Children & Holy Communion

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Clayton, May 23, 2022.

  1. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    I’ve been attending Communion services at my local TEC parish for the last couple weeks.

    I take my 4 yo son, and he comes up with me to the Communion rail but having come from a Roman parish, he doesn’t receive of course.

    the first week we went to the Episcopalian church, Fr gave my son a blessing while I communicated. Last week though, after I received, Fr began to offer the host to my son, and my instinct was to intervene and stop him. I said to Fr that my son shouldn’t receive, because he doesn’t understand what communion really is.

    This got me to wondering what the norms for kids and communion are. Is it normal for very young kids to receive communion?

    I was worried that my son would display some of his picky eating behaviors and possibly treat the host in an untoward way.
     
  2. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Anglicans do practice paedobaptism, so I've seen kids from toddlers on up receiving communion. At our church the priest dips the wafer in wine, then drops it in your cupped hands (this no-contact method is standard post-COVID). I've never seen a kid drop it or treat it disrespectfully. I'm sure kids have dropped it by accident or whatever, but that certainly is no sin. The priest will guide you on what to do if that happens. Most of them are very practiced in conducting the Lord's Supper with children.

    The key is education that the wafer is not a snack or just any piece of food. I think even little kids understand that it's an important ritual and that they have to be careful and respectful. But it's also up to the parents to gauge if the child is ready or not. If you're unsure, talk to the priest.
     
  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    In the East children are communed as soon after Baptism. In the West it was normative to only receive communion after confirmation
     
  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In traditional Anglican piety, little children shouldn’t receive communion and it would be dangerous for them, until they reach the age of reason, after Confirmation. However in the breakdown of the traditional piety, among liberals today to exclude children from communion is yet another instance of the widespread “exclusion” and “intolerance” from which all modern society must repent.
     
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  5. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I should add that my church may be unusual in this respect, because other ACNA churches do require a child to be confirmed before they can take the Lord's supper. And most little children receive a blessing rather than the sacrament, though whether this is by decree or parental preference I don't know.
     
  6. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    Ok it sounds as though my intuition— which is to be a trad dad — is right.
     
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  7. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    Even though I’m not attending the Roman church anymore (at least for the while) I don’t see a reason to cut loose and wild with my religious inclinations.

    it is interesting that the traditional norm is to wait — if I understand correctly— for confirmation. Though the Romans first communion is at around age seven, while confirmation is at 14.
     
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Mine take communion. They’re baptized, so I see no reason for them not to. That is in accordance with Eastern practice, which is older than the Western habit of delaying it.
     
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Trad dads of the world unite!
    :discuss:


    I probably conflated the two, since my kids have yet aged into the years where I really have to know the rules about that.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    In our parish, a person (particularly young children, but an adult can do this also) may go to the rail and have arms criss-crossed over the chest, which is a sign that the person is there for a blessing from the priest rather than to receive the Eucharist. You might wish to teach your son to do this for now, until you feel he has grasped the significance of the Eucharist in relation to Christ's redemption. I'm assuming this convention is recognized in your parish. (Might have to ask your rector to be certain, but AFAIK it's fairly universal in our circles.)
     
  11. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    My older daughter was baptized at a Reformed Episcopal Church. The priest believed in paedo-communion and communed her by intinction, as an infant, a time or two. Half of the parish was his extended family and he communed all of his grandchildren.

    I have gone to diocesan events and the Archdeacon asked me if my children receive communion. I tell him no. I am of the mentality that confirmation should happen first. My older daughter is 7 and I am preparing her for that rite.

    Their mother wore the mantilla (a sort of veil). I have procured two mantillas for my two daughters. They will receive them after confirmation and wear them for communion. I still have their mother's mantilla as well, which I will probably let them wear for confirmation and first communion.
     
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I can see how that would add to the memorability and sense of significance!
     
  13. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I understand that, in the C of E at least, you must be confirmed before you receive Holy Communion. I became an altar server before I was confirmed. The rector at the time applied for permission for me to receive Holy Communion prior to my confirmation. I do not know from whom he sought this permission.
     
  14. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    I was under the impression the mantilla was a very Catholic headdress. Maybe because it sounds so Spanish.

    I’ve seen them in spades at the Extraordinary Form, and occasionally at the Ordinary Form, but always by very traditionalist Catholics.
     
  15. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    My wife was Puerto Rican. So, Spanish custom fits.
     
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  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    As a child, I recall that all the women in our RC parish wore head coverings (mostly hats). My mother was scandalized when she saw some young woman show up at Mass without one. This was around 1965. Times have changed.

    I should also mention, however, that most of the ladies owned several stylish, colorful hats that matched their dresses, and I think they took advantage of the opportunity to show off. So it wasn't quite all about piety at that point. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2022
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  17. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    Bring back the hats and gloves says I.

    I have grave doubts our civilization will stand with out them. I say so only slightly tongue in cheek.
     
  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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  19. Annie Grace

    Annie Grace Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how I feel about all this. I was baptised as an adult because my parents were agnostics. I like that I made a conscious decision to have this done. It was at a Christmas Midnight Mass and I was baptised, confirmed and received first Communion all at the same service. It was a big deal for the parish community and even my agnostic father attended. He knew all the prayers and when I asked him later how he knew this, he told me he had attend a Catholic boy's military academy when he was young. Wow - news to me!

    My daughter was adopted at age 7 and when she was 8 she asked to be baptised Catholic because I was, so I enrolled her in a Catholic school, and they prepared for all this. She was baptised, confirmed and had first Communion all through her school parish. I left the timing up to them.

    I sometimes wonder if we shouldn't wait until kids are old enough to make their own choice (St Augustine was baptised as an adult because he supposedly worried that he might commit a sin and baptism wipes away all sins - but then so does confession), but I also like the idea of baptising babies, so I think it is up to the parents to choose this. As for Communion, I think that should follow after baptism and confirmation, but that is just an opinion and this is a pretty personal choice after all.
     
  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I once thought we should wait until our children understood. My second son was 4 or 5 years old when he decided he wanted to be baptised. At that time though, as a believing parent, I didn't understand what infant baptism actually signified and its necessary relationship with conformation in the faith life of an individual believer.

    Some of these issues are discussed in an old thread back here.
    .