Call Me Catholic

A Question From Scotland: First Communion Dilemma

From time-to-time I receive heart-rending emails from you, dear Readers.  Most often, I respond privately, if I’m able, but in this case, I offer both her email and my response to the public because this woman’s story is the story of families all over the globe.

Naturally, I’ve removed some private information, and I’ve put a few sentences in bold, which seem to sum up her plight.  Following the email, I’ve attempted to offer advice, for those of you who are interested.

Email From Scotland

Firstly thank you so much for your blog. I stumbled upon it while searching to contact Darci from youtube. I have a few questions and I’d love some advice. BUT I know you are a busy mom and totally expect you must get so many messages-so no stressing about a response!

Prior to the churches being closed I brought up reception of Communion on the tongue to my Priest. He was very dismissive of me-and gave me a response that I wasn’t very happy with (to summarize-Because Jesus chose bread, of course then the worldly consequence would be that particles are expected to be lost during communion). He also mentioned that I was getting close to arguments that were bordering on traditional practices that turn away from the NO (Novus Ordo) mass. For this reason – we went to our first TLM to receive Holy Communion on the tongue in ***, 2.5 hrs away. That was to be our last Mass until now.

During this time in the desert, God was calling us. My husband and I could feel his gentle leading. We had been hearing brave Priests on the internet, listening to many people discovering the beauty of the Latin Mass. Masses began to open two weeks ago and we called the TLM parish in ***. The parish secretary (being very careful not to ‘give away’ her priest because of the restrictions made by the Bishop ) said that no one was being denied Communion wink wink. We took this as a sign and drove 2.5 hrs on Sunday. Thanks be to God we were able to receive.

So you must be wondering what my question is. Our 9 year old was meant to receive First Holy Communion in June, and there has been no talk about when it will be celebrated. And even if it is, we are unsure if our priest will even allow her to receive on the tongue, based on what I’ve already encountered. My husband has suggested we ask the priest at the TLM (who by the way got his secretary to call us yesterday to say that he was so happy to see us there on Sunday) if we could have her receive there. I imagine there will be an issue with the certificate, and not celebrating with her class (she goes to a Catholic school). To be honest I’m not worried about offending anyone at this point, only what would be best and most reverent for our daughter, but can you foresee anything I’m not thinking of that could go wrong? What do you think you would do? Is it more important to be strong in our desires with our own priest and possibly make a bigger situation, or disregard the protocol for our parish/school?

This whole time we have been praying, researching and learning. I do feel like God is truly speaking to us and opening us up to His plan. I can’t believe He’s led me to your blog for instance, as I’ve just read that Cardinal Burke (He came to Scotland in 2017 to consecrate Scotland to Mary!) celebrated your children’s Confirmation-and also that Fr. Altman is your priest! We have also been praying for Paul-and your whole family. Thank you for listening to my message and thank you in advance for any insight you may offer me.

A Response

I am terribly sorry for your difficult situation, but I am glad for two things:

  1. You and your husband seem to be united in your desire for the Sacraments–they are worth fighting for!– and in your desire to seek more information about the TLM.  The Mass is important.  Our Rites are formative.  Poor liturgy equals poor formation.  You know this.  Sitting in banal Masses, Sunday after Sunday, where all kinds of liturgical abuses are present, eventually numbs the soul.  It’s uninspiring in the least.  Beautiful Masses, however, lift the soul heavenwards and aid us in adoration, praise, and thanksgiving, etc.
  2. You found a priest willing to do his ordained job, albeit it 2.5 hours away; this is a good thing.  Not everyone is so blessed.

You ask what I would do?  Without hesitation, and with the full support and leadership of my husband, I’d have my child receive the Sacraments at the TLM parish NOW.  In fact, I’d become a member there.  Now, I don’t know your personal situation very well, and I don’t know if you can a.) afford to drive that distance every Sunday or b.) if your children could handle it, but chances are once a month might be doable.  Perhaps more?

And why wait on the Sacraments?  Either they mean something and give one’s soul sanctifying grace, or they don’t.  Which is it?

Our 7-year-old received First Holy Communion during the Corona-Madness.

But I want to stress a couple of other things too:

  1. Be sure that you are praying together as a family every day.  Oh, boy, are you going to need this, especially if you decide to switch parishes and keep your children in that diocesan school.  But are you praying a rosary every single day?  Are you praying with your husband?
  2. How about fasting?  Mothers are not always capable of doing this, but in the very least, one can do a little.  Perhaps it’s plain bread for breakfast every Friday?  Even children are capable of that one.  The point is, do something!
  3. I want to encourage you to keep learning.  Read, read, read.  And involve your children in this.  Go through THIS book together.  We’ve also found Dr. Peter Kwasniewski’s books very helpful.  I’d recommend any of his.  Or watch Dr. Taylor Marshall on YouTube.  He’s got great videos.  Indeed, is there anything more important in one’s life than Faith in God?
  4. Consider moving to that city where the TLM is being offered.  Marshall calls it the Great Catholic Migration.  That’s what we did.  (Certainly our circumstances are different, however.  I’ve written about it HERE.)
  5. Lastly, know how much Jesus loves you and your family.  He cares deeply about you.  No matter what you decide, He will always be there for you.

May His holy angels guide and protect you!


2 thoughts on “A Question From Scotland: First Communion Dilemma”

  1. Hi Kim,

    Just read your latest post, and I was hoping you could forward this to the Scotland mom? Only if you think it’s helpful that is!

    Please tell her that in all the years our 4 children went through sacramental preparation we tried to be loyal to our parish/school. We tried going through the right channels when we needed to gently or sometimes firmly contest inadequate or faulty teaching, tried to be kind and positive so we weren’t coming across as negative Pharisees. Really we tried

    Thankfully our children did understand and appreciate the difference between what Church teaching actually is and the watered down candy floss they were getting from school. But after years of enduring a well meaning but modernist NO parish and the awful and often agonisingly irreverent liturgies especially during the children’s sacraments over the years we finally had enough.

    Last year our youngest (then 8) was supposed to receive the sacrament of confession with first Holy Communion to be received this year via our local parish/school. We didn’t want to go through this again and besides we also felt he was ready earlier. So we decided to have him catechised for both his first confession and Holy Communion together at a parish 40 minutes away. It is a parish that says predominantly Novus Ordo Mass with a weekly Sunday EF Mass. It’s also the only parish in our diocese that has confessions every single day, most days with two separate hour slots. It is a stunningly beautiful church and its cassock-clad priests are totally faithful to Church teaching in and out of the pulpit. People come from all over the place because of this!

    This decision required much sacrifice of time and travel with 9 months of catechesis after morning Mass (except on selected holidays) taking up most of the day. Our son was also initially very disappointed that he wouldn’t be receiving his first Holy Communion with his school friends. But oh, I cannot tell you what this did for my son’s faith! I also could not believe it when the catechist explained that the priest requires all children to make their first Holy Communion on the tongue (at a Novus Ordo Mass!!). What a contrast to a friend of mine in a neighbouring parish having the priest insist her daughter receive her first Holy Communion in the hand because everybody else was doing it that way and they had to show community solidarity. (So much I could say to that but I’d better not). So, our son made his first confession in August (“Mummy I feel like I have a new life!”) and his first Holy Communion in October last year with much joy and peace for us all – praise God! And a couple of his friends came : ) My biggest regret is that we did not do this earlier with our other children.

    You will not regret having your daughter receive her first Holy Communion at your TLM parish. Run with open arms!! There is no awkwardness with school or local parish or sacrifice of distance that will compare with the reverence there and the joy your whole family will receive. And the support of good priests.

    I praise the merciful Providence of God who arranged for this decision of ours as we could never have imagined a coronavirus pandemic that would close all of our churches in 2020. The children of our parish should have received their first holy communion in April, yet there is no guarantee they will receive Our Lord at all this year. I’m so glad my son can (when our churches open again that is). Perhaps that’s the explanation you can give if questioned? That you felt your daughter needed this at this time. Although in truth you do not owe the school nor the parish an explanation at all. You won’t regret it, and as Kim said, if you and your husband are united in this where you feel God is calling you that’s a clear indication of His blessing!

    God bless with prayers from Australia

    Sorry Kim, that’s awfully long…

    God bless you, Bernadette

    Liked by 1 person

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