First Communion. Photo credit: Alicia Chelini via wwwshutterstockcom CNA
Manchester, N.H., Jun 18, 2017 National Catholic Register.- In the name of raising up lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ, another U.S. Latin-rite diocese has decided to restore confirmation to its traditional place before first Holy Communion.
Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester, New Hampshire, has begun the process of restoring the reception of the sacraments of initiation in the diocese to their theological sequential order of baptism, then confirmation and first Eucharist.
Most U.S. dioceses, for more than 100 years, have followed a sequence of baptism, first Communion and then confirmation, ever since Pope St. Pius X made the age of reason (typically around age 7) the threshold for receiving Communion.
Bishop Libasci has already begun the conversation with parishes and intends to release a pastoral letter explaining the reasons for the move, which will place confirmation reception, along with first Communion, in the third grade.
A “Frequently Asked Questions” compilation for parishes said restoring confirmation to its place after baptism will highlight for youth the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist is truly the culmination of the sacraments of initiation.
Mary Ellen Mahon, secretary for Catholic formation at the Diocese of Manchester, told the Register that Bishop Libasci wants Catholics to understand that formation in the Catholic faith is “lifelong.”