5.B.7 Penance and First Communion in the Sequence

1. Children are to be prepared for first reception of the sacrament of penance and receive it prior to, and distinctly from their preparation for and reception of first Holy Communion. Parents may request an exception but only for the most serious reasons. [1]

2. Pastors are competent to permit an exception to the sequence of confession before first Holy Communion by a child but only in an individual case and for a grave cause. (See advisory under #5.B.8 Admission to and Denial of Holy Communion below.)

3. Since the sacrament of penance pertains to the internal forum, commemorative certificates or records of first reception are not appropriate.

4. “The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation with candidates for reception into full communion is to be carried out at a time prior to and distinct from the celebration of the rite of reception. As part of the formation of such candidates, they should be encouraged in the frequent celebration of this sacrament.” [2] (This includes adults and children of catechetical age.)

5. “The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation with [baptized adult Catholics who have never received catechetical instruction and are] candidates for confirmation and Eucharist is to be carried out at a time prior to and distinct from the celebration of confirmation and the Eucharist. As part of the formation of such candidates, they should be encouraged in the frequent celebration of this sacrament.” [3] (This would apply as well to baptized but uncatechized children of catechetical age.)



[1] Bishop of Lansing, April 12, 2005, effective September 1, 2005, abrogating (604 First Penance and First Communion and a document provided with DEC policies stating that (The policy presently in effect in the Lansing Diocese was enunciated by Bishop Zaleski in August 1973.(See c. 913; c. 914; c. 775§1; c. 777 15ºº; Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1457; and Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, instruction On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, Redemptionis Sacramentum (March 25, 2004) n. 87 [footnotes omitted]. Available at Vatican website. [Hereafter RS.]

[2] RCIA, n. 482; National Statutes, n. 36.PCIM, III:24.

[3] NCCB [USCCB], National Statutes, n. 27.


Date approved by Bishop


Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor