Frequently Asked Questions

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Sacraments

How many times a day can I as a Catholic receive Holy Communion?
To this regard, a response is found in the Code of Canon Law: Canon 917 reads as follows: "One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates."

Furthermore, the interpretation of ‘Eucharistic celebration" should be viewed as within the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, that is, the celebration of the Mass, not a ‘Communion Service." Therefore, a Catholic would not receive the Holy Eucharist a second time, outside of the celebration of the Mass, only a second time within the celebration of the Mass.

The only time that a Catholic may receive Holy Communion for a third time during the course of a day is for Viaticum in danger of death.

What are the requirements to be a Godparent?
Insofar as possible, the child to be baptized is to be given a godparent. (CJC 872)

Only one male or one female godparent or one of each sex is to be employed. (CJC 873)

Godparents have the following responsibilities:

  1. to present the child for baptism (along with the parents); (CJC 872)
  2. to assist the parents in their Christian responsibilities; (RBC 40)
  3. to represent the community of faith in which the baptism is celebrated; (1993 Vatican Ecumenical Directory, 98)
  4. to renew their own profession of the Christian faith; (RBC 56-59)
  5. to help the child, by word and example, lead a Christian life and fulfill the obligations of baptism. (CJC 774.2, 872; CIGI 8)

In view of this, a person to be admitted as a godparent must:

  1. be designated by the parents or guardians, or, in their absence, by the pastor or minister of the sacrament;
  2. have intention of performing this role;
  3. be at least sixteen years of age (unless the pastor or minister sees just cause for and exception);
  4. be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already shared Holy Communion and who leads a life in harmony with the faith and with the sponsor’s role;
  5. not be bound by any legitimately imposed canonical penalty;
  6. not be the father or mother of the child.

The pastor of the designated godparent is normally responsible for determining that the designee understands the sponsor’s role and is qualified to assume it, providing a letter of eligibility when the baptism is to be celebrated in another parish.

Through pastoral dialogue and catechetical helps, the godparents are to be prepared for their role both as faith-companion for the one to be baptized and as a support for the parents in their Christian responsibilities. They should be invited to participate in the formation opportunities (both spiritual and catechetical) offered to parents of the child to be baptized. (CJC 851.2; CIGI 8 and 13; Cf. RBC 40 See Nos. 51-53, below.)

A member of an Oriental rite of the Catholic Church may serve as godparent for one who is baptized in the Latin rite.

An Eastern (Orthodox) Christian may be appointed godparent so long as a Catholic godparent is also present. This applies also to those who belong to churches formally judged to be equivalent to the Eastern Churches (e.g., the Polish National Catholic Church). (1993 Vatican Ecumenical Directory, 98b)

A baptized person who belongs to some other non-Catholic ecclesial community may be asked to serve not as godparent but as a Christian witness as long as a Catholic godparent is also present. (Such a person does not assume the post-baptismal responsibilities of a godparent.) (CJC 874.2)

Catholics who have abandoned the Catholic faith are not to serve as Christian witnesses.

All persons with inquiries regarding Godparents for Confirmation are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss their questions with the pastor of their parish.

What are the requirements to be a Sponsor for Confirmation?
A sponsor is to accompany the candidate for confirmation. The sponsor sees to it that the confirmed person acts as a true witness to Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations connected with this sacrament. (CJC 892)

All conditions and requirements for a godparent at baptism are applied to the sponsor for confirmation. (CJC 893.1; cf. CJC 874; RC 6) To be a sponsor one must:

  1. be designated by the candidate, parents or guardian, or in their absence by the pastor or minister;
  2. have the intention of performing this role;
  3. be at least sixteen years of age; (With good cause, exceptions may be granted by the pastor or minister of the sacrament.)
  4. be a Catholic who has been confirmed, has already received the eucharist, and leads a life in harmony with the faith;
  5. be free from any impediment of the law in fulfilling the office of sponsor;
  6. not be the father or mother of the candidate.

The pastor of the designated sponsor is normally responsible for determining that the designee understands the sponsor’s role and is qualified to assume it, providing a letter of eligibility when the confirmation is to be celebrated in another parish.

It is desirable that the one who undertook the role of godparent at baptism be the sponsor for confirmation. (CJC 893.2; RC 5)

  1. It is necessary to determine that such a person remains qualified for the role of sponsor as given above.
  2. If there were two godparents at the baptism of the candidate, it is acceptable for both of them to act as sponsors at confirmation if the candidate so wishes, and if both godparents remain qualified for this role.
  3. (Note: This provision is made in view of the special relationship established with the godparents at baptism. In all other cases, only one sponsor is to be chosen for confirmation.)
  4. When the baptismal godparent is deceased, not readily available, no longer qualified, or for some other good cause, another sponsor should be chosen who can fulfill the requirements stated in No. 91.1 and 91.2 above.

A member of an Oriental Rite of the Catholic Church may serve as a sponsor for confirmation in the Latin Rite.

All persons with inquiries regarding Sponsors for Confirmation are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss their questions with the pastor of their parish.

Procedures

How do I become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion?
An Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion serve the Eucharistic life of the Catholic community. They are appointed by the Bishop (through the Department for Worship by the Director who serves as the Episcopal Delegate) at the request of the pastor or chaplain to assist the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion (Bishop, priest or deacon) in sharing the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ with members of the community for which they are commissioned.

For more information, proceed to the section contained on this website titled: "Liturgical Ministry Formation: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion—The Communion Rite at Mass."

Is it permissible to pray the Rosary during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?
Yes. The recent Vatican Instruction on the Eucharist, Redemptionis Sacramentum states: " Exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist must always be carried out in accordance with the prescriptions of the liturgical books. Before the Most Holy Sacrament either reserved or exposed, the praying of the Rosary, which is admirable in its simplicity and even its profundity is not to be excluded either. Even so, especially if there is Exposition, the character of this kind of prayer as a contemplation of the mystery of the life of Christ the Redeemer and the Almighty Father" s design of salvation should be emphasized, especially by making use of readings from Sacred Scripture" (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 137).

Is it permissible to pray the Stations of the Cross during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?
The Way of the Cross is essentially a procession, a physical movement from station to station. Without this movement (of at least some members of the assembly), the "stations" have not really been celebrated.

Obviously, it is not appropriate to expose the Holy Eucharist and then direct the attention of the people elsewhere to the various stations of the cross. The center of attention must be the Blessed Sacrament.

If not " together," what about " back to back?"

From all the above, it is clear that the choice to expose the Blessed Sacrament is also a choice to clear away all other objects of veneration so as to focus on the Eucharistic presence. As mentioned earlier, the Blessed Sacrament is not brought forth in order to support or enhance some other devotion. So, if worthy but non-Eucharistic devotions are not appropriate during exposition, may they precede or follow it?

The Vatican response above indicates that this is possible but remember to keep the whole picture in mind. A "mini-exposition" in order to offer benediction is prohibited. This means that after the one devotional exercise, i.c. Stations of the Cross, is completed, there would need to be a full-scale celebration of Eucharistic exposition (complete with prayers, songs, readings, and time for silent prayer) culminating in benediction. A 15-minute "benediction service" will not fulfill this requirement. So, this option will work only when there is enough time available to do it well.

Ministries

What is the role of the Reader at Mass?
The Liturgical Readers serves the members of the liturgical assembly by proclaiming the texts of Sacred Scripture during the Liturgy of the Word at Mass and other liturgical celebrations. Through this proclamation, God speaks to the gathered community in a special way. The worthy exercise of this role enables the Church to hear the Word of God more clearly and receive it with open hearts. Such regular public nourishment with the Biblical Word helps to sustain the community and contributes to its ongoing conversion and mission.

For more information, proceed to the section contained on this website titled: "Liturgical Ministry Formation: The Reader at Mass."

Holy Days

What are the Holy Days in the United States of America ?
It was on December 13, 1991 that the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States of America created the decree of the holy days of obligation for Catholics in the Latin Rite. In addition to Sunday the holy days that are to be observed, in conformity with canon 1246, the following are to be observed as holy days of obligation in the dioceses of the Latin Rite in the United States of America :

  • January 1, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  • Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Solemnity of the Ascension
  • August 15, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • November 1, Solemnity of All Saints
  • December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception