My understanding is that in the children’s catechumenate, peer companions over the age of reason could be confirmed along with the catechumens. Is this true?
Yes, it is a possibility. According to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, “Baptized children of the catechetical group may be completing their Christian initiation in the sacraments of confirmation and the eucharist at this same celebration” (308).
The rite continues by reminding us that if the bishop is not the celebrant for this celebration, then the bishop must grant the faculty to confirm the baptized Catholic children. Paragraph 256 also says that “if possible,” the baptized companions are to receive confirmation and eucharist with the catechumens.
In addition, there are other considerations for the question of peer companions possibly being confirmed with child catechumens. The rite tells us that the initiation of child catechumens “should preferably” take place at the Easter Vigil (check paragraphs 256, 304, and the National Statutue, 18).
Thus, you should think about if the Vigil is the right place for baptized Catholic children to complete their initiation.
At the same time, the rite provides for a celebration of the sacraments of initiation with children that is outside the Easter Vigil (see paragraphs 309-329). Here, the rite describes a celebration where the candidates for initiation (317) are fully initiated and the “previously baptized children of the catechetical group” are confirmed and celebrate the eucharist (322, 329).
Notice, however, that in this instance, the bishop is the celebrant. So, if your parish priest is the celebrant in such a celebration, remember he must have permission to confirm the Catholic children.
All in all, paragraph 256 highlights two of the most considerations: the primacy of the Easter Vigil for initiation and the needs of the children.
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2 thoughts on “When should child companions be confirmed?”
In our diocese, as in a number of others, the bishop has restored the order of the Sacraments of Initiation; Confirmation and First Eucharist are celebrated in third grade.
Since these sacraments are celebrated during the Easter Season, they soon join their companions who were fully initiated at the Vigil.
Leota, I am so very happy to hear of this! I think this is marvelous and I hope more dioceses return to the restored order. I had heard through the grapevine that some dioceses had actually rescinded the restored order, so I pleased to hear that it is alive and working well in your diocese. The original order of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist makes so much sense theolgoically, liturgically and pastorally speaking, too! Thanks for your input!