn't the real record? My husband went through the same thing when he needed to get his for his annulment, the church had not marked any of the other sacraments on the back of the baptism certificate and they needed it for the annulment paperwork.


#5

It sounds like a simple miscommunication. You say “the woman asked me about it on the phone”. Do you mean she asked “Do you want just proof of baptism”, or “do you want the other sacraments as well”

If it is any consolation, my entire Baptismal record is wrong except for my name, and my father’s. They didn’t have my Godparent’s names or my mother’s names anywhere near correct. A couple of them were sort of combined. But hey, my baptism is still valid!!

As an adult, I checked with the Church I was baptized in, and they told me it couldn’t be changed. The Church is now closed, and the records are at the Diocese level…LOL.

I have an imaginary parent, and Godparents, but it’s all good.

Just call the parish back, and be more specific, and I’m sure all will turn out fine, and smile. Sometimes you have to laugh at things that happen.


#6

You should know that they don't keep records of reconciliation and Canon Law doesn't require them to keep a record of First Communion, although their own Bishops' Conference may.

I would simply call the parish again and tell her you need the certificate for marriage purposes. If the person knows what she's supposed to do she'll make sure all the relevant info is there.

What I've found is that kids who were baptized here but confirmed elsewhere usually had the confirmation noted in the baptismal record but not so the kids who were both baptized and confirmed here. That meant that unless they knew for sure, I had to comb the confirmation registers to see if I could come up with their name anywhere. I found the same problem with marriages. Those celebrated outside the parish were diligently entered in the baptism register but not those which were recorded in our marriage register.

When they wanted the certificate of baptism for marriage I had to comb though 3 or 4 volumes to make sure that there was no record of marriage anywhere and then go through another 3 or 4 to verify their confirmation status.


#7

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:4, topic:311484"]
Maybe I should explain more. I sent for my baptism certificate because I need a "recently issued" baptism certificate at my current church to get a sacramental marriage there. I received it and on the back there is nothing noted even though I KNOW I received first communion at that church. All the spaces are blank.

[/quote]

Canon Law does not require First Communion be recorded in the sacramental register. It is optional. So, this isn't a problem.

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:4, topic:311484"]
The woman asked me about it on the phone and I didn't really understand until I received it in the mail. So I'm not sure what to do, or is that even required for me to get a validated marriage?

[/quote]

Take that record to the priest convalidating your marriage. If he needs something else, he can contact your baptismal parirsh himself.

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:4, topic:311484"]
Are you saying that there would be another piece of paper on file for each sacrament and that the one I received where they write on the back isn't the real record?

[/quote]

The sacramental register is a book, not a piece of paper on file. The person who keeps the records (me, for example, in my parish) enters the records sequentially in the register. There are multiple entries per page.

When someone (like you for instance) calls for their record, I go to the register, look it up, type up the letter/certificate, affix the seal, and send it to them. No, what you receive is not the "real" record-- it is a certified (parish seal) letter or certificate indicating what is in the register.

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:4, topic:311484"]

My husband went through the same thing when he needed to get his for his annulment, the church had not marked any of the other sacraments on the back of the baptism certificate and they needed it for the annulment paperwork.

[/quote]

As you said, that may have been a simple error in printing out the certificate.

Just talk to your priest who is helping you.


#8

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:311484"]
I have been told that churches are supposed to write on the back of the baptismal certificate the dates of any subsequent sacraments. What if the church doesn't do this? Are records kept anywhere else, like in the diocese?

If someone wants to get married and the other sacraments (first communion and confirmation and reconciliation) aren't recorded, but they were known to be received, what is the person supposed to do?

Also do you have to be confirmed to be married in the catholic church?

[/quote]


#9

The concept of this is to state youru baptism, communion and confirmation; also if you are getting married they need to know these c oncepts; also if one is entering reeligious life or the priesthood, this must be documented to bring a red flagh too the semianry.

God love you


#10

Having worked as a former sacristan for just shy of ten years my parish being perhaps one amongst few would diligently keep records of its parishioners given the the age and size of the parish holding numerous families over 5000.

For the most part records of Baptisms and Confirmations were kept in Ledgers and later collected and filed in huge special sealed file cabnets to keep moisture out in the Rectory basement.

Every year on Pentecost Sunday when the Archbishop was available to celebrate Mass, he would sign and stamp the the seal on the ledger of all the names of the those who were to be confirmed at Mass.


#11

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:311484"]
I have been told that churches are supposed to write on the back of the baptismal certificate the dates of any subsequent sacraments. What if the church doesn't do this? Are records kept anywhere else, like in the diocese?

If someone wants to get married and the other sacraments (first communion and confirmation and reconciliation) aren't recorded, but they were known to be received, what is the person supposed to do?

Also do you have to be confirmed to be married in the catholic church?

[/quote]

Don't assume that just because the parish has said that there is no record available that no record is available. when my husband and I were to be married, he sent away for a copy of his baptismal certificate. He was baptized and confirmed in the same church, 13 years apart. The church put "no information available" in the space for Confirmation. We were willing to visit the church and ask them to check again, but it was not necessary for the wedding.

One my daughters was baptized in the Latin Rite. When she was chrismated in our Byzantine church a year or so later, the priest notified the church of Baptism so that her records could be updated, they sent back a note that no baptismal record was found. We called the next week and had them send us a copy of her baptismal certificate, which arrived in the mail a few days later. Human error was the cause, I suppose.


#12

[quote="centurionguard, post:10, topic:311484"]
Having worked as a former sacristan for just shy of ten years my parish being perhaps one amongst few would diligently keep records of its parishioners given the the age and size of the parish holding numerous families over 5000.

For the most part records of Baptisms and Confirmations were kept in Ledgers and later collected and filed in huge special sealed file cabnets to keep moisture out in the Rectory basement.

Every year on Pentecost Sunday when the Archbishop was available to celebrate Mass, he would sign and stamp the the seal on the ledger of all the names of the those who were to be to be confirmed at Mass.

[/quote]

When I was working as parish secretary I served 4 parishes. Ours had the routine, preprinted registers with delineated columns for everything. So did two of the other parishes. But one parish had a large book in which, for over 40 years, the priest had handwritten long entries of the type:

I, the undersigned, did this day, January 16, 1948, baptize Joseph Allan Brown, legitimate son of Jack Brown and Mary Black, *(or, conversely, illegitimate son of Jack Brown and Mary Black who are not married) *born on the land in the Labrador interior, on December 19, 1947. Godparents were John Doe and Jane Doe.

This book includes baptisms, marriages and burials/deaths recorded in this fashion, in chronological order and not sorted by type. The book obviously travelled because in several of the years you have records from different communities that were served by an itinerant priest.

There is also a listing of confirmandi by year with their date of baptism so that you have to go find their baptism record for the parents' names to determine if the child listed (many of whom have the same name) is the one you are looking for.

One exciting thing about these registers is finding that a baptism that was recorded this way in French was mistranslated into English and as a result a given name became a surname that the family carries to this day. "Je, sousigné, ai ce jour baptisé Pien, fils de Penashue Ashini" was translated in the new register as Pien Penashue, son of ----------- Penashue and new surname began.


#13

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