ASK FATHER: Going to another diocese of First Communion and Confirmation

12_04_27_confirmationFrom a reader…

My wife and I live in the Diocese of ___ and are devotees of the Extraordinary Form of the Holy Mass. Unfortunately, there are no viable EF Masses available in the Diocese on a regular basis, so we are members of our local Novus Ordo parish and support it financially.

However, we regularly attend an EF Mass on Sunday in the Diocese of ___ about an hour away. As of now, we have five children (Praise God!) – one of whom is ready to receive First Holy Communion next year. My question – are there any restrictions for receiving the sacraments in a diocese that is not the one that you reside in? If so, would I need my current Ordinary’s permission? I ask because our EF Priest doesn’t know, and we haven’t gotten any answers definitive elsewhere.

There should be no problem with your child receiving First Holy Communion in another diocese.  In this day and age of great mobility, this not infrequently done.  As long as the priest/chaplain in the other diocese is amenable to it, there should not be an issue.

Canon law states that it is the duty of the parish priest (i.e., the pastor) along with the parents to make sure that children who have reached the age of reason are suitably prepared for the reception of Holy Communion (can. 914). The law does not give the parish priest the absolute prerogative to be the one who gives a child his First Holy Communion.

As in all things, it’s best to be above board with this. Your pastor cannot prevent you from taking your child to another parish, or another diocese, for First Holy Communion, but ideally, he should be aware that you are doing this.

Confirmation gets a little (but not much) more complicated.

The law seems to favor a diocesan bishop confirming his subjects within his diocese. However, a diocesan bishop can confirm those who are not his subjects, but are in his territory (can. 886, 1) unless there is an express prohibition by the ordinary of the one being confirmed.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Gregorius says:

    This frequently comes up in parishes with families that have moved in from other countries. As long as parents can produce the sacramental records, the children can easily be added to whatever sacramental prep program.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    It really depends on the diocese, and the particular EF priest or bishop. I know families in Illinois, for example, who have had their children confirmed at EF parishes far away from their own dioceses, with permission, of course.

    We got permission years and years ago to have an EF baptism for my son done in our own parish by a priest friend, who was not the pastor or assistant pastor. The pastor had no problem with us doing that. First Communions are easier to negotiate than confirmation, where one should be polite and involve the two bishops, if one goes out of one’s diocese. Again, we did that as well.

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