Friday, May 15, 2015


I reprint this from the Deacon's Bench with its links. We've already discussed this and for Denver to do it is big I think, kind of like a bombshell!

Denver announces plan to restore order of sacraments

Following in the footsteps of Honolulu, the Archdiocese of Denver is moving to put the reception of First Communion after Confirmation: 
Archbishop Samuel Aquila will host a live phone call at the end of the month to discuss his initiative to restore the sacraments of initiation—baptism, confirmation and Eucharist—to their original order, which places confirmation before first Eucharist.
The TeleForum call, to be held 7 p.m. May 28 and open to all Catholics, is the second in a series by the archbishop, allowing him to listen to and speak with thousands of participants in real time.
“The phone call will be a resource for parents, religious education instructors, teachers and principals, and even young people themselves to ask questions of the archbishop about the plan to return the sacraments of initiation to their proper order in our archdiocese,” explained Karna Swanson, executive director of communications.
In a letter to be released May 24, Pentecost Sunday, titled “Saints Among Us,” Archbishop Aquila will explain the importance of restored order, and ask every parish to implement the changes necessary to have it in place by 2020. In doing so, children of the Archdiocese of Denver will be confirmed and receive first Eucharist in third grade, compared to recent years when confirmation was typically received in middle school or high school, and first Eucharist in second grade.
Archbishop Aquila restored confirmation to its original place in the Diocese of Fargo, N.D. in 2002, where he served as bishop prior to coming to the Archdiocese of Denver in 2012. An increasing number of dioceses in the United States have adopted, or are in the process of adopting a restored order policy, including the Diocese of Honolulu announced by Bishop Larry Silva April 24.
Unfortunately, confirmation has become “the sacrament of farewell,” Pope Francis said when visiting with young people in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy in September 2013.
“Whatever we are doing now isn’t working,” Swanson said, “as the sacrament of confirmation tends to mark the end, rather the beginning, or a close relationship with Christ.”


Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

I, for one, would welcome the continuing of this trend. :)

CPT Tom said...

While I welcome the trend, I also am curious how we keep the kids in religious Education beyond First Communion? Accompanying this needs to be a change to Catechism Based Religious Education That emphasises "Why be Catholic?" instead of "all religions are the same" or is a glorified arts and crafts program that doesn't teach CATHOLICISM at all, but is based on some Protestant program that has maybe had a Catholic overlay that really doesn't achive teaching OUR faith. Biggest problem we've had since I was growing up in the 70s. We are not building a strong Catholic identity so our Young people can survive the onslaught of the secular world.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

CPT - The answer to "How do we keep kids in religious education beyond First Communion?" is not "Delay Confirmation." This is what we have done, but only for the flimsiest of reasons.

That approach has not resulted, as the Pew data show, in keeping people in the Church.

Dialogue said...

CPT Tom,

I don't think keeping children in religious education classes accomplishes anything if their parents are not living and spreading the Faith. Parents who do live and spread the Faith will insure that their children are well-formed in it.

We need to stop trying to coerce people into remaining Catholic. Let them be hot or cold, and let's stop institutionalizing lukewarmness.

Cletus Ordo said...

Fr. Kavanaugh makes a good point. I think this is a good move, but obviously a lot of CCD teachers are not going to like this. They are convinced that their services are critical as to whether a child can be confirmed or not, and this will make them less "essential" to parish life. But seriously, do we give people the sacraments because they have "earned" or "deserve" them?

Kids need to be in religious education because they need to know their faith. Ultimately, parents need to be the primary religious educators and, obviously, many are not doing their job. However, there is a bright side to this. It's one more step toward that "smaller but more faithful" Church you were talking about yesterday. Our faith has to have members who are willing to shed their blood, not whiners who think they are entitled to fancy ceremonies on their wedding day when they never attend Mass and have no intent of doing so after marrying.

It works for the Byzantines. It can work for the rest of us.

qwikness said...

"Make it so."
-Jean Luc Picard

Lefebvrian said...

I agree with Fr. Kavanaugh. Withholding the sacraments to increase education or to make kids do community service projects is ridiculous. If we have supernatural faith, we should trust that the grace that comes with confirmation will strengthen them to keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

A trend....really. You may have forgotten about all those mothers of daughters who care nothing about the Faith but think the sun rises and sets on their precious little girl. And they are not about to give up the chance to buy them the white communion dress and veil. You know the dress that every princess deserves to wear. Money talks. And when the bishops see the money start drying up they will stop.

George said...

"Withholding the sacraments to increase education or to make kids do community service projects is ridiculous"

Should it really be characterized as witholding the sacraments? Or to make kids do community service projects?

I don't see a problem with, nor do I have an objection to, Confirmation in the third, fourth or fifth grade. I don't see any advantage to putting it off to beyond those years.

"How do we keep kids in religious education beyond First Communion?"

Parental involvement with counseling, encouragement, and if necessary, admonishment - from the pastor and others in the parish.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I worry that diocese and individuals might jump into something like this too quickly. We have had hundreds of years of separating these sacraments and catechesis based on this separation.

Parishes need to have a cogent religious education program that is taken seriously by parents and the motiation is Catholic formation after being initiated into the Church.

Are there studies done on the Easter Rite of the Church as well as the Eastern Orthodox as to how they offer their Christian formation after the sacraments of initiation?

I personally believe the way of the homeschoolers is necessary for Catholic parents and homes.

Most homeschoolers I know who are Catholic are being well form in the Catholic faith and as Catholic disciples through their rigorous homeschooling Catholic programs.

I am not suggesting everyone homeschool for all subjects, but homeschooling for Catholic formation and spirituality is the key and needs to be promoted.

Robert Kumpel said...

Thanks Father. Wow. A Diocesan priest who doesn't think homeschoolers are unbalanced fanatics and doesn't treat them like lepers.

If only there were more.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

It is perfectly legitimate to require certain things of those who seek the sacraments.

I cannot witness the marriage of those who will not obtain a civil license. I cannot baptize the child of parents who have domicile in another diocese (without permission). And I will not confirm a child who has not darkened the door of the church since First Communion.

Lefeb - It is too simplistic to say "I few have supernatural faith...". Faith builds on nature. We do not expect grace to achieve what is achieved by nature. In other words, I can pray for the grace to pass the physics test I have not studied for . . . but I'm gonna fail no matter how much "supernatural" faith I have or grace I receive.

The Church has always favored homeschooling. NOT the "I am afraid of the State so I am going to protect my children from hearing about gay parents, AIDS, condoms, the slaughter of Native Americans, climate change,etc" kind of homeschooling. Rather, PARENTS have always been named as the primary educators in the Faith.

Some take this task seriously, some do not. Children in religious education programs can and do receive religious education every bit as "rigorous" as those schooled at home.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But former Father PI, but father, but father, let's say you baptize an infant, confirm her and give him Holy Communion and he never darkens the doors of the Church again; what is the difference between offering three sacraments to a person who is not going to practice the faith and to a child coming to Confirmation in the 8th grade who hasn't darkened the doors of the Church since baptism and Holy Communion?

And since the Church has graciously offered the three most foundational sacraments to an infant who doesn't comprehend it and won't practice the faith until he or she desires marriage, why not simply marry them as you simply offered all three sacraments to them in their ignorance?

I detect a double standard here and for a lesser sacrament if it can be called that (marriage is not necessary for personal salvation, but the three sacraments of initiation are especially when celebrated together.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is wise for Catholic parents to fear what is taught in public schools in the areas you mention as they oppose the Church.

Catholic Schools were founded to keep non-Catholic ideologies and brainwashing away from our children.

Homeschooling is an extension of this prudential judgement!

Dialogue said...

Father McDonald,

You say, "we have had hundreds of years of separating these sacraments and catechesis based on this separation". It's true that we have long separated these sacraments, but until the 20th century, the ancient order was retained. The practice of administering Confirmation in later adolescence is a late 20th century novelty, and the practice of administering Confirmation after Holy Communion is an early 20th century novelty.

Anonymous said...

But....everyone seems to be missing something. The headline might just as accurately read, "Denver Archdiocese delays First Holy Communion for Children Until Third Grade." That is a HUGE change, and read their Q and A. They say it has to be that way because it is "impractical" to prepare the child to receive three Sacraments in one year.