Here is an opportunity to help one of our colleagues (we’ll call her Monica) who is faced with a situation of determining sacramental readiness. Please offer your advice by leaving a reply below.
Hi Joe — One of our RCIC students, 13 year old, missed lots of classes, has not done any home make up work (his Mom says they have been too busy with ‘work’); and the boy is rather glum, sullen, disinterested. Polite enough, but lethargic, etc. He missed receiving First Communion and Confirmation with the rest of the students (about 5 others, younger) on Easter Vigil and has an opportunity to receive the Sacraments at Pentecost – our Bishop will be here for that. We have asked our youth minister/head of catechism program for guidance, but wondered if we should “Ask Paprocki”. How do we decide and how do we express our concerns to the mother. Thanks. We have two more Saturday classes before Pentecost. Tomorrow and May 18.-Monica
Hi Monica and thanks for your email and for your question about the challenge that you are presented with. It is not easy when it comes to determining readiness for the Sacraments and yet, it is the responsibility of the pastor and the staff to make that judgment. While the family has the right to request the sacraments, they also have the responsibility to give evidence of both the desire and the readiness. It sounds to me that the frequent absences, the lack of home make up work, and the boy’s attitude are all evidence of a lack of readiness and a lack of desire. In communicating with the parents about this, it is important to let them know that this is not a “now or never” decision nor is readiness to be confused with worthiness. If the time is not right at the present, perhaps they should try again when the desire is truly there and the effort to evidence readiness is also present. Emphasize that this is not a denial but a delay. You can ask the mother to respond to the following questions in preparation for your conversation:
- Has my child expressed a desire to celebrate Eucharist and Confirmation?
- Has my child been formed in faith in an age appropriate manner? Did my child participate regularly in faith formation/preparation?
- Does my family participate in the worship life of the parish?
- Can my child tell the difference between Eucharist and ordinary bread?
- Is my child willing to make a commitment to continue faith formation and participation in the life of the parish and its social outreach following Confirmation?
These questions get at the very basics of sacramental readiness. Desire for a sacrament needs to be evidenced. You’re basically saying that you are not recognizing that evidence at this time and that it might be wise to wait until such time that the desire is truly present. I hope this is helpful. If you’d like more insight, I can share your question (anonymously) with my readers on my blog. Let me know. Blessings and peace. -joe
What other advice can you offer? Leave a reply below.