CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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Pope gives thumbs up to administering confirmation before communion

ROME (Agencies): Bishop Samuel Aquila said that Pope Benedict XVI gave him the thumbs up for his sacramental programme which places the reception of confirmation before first communion, during the ad limina visit of the bishops of the United States of America in early March.

The bishop of Fargo told CNA News on March 8, “I was very surprised in what the pope said to me, in terms of how happy he is that the sacraments of initiation have been restored to their proper order of baptism, confirmation then first Eucharist.”

Over the past seven years, the diocese of Fargo has been gradually changing the traditional order of introduction to the sacraments of initiation.

Instead of confirmation coming third and at an older age, it is now conferred on children at a younger age, prior to first communion.

Bishop Aquila said, “It really puts the emphasis on the Eucharist as being what completes the sacraments of initiation (with confirmation) sealing and completing baptism.”

He said that it becomes more obvious that “both baptism and confirmation lead to the Eucharist.”

The Bishop of Fargo said the changes have also distanced confirmation from the strange notion that it has something to do with maturity or making a decision for God.

Bishop Aquila said that young people now have the fullness of the spirit to assist them in living their lives within the world, especially during junior high and high school.

Bishop Aquila explained his thinking on the practice to Pope Benedict during their meeting. 

He said that the pope asked if he had spoken to other bishops and he replied that the bishops within the Dakotas are now looking towards changing their own sacramental programmes.


…the changes have also distanced confirmation from the strange notion that it has something to do with maturity or making a decision for God

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