Question: I am Roman Catholic and my young children are baptized Roman Catholic. I attend Divine Liturgy once a week usually on a Saturday. Are my children able to receive Holy Communion as I do or do they have to wait until they are older and have received First Confession and First Holy Communion in our own rite? If not can you explain why please? Thank you for your question.
Thank you for your straightforward question. The answer, however, is somewhat complex in that it combines canon law, sacramental theology, and pastoral practice.
If you are a Roman Catholic, you and your children are bound by the practices and traditions of the Church where you were baptized. As an adult who participates in an Eastern Catholic Church, you are free to receive the Holy Sacraments in an Eastern Catholic parish, just as Eastern Catholics would if they attended a Roman Catholic parish.
In our tradition, adults and infants alike receive Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation), and the Holy Eucharist at the same time. Your practice, as you are aware, is to receive them in this order: Baptism, Eucharist (at the age of reason – usually age 7 or 8) and Confirmation (somewhat later).
It is important to remember that you, as parents, are considered by both East and West to be the first catechists of the children in your family (the domestic church). The Church has confidence in your parental discernment in the process of ministering to your children and relies on your partnership in that ministry. It is possible for baptized children to receive the Eucharist on the basis of the faith and informed judgement of their parents. But you need to consult with your own pastor first, since he would be more familiar with your situation and could offer you the appropriate advice. Then, I would recommend that you speak to the pastor of the Eastern Catholic church where you would attend on Saturdays.
As long as we know, love and respect each other’s traditions, solutions can be found to our spiritual longings.
Blessings to you and your family,
Fr. Mihajlo Planchak