Bishop puts Confirmation before First Communion, wins Pope's praise
Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, has earned special praise from Pope Benedict XVI for his decision to alter the usual sequence in which young Catholics receive the sacraments, administering Confirmation before First Communion.
The Pope said that the "sacraments of initiation" had been "restored to their proper order," Bishop Aquila reported, after meeting privately with the Pontiff on March 8 during his ad limina visit to Rome.
The bishop said that when Confirmation takes place first, "it really puts the emphasis on the Eucharist as being what completes the sacraments of initiation." Confirmation, he said, is a completion of the process begun at Baptism, which helps the young people to develop "that intimate relationship of being the beloved sons and daughters of the Father in our daily lives."
Bishop Aquila added that this sequence of receiving the sacraments also guards against some "false theologies" that describe Confirmation as a rite of passage to adulthood.