Christian Initiation

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:01 pm

Thanks for the information on the French practice. As readers may have gathered, I don't see Confirmation as a Rite of Passage marking puberty at all. But don't you think 12 or 13 might be a bit too young to ask for a public commitment to faith? Would 18 be better?

(By the way - if your browser has put you straight to page two - please go back and read my long posting on page one)

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Sat Jan 31, 2004 7:50 pm

:cry: sniff - no-one is expressing an opinion :(

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Tsume Tsuyu
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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Sun Feb 01, 2004 11:40 pm

So I’ve got this wrong too! The Sacraments are gifts from God and our role, as a parish community, is to do our best to ensure that they don’t remain wrapped and stashed in the cupboard under the stairs. That makes sense, but how many parishes have that support in place? For sure, we pray for the candidates before they receive whichever Sacrament it is, but then there seems to be nothing. I guess, for those who continue to come to Mass every week after their First Communion or Confirmation, there is a degree of support, but if they don’t come, how do we achieve this?

Presbyter wrote:In the history of pastoral practice in the Church, catechesis on the sacraments has been given both before reception or after reception. What should be done now?


Well, if you follow through what you say about the Sacraments being free-given gifts from God….

Presbyter wrote:....who am I to stand in the way of that by perhaps by making judgements about a candidate's intellectual capacity to understand the gift or the degree of commitment to Christ the candidate has?


…..then perhaps we are doing it the wrong way round; perhaps the instruction should follow the gift: “This is what you have been given. This is how wonderful it is!” After all, to truly appreciate a gift, you have to have received it, don’t you?

TT

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Benevenio
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Post by Benevenio » Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:06 am

Sometimes those gifts which you appreciate the most are those that have lain at the back of a cupboard for a year since you last birthday, that you simply haven't made time to take out and play with... It doesn't mean that you don't appreciate them, or that you want to hide your light under a bushel. Sometimes they need friends to plan an opportunity to enable gifts to come to light. The support that you suggest we give to Children approaching Eucharist/Confirmation/Reconciliation equally applies to adults - lay people and ordained ministers alike.

Sometimes, I think that the people of the RC Church should learn something from Evangelical Churches, where the support and care is so much greater - more people in their communities understand the practical pastoral care that so often is lacking in our own parishes - though there is a lot to be desired in other areas, where they could do worse than learn from us! But that should be for a different discussion thread.

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:...then perhaps we are doing it the wrong way round; perhaps the instruction should follow the gift...

As we baptise infants, we have to do this. And what a responsibility that lays on parents...
Benevenio.

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:45 am

Benevenio wrote:The support that you suggest we give to Children approaching Eucharist/Confirmation/Reconciliation equally applies to adults - lay people and ordained ministers alike.


I'd go even further Benevenio. I myself am coming round to thinking that the process of Christian Initiation is always "work in progress" - or perhaps better "the work of the Spirit in progress". "Stay awake, praying at all times to stand with confidence before the Son of Man..." Let's face it, we are not fully initiated until we meet the Lord face to face without the need for sacramental signs, don't you think?

Some years ago now - 1978 - Fr Joseph Gelineau at an SSG summer school spoke of his experience of celebrating mass when, for him, it "clicks" in whose presence he is. For Gelineau, it is when he incenses the cross at the beginning of Mass. He said also that at that moment, he always knows that he is not yet a Christian. My "click" moment is when I kiss the altar and with Gelineau, I too can say I am not yet a Christian.
We are always "becoming" a Christian, "He must increase, I must decrease". Isn't the Eucharist the sacrament of life-long initiation?
Baptism / Confirmation / First Communion are signs of initiation into the Body of Christ, the Church but the making of a Christian is a life-long work - and thank God for Purgatory - where God continues that work if we are not yet ready to face our Lord when we die.

Slowly, the vision of the ecclesiology of Lumen Gentium is taking shape. The exhortation to all the faithful - John Paul II in 1988 - Christifideles Laici - to collaborative ministry and a sense of coresponsibility with "Father" for the well-being of a parish is gradually happening - building up "communion" and even parishes slowly realising that their task is also to reach out in "mission". It's an exciting vision of Church but it won't happen all at once. It will take years to become established - what is it Saint Paul asks of new Christians? "Modelled by your new mind, let your behaviour change..." Taking on a new mind is not always easy. Perhaps our old mind - with children - just presumed too much. Give them these sacraments and they've been made a Christian - leave the rest to God. But "leaving the rest to God" without realising that God cares for his people through the sacrament of the Church ( Lumen Gentium - the very first paragraph) might be a little naive. Priests, for example, are formed in community - the seminary - and their continuing formation is encouraged "in community" - groups together, sacraments to each other. In a parish, everyone's formation (including the priest) continues in community. We are all ministers of Christ to each other - ever becoming Christians - being initiated.

Take the Pauline analogy of the Body, for example - if I stub my toe my whole Body is affected and my whole Body goes into action to restore health. Perhaps as yet, we haven't learned to feel, as it were, corporate pain sufficiently enough when we see one of our little ones receiving First Communion knowing that it may be their last...... or one of our adults going through a crisis of faith or even, through human weakness, sinking into a life of sin. How can the whole Body of Christ go into action to restore health then?

Christian Initiation = Life-long process within and supported through the life of the Church.

But what about this perceived need for a teen/young adult commitment? More thoughts on that please..... :)

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Benevenio
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Post by Benevenio » Mon Feb 02, 2004 1:37 pm

presbyter wrote:In a parish, everyone's formation (including the priest) continues in community.

Actively? In a structured way? Not in this dead see... not yet!

Anyone from Portsmouth (or elsewhere) care to comment on their experience of active formation in the parishes?
Benevenio.

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Post by ILRush » Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:56 pm

pirate wrote:Second question: anyone out there from Salford, who can tell us what is happening with children's initiation in that diocese these days?


I'm in Salford and will make enquiries from people taking children through the programme. Many people were unhappy with the children being confirmed at 7 followed by reconciliation and communion a year later. The pp doing the confirmations on Whit Sunday seem to have stopped as have the mass first communions on Easter Sunday. As welcoming as I wanted to be to the children making First Communion it was also 'spoiling' Easter Sunday for the regulars who had just come through Lent and so on. To have the Easter Sunday Mass hijacked by the relatives with their video cameras and other children who were only there because it had to be endured before they could go the party was a problem. Maybe not for everyone, but it was for me.

I shall make enquiries and get back to you!

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:19 am

ILRush wrote: Many people were unhappy with the children being confirmed at 7 followed by reconciliation and communion a year later.


Was that because the parents wanted what they had always perceived as Rites of Passage for their children, do you think?

Or did they think that the Church has always done it this way before, so why change?

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mcb
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Post by mcb » Thu Feb 05, 2004 5:47 pm

pirate wrote:Second question: anyone out there from Salford, who can tell us what is happening with children's initiation in that diocese these days?


The pattern established when Patrick Kelly was Bishop was: Confirmation first, at Pentecost in 'year 2', i.e. aged 7 or nearly; First Communion on Easter Sunday in 'year 3', i.e. aged 7-8.

It's changed since then - Bishop Brain has made it Confirmation at or around Pentecost and First Communion around Corpus Christi, both in year 3, so at age 8 or nearly.

I don't know what the declared reasons were for the change, but I think it was felt that 6-7 was too young for Confirmation - no real prospect of any catechesis before the sacrament. Also, with all the Confirmations taking place on the same day the Bishop was rather marginalised (all the parish priests having been given a faculty to confirm). Nowadays selected parishes have an episcopal visitation and the timing of the events is staggered. (In Bp Kelly's days when there was also an auxiliary bishop here, the latter didn't do confirmations - the Bishop confirmed at the Cathedral and the PPs everywhere else.)

Two of our kids have so far been through the programme in Bishop Brain's time, though with our (late and sadly missed) maverick PP they had Confirmation and First Communion at the same Mass rather than on two separate occasions in rapid succession. Not sure what the theological reasoning was behind that, other than that it saved the grandparents making two trips too close together.

It's seemed to me that our two absorbed a certain amount of the catechetical programme that led up to the Sacraments - about as much as you'd expect of 7/8-year olds, so I guess the same degree as we (elsewhere in England and Wales) expect for First Communion preparation. Understanding will come in time. (I'm still waiting for it for myself...)

I've heard objectors say that having Confirmation early the way we do in Salford loses the opportunity to use the Sacrament as a hook for teenagers willing to commit themselves in a more adult vein. This is doubtless true - to some extent, children are cast adrift too early from formal religious instruction. But, to agree with er, Presbyter and Benevenio (is it just me who dislikes the onomastic Ballo in Maschera that goes on here?), that seems beside the point to me. We welcome our children into God's family and then help them to stay there by prayer and loving example[1], not by clever timing of the next rite of passage.


Martin.


[1] OK, and by threats to get out of bed on Sunday morning or else the Playstation will be off until NEXT Sunday. But sometimes that's what God calls us to do.

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Ballo in Maschera

Post by Dot » Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:17 pm

Hello mcb,

I hope you issue your Playstation ban in simpler language than you use with us. If, like me, the rest of you didn't know what "onomastic" means, it applies to a signature when the body of the text is in another's handwriting.

Yes, yes, yes, I detest dancing at the masked ball too, but I've been told it's the done thing, and I'm not bold enough to reveal my identity, not even allowed to according to Moderator, unless I adopt a new username. So I'll stick to Dot, which is an acronym for Dowdy old technophobe and gives no clues as to my identity.

You will also notice a complete absence of cerebral or spiritual input from me, as I have more important things on my mind, like who will be the next celebrity to be banished from the jungle camp, and what popular tune shall I weave into my next voluntary?



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Re: Ballo in Maschera

Post by musicus » Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:52 pm

Dot wrote:I'm not bold enough to reveal my identity, not even allowed to according to Moderator, unless I adopt a new username.

Er, I don't think I said that - or I was having a senior momentâ„¢ if I did.

It perfectly OK to reveal your own name if you prefer to (as mcb did at the end of his last post). Several folk have signed up to this forum as themselves (presumably!). It's just not acceptable to 'out' people (whether directly or otherwise) who choose not to do so.

And now, back to the topic...

M*

(* it's short for Musicus) :wink:
Last edited by musicus on Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Benevenio
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Post by Benevenio » Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:55 pm

mcb wrote:onomastic Ballo in Maschera

Well at least the forum is educational - thanks, Dot, for explaining onomastic... and there was me thinking that it was some sort of builders' sealant for around window frames! I'll have subtly to drop it into the conversation the next time mcb and I share one of those beers he's waving around!
Dot wrote:I detest dancing at the masked ball too

Being unnamed here allows me to say things without fear of you dismissing out-of-hand that which I may wish to say simply because you know who it is who writes.

To reveal your own id is up to you. I'd stick to Dot, if I were you :lol:

If anyone wishes to ask who I am, they are free to send a PM to me asking just that... no guarantee of an honest reply though :twisted:
Benevenio.

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Post by musicus » Fri Feb 06, 2004 12:05 am

Benevenio wrote:thanks, Dot, for explaining onomastic... and there was me thinking that it was some sort of builders' sealant for around window frames!

Yes, thanks Dot. I thought it was rude... :oops:

Benevenio also wrote:To reveal your own id is up to you. I'd stick to Dot, if I were you :lol:

ROTFL! :lol:

M

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Re: Ballo in Maschera

Post by mcb » Fri Feb 06, 2004 12:36 am

Dot wrote:If, like me, the rest of you didn't know what "onomastic" means, it applies to a signature when the body of the text is in another's handwriting.

Do what, Dot?

"Onomastic, ADJECTIVE: 1. Of, relating to, or explaining a name or names. 2. Of or relating to onomastics.
ETYMOLOGY: French onomastique, from Greek onomastikos, from onomazein, to name, from onoma, name".

Benevenio wrote:Well at least the forum is educational

Glad to be of service! :)

M.
(edited admin. mcb, please don't hint at another's identity, even by such a clever and subtle translation!)

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Tsume Tsuyu
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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:23 am

Like Benevenio, I have no wish to 'come out' on the forum. The anonymity (mine and others) has given me the courage to contribute to discussions that I might not have otherwise dared to, for fear of looking foolish by my ignorance.

Anyway, I rather like my oriental identity, although I do wonder whether it's beginning to take over. The Sushi selection from M & S has replaced my ham sandwich for lunch and I struggle to run up and down stairs at work in my Yukata!

If anyone has a burning desire to know who I am, they can pm me and I'll reveal all - well, not quite all!

Btw, Martin, I'm interested in your choice of avatar. As you are not anonymous, is that what you really look like? :)

TT

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