Monday, November 9, 2009

Sacraments Abound: Holy Rosary Mission

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett

Holy Rosary Mission has quite the line up for potential sacrament overload this coming Easter Season. Unlike last Easter when we had zero confirmations, this year we have at least eight.

Being a mission territory in the remote outreaches of the Alaskan Bush means that in order for these people to be confirmed they have to be reached by airplane.

The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church provides breathing room for confirming children in remote mission areas. Children, if deemed ready by the priest, can be confirmed as early as the age of reason, which is seven years of age. Canon 889 of the Universal law states, “To receive confirmation licitly (lawfully) a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed (understands what happens to the bread and wine during consecration), and able to renew the baptismal promises.”

Although the Universal Canon Law (law which incorporates the entire world) requires one to be at least seven years of age, each bishop can expand that law by making Particular law. For example, one diocesan bishop may set the confirmation age at 14 while another at 15, etc. In the case of confirmation, the bishop may change the age upward, but never less than the age of reason, unless authorized by the Pope.

Candidates, Catechumens, and Confirmandi: I always get confused about which is which. Our Catholic church distinguished between those who have not been baptized and will be confirmed and those who have been baptized and will be confirmed.

Candidates: Baptized in another Christian church and want to become Catholic.

Catechumens: Those not baptized and would like to join the Catholic Church.

Confirmandi: Those baptized Catholic but not yet confirmed.

So, let me see if I can get this straight, our first catechumen is an eight year old boy from Levelock. Tuwan was adopted last year and can already speak English very well. He came from Thailand. Tuwan well need to be baptized and confirmed. Unfortunately, the family will be moving from Levelock to Kodiak and another priest will get the honor of baptizing and confirming Tuwan. This picture was taken in Levelock Nov 7, 2009.

There will be two young adults from Saint Theresa in King Salmon/Naknek, Kiera(our altar server) will be 10 when confirmed. Dylan is age 12. Both Kiera and Dylan are considered confirmandi because they are both baptized Catholics and have received first communion. Here is a picture I took of Kierra last year.

Here is a picture of Dylan with his family coming to Mass at Saint Theresa in King Salmon/Naknek, Sunday, November 15, 2009.

In Dillingham there are three in the RCIA program. Jim Ingram (left below) and Jim Larson (second from Left). The third candidate (baptized in another Christian church) is Gwendolyn Jean Wilson.

Jim Ingram is a Candidate because he is baptized in another Christian church. However, the baptismal certificate cannot be located so we may do a "conditional" baptism before confirming him." He will also receive First Communion.

Jim Larson is also a Candidate because he has been baptized in another Christian church. He too needs a conditional baptism because his original certificate cannot be located. He will receive five of the seven sacraments around Easter, (conditional) baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, first communion, and marriage in the church. The only two sacraments he will not receive are anointing of the sick and ordination.

The four young adults are from left to right, Alaina, Jessie, Johnna, and Kara. Kara is a confirmandi and the other three girls are catechumens. The young adults will also receive First Communion.

Please pray for us as we continue to study, learn, and rack up hours of community service. To me, bringing someone into our Catholic Church is the greatest service a priest can do.

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