Sunday, 16 January 2011 12:04

Rules clarified for confirmation of catechized Catholics

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Bishop Thomas John Paprocki plans to confirm catechized Catholics from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois —those who have received catechetical formation and have been baptized and are receiving Holy Eucharist yet haven’t been confirmed — at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Pentecost Sunday, June 12, at 10 a.m.

“These are people who are practicing Catholics (who have received the sacraments of  Communion and reconciliation) but for whatever reason, they have never been confirmed,” said Father Joe Ring, vicar for priests, pastor of St. James Parish in Riverton and priest moderator of Resurrection Parish, Illiopolis. “In the past, in this diocese, sometimes a priest would ask for delegation to confirm these people. Now, Bishop Paprocki is going to take care of it.”

Bishop Paprocki first shared his directives concerning the sacrament of confirmation during the Clergy Convocation last September. Since the bishop is the ordinary minister of confirmation in the Latin Church, it is not ordinary practice for a bishop to delegate priests to administer the sacrament to catechized Catholics.

Catechized Catholics who already receive Communion but now want to be confirmed should be contacting their pastor, soon, to prepare for the June confirmation, Father Ring said. Registration for confirmation of catechized adults is currently being developed by the Office for Catechesis. That form — along with guidance for catechetical formation — will be posted in the upcoming February Monthly Mailing that goes out to leaders of diocesan parishes.

“This situation, where adults who are practicing Catholics have somehow missed confirmation, happens every so often,” said Father Ring. “In my priesthood I’ve come across it easily a half a dozen times. Now Bishop Paprocki is reserving that right to confirm those Catholics. When he is at a parish for a scheduled confirmation, he could confirm the prepared adults, in addition to the youth.”

Persons who were baptized Catholics, but received neither catechetical formation nor the sacraments of Holy Eucharist or confirmation, may be confirmed by the bishop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at the Easter Vigil or by a priest at the Easter Vigil (or a Sunday of the Easter Season) only if a special delegation is given to the priest by the diocesan bishop.

Each candidate in these particular circumstances should also contact their parish priest or parish catechumenate director so he or she can contact Bishop Paprocki well in advance of the Easter Vigil. Bishop Paprocki will consider each request on an individual basis.