Dear Catholic Exchange:
I have been wondering while at church if I am doing wrong. I was baptized as a little girl, but I never got the chance to make my First Communion. I am now 24 years old and have been married through the same church going on five years. However, my husband at that time of us getting married had been baptized and made his Communion. Is it safe for both of us to recieve the Body and Blood of Christ. I have received the bread already and tomorrow I will go to my church and sign up for my First Communion and Confirmation. Have I been doing wrong for receiving this in the past 5 years?
Thank you for this question. It is wonderful that you want to receive your First Communion and Confirmation.
Generally speaking, Church law provides that any baptized person who is not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to Holy Communion (canon 912). Since you are an adult, the rules that pertain to First Communion for children don't apply.
Still, you want the reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion to be the most positive, grace-filled event as possible, so I want to make a couple important suggestions.
First, I would suggest that you talk to your parish priest. I assume that you were properly married in the Catholic Church, but I'm not sure of that based on what you wrote. He could quickly resolve that issue for you. In the unlikely event that there is some sort of problem, you might be "prohibited by law" until the situation is worked out. I don't mean to alarm you — there's probably not a problem, but it would be wise to make sure.
Second, it would be very important that you go to Confession before you continue to receive Communion. Based on what you wrote, I presume that you've never gone to Confession or at least it's been many years since you've received that sacrament. If you don't know how to go to Confession, that's nothing to be ashamed of. The priest will help you in that regard, and there are many fine booklets available on this at Catholic bookstores. We all should strive to go to Confession regularly so that we can be well disposed to receive Jesus in Communion without serious sin on our souls.
Third, Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist under either the species of bread or under the species of wine. I encourage you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church or other catechetical materials to enhance your understanding of this great mystery of our faith. In this regard, I further recommend that you join Catholics United for the Faith, as our Catholic Responses department is here to personally assist you with any questions you might have.
Fourth, it is good that you sign up for Confirmation and receive that sacrament at the earliest opportunity. Ordinarily as an adult you would be confirmed before receiving Communion, but your situation is different and once you've worked through the above issues you should be able to receive Communion even as you prepare for Confirmation. The Church strongly recommends Confirmation before Marriage, so the fact that you haven't been confirmed yet is another reason why I wanted you to make sure that you were appropriately married in the Church. The strengthening that comes with Confirmation will certainly help you grow as a Christian and as a loving, faithful wife.
I hope this information is helpful to you, Adriane. God bless you!
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