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Star Michaels wrote:

Hi guys,

I hope you can help answer this question.

I am a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church. I am getting married to a Melkite Greek Catholic, an Egyptian man, in his church in Montreal and we don't know what to do about our children.

Both our boys were baptized in an Armenian Catholic church. They also went to an [Armenian/Apostolic] school, therefore, they received Communion as soon as they when to [day care/school]. We haven't done a Premiere Communion.

They haven't been confirmed, as you Catholics have a Confirmation.

  • How do we go about the process of getting their sacrament acknowledged?

Also, we no longer able to communicate with the Godfather of my children.

  • Are we able to change the name of the Godfather for them?

Thank you so much for your time in clarifying these religious issues.

Regards,

Star

  { How do I get my boy's Armenian Catholic sacraments accepted and can we change the Godfather? }

John replied:

Hi Star,

As a rule, Eastern Rite Catholics follow the same tradition as Eastern Orthodox (or in your case Armenian Apostolic) Churches when it comes to the administration of the sacraments. Confirmation in the Latin Rite is the exact same sacrament known as Chrismation in the Eastern Rite.

In the East, all three sacraments of initiation are given to a child at once:

  • Baptism
  • Chrismation, and
  • the Eucharist

so the first thing you need to do is check with parish where you children were baptized.

I also have to question why your children are receiving the Eucharist in a non-Catholic Church on a regular basis.

Under normal circumstances, Catholics (of any Rite) may not receive the Eucharist in Churches which are in Schism. However, since the Orthodox and ancient Churches of the East have retained Apostolic Succession and valid sacraments, Catholics may under extraordinary/emergency circumstances receive the sacraments in these Churches if no Catholic Church is available.

Finally, you can appoint anyone you want as a guardian for your children, but you can't change a God parent after the fact. The baptism is over, the God parents have already spoken for the child in a profession of faith. That can't be undone. We are talking about sacraments here, not some ritual performed at a social lodge. The role of the God parents is two fold.

  1. to speak for the child, as I have described,
  2. to bring up the child in the faith; especially should something happen to the parents.

While you can't change the Godfather's name, you can pick some one else to fulfil the secondary obligation of a Godparent. Among the most important things to look for is:

  1. a friend who is a committed Catholic,
  2. one who understands Church Teaching,
  3. one that will raise the children in the faith.

John

Star replied:

Hi John,

Thank you very much for writing back.

Please note, that they were baptized in an Armenian Catholic Church as mentioned, but they went to an Apostolic School. We receive Communion once we start school. That being said — they do not receive Communion on a regular basis as Catholics do; they receive it at Christmas and Easter.

Apostolic/Eastern Catholics, as you mentioned, receive all three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation, and the Eucharist) as a child together. My question is:

  • How do I get their Confirmation acknowledged by the Catholic Church?

I'm sorry for my ignorance. I am not Catholic and their Baptismal certificate only contains baptismal information. In our church, it would state the date we were both baptized and confirmed.

Please clarify is issue if you can.

Thank you so much.

Regards,

Star Michaels

John replied:

Hi Star,

If your children were not chrismated at the time of their baptism, you still need to speak to an Armenian Catholic priest regarding their Confirmation. They are not members of the Latin Rite so they come under the jurisdiction of Armenian Rite.

That said, when you and your husband were married, your husband most likely had to promise to bring up your children as Catholics in order to get a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic.

  • My question is, Why is he not living up to that commitment?

Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for the Armenian Apostolic Church. I live in Watertown, Massachusetts where we have two such parishes. I'm very friendly with their clergy, but they are not in union with One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church under the Bishop of Rome. They have been in schism since the fifth century.

Your husband as a Catholic has an obligation to bring up his children as a Catholic of whatever liturgical Rite.

I wish you all the best!

God Bless,

John DiMascio

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