From a reader:
We belonged to Parish #1 for several years, and that’s where three of our children were baptized. We moved to Parish#2 in time for our oldest to receive religious education and First Holy Communion. It is now time for our oldest to receive Confirmation in yet a third location. When we obtained his Baptismal Certificate for the confirming parish, Parish#1 had not included his FHC dates.
The confirming parish says they need this information. Parish#1 insists they *never* include FHC dates, only Confirmation and Matrimony. Parish#2 gladly sent a letter saying our son received FHC there, but they also said they’d never heard of a parish not recording the First Communion information.
I’m going to be calling the diocese on Tuesday because this is
ridiculous. But before I make an idiot of myself (because this diocese
has blown off legitimate pastoral concerns in the past, suggesting I
needed therapy rather than addressing the terrible thing going on in Parish#1) am I wrong about the FHC information being a responsibility of the parish holding the baptismal certificate?
What title/position individual in the diocesan office would I ask to
speak to about this?
It can happen in places that First Communion is not recorded because, even though it is a sacrament, reception of Communion doesn’t affect a person’s juridic status, as baptism, confirmation, marriage and ordination do (religious profession, though not sacramental, also affects a person’s juridic status).
Some parishes and dioceses do not have it as a policy to record First Communion. In the diocese of a canonist I consulted about this, the archivist there apparently said that First Communion was not recorded in any of the parish registers until sometime in the 1920′s or 1930′s.
It is not required by universal law: Can. 535, 2 says:
“In the baptismal register are also to be noted confirmation and those things which pertain to the canonical status of the Christian faithful by reason of marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of canon 1133, of adoption, of the reception of sacred orders, of perpetual profession made in a religious institute, and of change of rite. These notations are always to be noted on a baptismal certificate.”
You can certainly call someone in the worship office or the archives and ask if recording First Communion is required by particular law in the diocese (or “policy”).