Q. We have a candidate who was baptized as a Baptist going through RCIA. Can he be confirmed with our teen confirmation candidates when the bishop comes to celebrate?
A.Thanks for reaching out. Your candidate needs to celebrate the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church prescribed in RCIA Part II:5. The candidate would need to make a profession of faith, be confirmed, and share in communion in the same celebration. He cannot be solely confirmed. (RCIA 476).
I can think of two possibilities for your baptized candidate.
- Receive the candidate for full communion at the celebration of the Rite of Confirmation with your bishop.
- The candidate would join the rest of the community in the renewal of baptismal promises and then makes a profession of faith (see RCIA 491).
- The bishop would then receive the candidate (see RCIA 492).
- Confirmation and the celebration of Eucharist with the candidate and the teenage candidates for confirmation would then follow.
- A lot would be placed on the bishop’s shoulders to provide clear, direct and short commentary on what is going on, in particular where the rite says “in these or similar words” (see RCIA, 490 and Rite of Confirmation, 18).
- A well-produced worship aid, approved by your bishop’s office, might be helpful here.
- Receive the candidate for full communion at another liturgy:
- Your candidate might participate in the Rite of Confirmation solely as a member of the assembly and meet the bishop before the liturgy or at a reception following the liturgy.
- Schedule the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church at a regular Sunday liturgy in the parish. The pastor would be the minister of both confirmation and reception into full communion. As the minister of reception, he already has faculties to confirm your candidate.
- Following the liturgy, invite everyone who was present to participate in a mystagogical reflection on their experiences.
How many adult candidates are preparing for the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church in your parish? How are you planning that celebration? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
2 thoughts on “Q&A: Can we celebrate confirmation with an RCIA candidate when the bishop comes to our parish?”
It has been a difficult year in the RCIA process for preparing a Catechumen and 8 Candidates for reception into the Church. With a late start into the process, weather related scheduling problems, and the frustrations of Zoom for some and in person for others, Our Team has don a great job in guiding and journeying with our folks. As a result some are ready for Full Communion, and others are still seeking more information. We have decided to meet each person where they are, and will have several occasions of bring persons into Full Communion during the year, after the Vigil Celebration. We are a year round RCIA Parish, and we try as best we can to meet each person as an individual in their journey to answer God’s call in their life.
Thanks for a great article on an important topic. We need to be careful with our candidates who have been baptized in another Christian tradition and those who were baptized Catholic. If baptized Catholics haven’t been well catechized, they may need similar catechesis as those who are not Catholic, but we need to remember that by virtue of their baptisms, these two follow different ritual paths. As Catholics, their confirmation falls to the purview of the bishop, no matter how old they are. And I haven’t met a bishop yet who wasn’t thrilled to see adult confirmation candidates among our youth candidates in our parish. It’s not just something for youth, it’s for the entire parish!
For those baptized in another Christian tradition, however, they don’t need to wait for the bishop to confirm them. When they celebrate the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church, the minister who receives them also confirms them. The ritual path for those baptized in another Christian tradition is different from those baptized as Catholics who have not completed their initiation — as John Michael Reyes tells us above (thanks Mr. Reyes!).
Most importantly, we need to make sure that we’re not forcing them through a process that is arbitrary. By right of their baptism (Catholic or other Christian) we need to make sure whatever preparation process they follow is in accordance with their individual needs. As Christians they are not bound to the same guidelines and national statutes as far as the length of time they should spend in their preparation process. As catechists we need to work with these candidates to assess their individual needs, just as we do with those in the RCIA, so we’re not just arbitrarily putting them through a rote process that may not satisfy their needs, and causing them to be in a process much longer than may be necessary.