In Liverpool: Confirmation and First Communion

A decision has been made in the Archdiocese of Liverpool to restore the original order of the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) for children. (In the photo above, a pastor administers Confirmation to a young boy who will receive First Communion at the same Mass.)
Changes in the way we celebrate Sacraments

In recent years in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, most Catholics have been baptised as babies, made their First Communion around age seven and been confirmed as teenagers.

These three sacraments make up the process of belonging to the Church (called Christian Initiation). The sacraments weren’t always in that order, and adults preparing for initiation have always received them in the original order: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (Communion).

From September 2012 in this Archdiocese, children who have been baptised will follow that same order. Those aged eight by the first of September 2012 will be invited to receive Confirmation and First Communion in the days between Ascension Sunday and the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) in 2013, and the same pattern will be followed each year after that.

The families of these children will be invited to explore and celebrate Reconciliation with them during Advent each year, while teenagers and their families will be invited to explore and celebrate Reconciliation during Lent each year.

The bishops will preside at some of the celebrations of Confirmation and Communion (with priests delegated to confirm at the other celebrations) and at some of the celebrations of Reconciliation with teenagers and their families.

At the same time the way children are prepared for these sacraments will change. Instead of teachers, catechists and priests teaching children and parents about the sacraments, they will help the parents to hand on their own faith to their children, fulfilling the privileges and responsibilities expressed in the Rite of Baptism. New resources will help parents to prepare their own children for these sacraments with the support of the local church community.
You can read more about the change in Liverpool here and you'll find a helpful article dispelling some commonly held myths about Confirmation here.

Here in the Archdiocese of Boston the norm for administering Confirmation to those baptized as infants remains in the high school years.  But just a bit to the north, in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, the original order of the sacraments has been restored for younger children.

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  1. Dear Austin,

    My name is Jeremy Haig, and I work in the video department of Paraclete Press, Inc. Paraclete is a small christian publishing company located in Brewster, MA, USA. Paraclete is not Catholic in its religious affiliation, however we do produce many Catholic products and have a large Catholic market that we sell too.


    We are currently in production of a four-part video series for kids that will support the teaching of the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation.We have chosen a theme for each of these Sacraments that we will make a creative video piece around. The four themes are:
    Confirmation=anointing with oil

    The reason for my email is we would like permission to use the photo found at this link (http://concordpastor.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-liverpool-confirmation-and-first.html) in our Confirmation segment. We have a short piece that explains to children what confirmation is and about the importance of anointing with oil. Would you be willing to let us use your photo? I realize that you will most likely need some more information about the project, but I was hoping to at least begin a conversation about it. We would be happy to credit the photo however you would like.

    Thank you for your time.

    Jeremy Haig

    Paraclete Press, Inc.

  2. Dear Jeremy,

    Unfortunately, you've caught me in an error! Back in 2011 I was not as careful as I am now about crediting graphic images I use on my blog. I found the photo in question through a Google search but a similar search just now turns up only my non-credited use of this photo. So, I'm unable to grant the permission. I recently administered the sacrament of confirmation in my own parish when the bishop was unable to come. I've asked my photographer to get some together and I'll send them to you - perhaps they'd be of some use to you and we could give you the appropriate permission. If you would, please email me at FrAustinFleming@aol.com so that I could send you some photos. Thanks!


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