Full Question: Can someone baptized Ukrainian Catholic receive communion if they were not confirmed? As an adult, I have found my way back to the church but was recently told by a Roman Catholic friend that I should not receive communion because I am not confirmed. Am I still Catholic? I grew up believing I was. I know I have a lot to learn but I’m scared to tell the priest I was never confirmed as a child. Or if I was, I don’t remember. I definitely have a baptismal certificate though and my grandparents help found the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church.
I don’t know what to do so I’ve decided I should just join live stream online so I don’t make anymore mistakes until I find out what the right thing to do is and if my baptism somehow expired because I grew up without confirmation.
Answered by: Bishop David
Thank you for your question!
Your question provides all of us an opportunity to remind ourselves as to the beauty of the mystery of Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist, which the Christian East calls “The Holy Mysteries of Christian Initiation.”
After a very helpful quote from Christ, Our Pascha, the Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, I’ll turn to a more pastoral response to your question.
Christ, Our Pascha, reminds us of the teaching of the Church on Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist:
408. “Participation in the life of the Most Holy Trinity becomes a reality for us through the Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist. In other words, we partake of God’s life by being united to Christ, receiving the seal of the Holy Spirit, and sharing the Body and Blood of Christ in the community called Church. As a person after birth begins to breathe and then receives nourishment in order to live, so the newly baptized, born to new life in the baptismal font, begins to breathe by the Holy Spirit and receives the nourishment of Holy Communion in order to grow in Christ. Through the prayers and sacred actions of the liturgical rite of each of these Mysteries, the Church leads the faithful (the Greek Fathers speak of mystagogy—leading into the mystery) into an understanding of the Mystery and perceiving it as a single, unified action of God’s grace. This is why in the tradition of the Eastern Church, these three Holy Mysteries are celebrated together.”
So the early tradition and practice of the Church, still maintained by the Christian East, is twofold:
1. The Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist are celebrated together, as one mystical and integral unit, for both infants and adults, in the one and same liturgical celebration.
2. In the Christian East, the order of the Holy Mysteries of Christian Initiation are preserved, namely, Baptism, followed by Chrismation, followed by Eucharist. This is in contrast to the current practice of the Latin or Roman Catholic Church, which in some dioceses throughout the world, follow the original order of Baptism, followed by Confirmation, followed by Eucharist, while other dioceses allow for another ordering in the case of infant baptism: Baptism, then Eucharist (around 7 years old), then Chrismation (around 14 years old). In the case of an adult being baptized, the Roman Catholic Church always follows the original ordering: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, in one and the same liturgical celebration.
Now for your questions.
Once baptized, always baptized. No expiry date, even following years of non-practicing.
If a person is baptized Ukrainian Catholic, then the presumption is that they were chrismated at the same time. A quick check of the baptism certificate usually can confirm this. On occasion, however, for example, when an infant was very sick and in danger of dying at birth, the infant may have been only baptized, with chrismation following at a later date. So most likely, and in no small part to your Ukrainian Catholic grandparents who would have seen to it, you were baptized, chrismated, and can receive Holy Communion in peace.
And don’t be afraid to speak with a pastor. He can answer any questions you may have. He can even help you check the entry in the baptismal register of the place you were baptized to check on whether you were indeed chrismated – do provide him with a copy of your baptismal certificate; that will help him immensely in locating the entry.
Welcome back to the Church! Though you really never were apart; you’ve just renewed your desire to grow in your spiritual relationship with Christ, to grow in holiness in the life of the Trinity.
God bless you!