Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota has reported
that during his recent ad limina visit to Rome, Pope
Benedict XVI expressed approval of the order in which children in that diocese
receive the sacraments of initiation. The Diocese of Fargo confers baptism, then confirmation, then first Eucharist, unlike most dioceses, which confirm young people only after they've made their First Communion.
From the CNA report on Bishop Aquila's remarks:
“I was very surprised in what the
Pope said to me, in terms of how happy he was that the sacraments of initiation
have been restored to their proper order of baptism, confirmation then first
Eucharist,” said Bishop Aquila, after meeting Pope Benedict on March 8.
Bishop Aquila was one of five bishops from North and South Dakota to meet with
Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican as part of their March 5-10 “ad limina” visit
to the Rome.
Over the past seven years the Diocese of Fargo has changed the typical order of
the sacraments of initiation. Instead of confirmation coming third and at an
older age, it is now conferred on children at a younger age and prior to First
Bishop Aquila said he made the changes because “it really puts the emphasis on
the Eucharist as being what completes the sacraments of initiation” and on
confirmation as “sealing and completing baptism.”