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Debbie Demars wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was baptized as an infant and received my First Communion at the age of 13. I have been serving at Mass as a Mass Captain and an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. I am now sponsoring two people through RCIA and the question of my Confirmation has come up.

  • I have contacted my prior parish however, if I cannot provide proof of Confirmation, what happens?
  • Is there any way for my priest to confirm me privately within the next four days?

Debbie

  { What happens if I cannot provide proof of my Confirmation so I can be a Baptismal sponsor? }

Mike replied:

Dear Debbie,

Thanks for the question.

You said:
I was baptized as an infant and received my First Communion at the age of 13. I have been serving at Mass as a Mass Captain and an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. I am now sponsoring two people through RCIA and the question of my Confirmation has come up.

  • I have contacted my prior parish however, if I cannot provide proof of Confirmation, what happens?
  • Is there any way for my priest to confirm me privately within the next four days?

It's hard to address your question completely because you didn't tell us how old you are.

Canon 874 §1 and §2 states:

Canon 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of [Baptismal] sponsor a person must:

  1. be designated:
    • by the one to be baptized
    • by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence,
    • by the pastor or minister

      and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;

  2. have completed the sixteenth year of age,
    • unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or
    • the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;

  3. be a Catholic who:
    • has been confirmed and
    • has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and
    • who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;

  4. not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;
  5. not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.

Canon 874 §2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.

I would be interested in Fr. Jonathan's opinion on your question. I can't personally think of any scenario where you could be confirmed in the next four days.

  • Is the priest that OK'd you being a sponsor aware that you have not been confirmed?
  • Are the candidates being baptized in the next four days?

If you could fill-in some blanks, it would help us, help you.

Mike

Debbie replied:

Hi Mike,

You said:
It's hard to address your question completely because you didn't tell us how old you are.
.
.
.

  • Is the priest that OK'd you being a sponsor aware that you have not been confirmed?

I am 50 years young. At this point we are not sure if I was confirmed or not. I spoke with our Pastoral Council today and he is going to speak with our Priest to see what can be done.

You said:

  • Are the candidates being baptized in the next four days?

No, This Sunday is we will be celebrating the Right of Acceptance. The Pastoral Council said I am OK for this Sunday. The Baptismal services and vows will be at the Easter Mass so I need to get this resolved before then.

Thank you for your input and I look forward to Fr. Jonathan's opinion.

Debbie

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Deb,

It is possible, but unlikely, you were confirmed at Baptism. You would remember it if you were confirmed at the normal time therefore you are most likely not confirmed and I have two possible ways to suggest you go.

  1. Since you do not qualify to be a sponsor, you could step aside for this catechumen (one not baptized) or candidate and get yourself into an adult Confirmation program so that you will be ready for the next catechumen or candidate, or
  2. You could find a Bishop to confirm you based on your pastor's recommendation.

The priest, unless he is delegated by a bishop, cannot confirm you in the next four days.

Whatever happens, you should do what is right humbly, lest you show irritation and risk hurting the faith of the two new Catholics you are supporting.

Fr. Jonathan

Debbie replied:

Hello Mike,

I appreciate the fast replies to my question. Please extend my gratitude to Father.

May God bless you all,

Debbie

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