Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

A special day in prison

This evening I am attending the annual Carol Service at East Sutton Park Prison where I serve as Catholic Chaplain one day a week. This year it is going to be a particularly special celebration because one of the ladies is being received into full communion with the Catholic church and receiving the sacrament of confirmation. This comes after a course of small group catechesis each week over many months when we followed the Evangelium course together. The other members of the group will be acting as sponsors.

I cannot give further details for reasons of confidentiality but please pray for this lady who has found hope and comfort in the Christian Gospel and in the promises of the Catholic faith. We have chosen the carol service because it is the one time that we enter into a proper church (not a multi-faith room) and the whole community are gathered. It is days like this that make priesthood such a joy.

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9 Comments

  1. Alan

    I thought this was only done at Easter.

    • Admin

      It might be desirable but is not mandatory. Understand we have to work within pastoral considerations such as prisoner release dates – getting people as spiritually prepared as we are able.

      • Indeed. You can hardly refuse to receive someone who is dying on the grounds that it’s September! Or someone who for eg wants to be received before marriage. How did it go Father?

        • Admin

          It was uplifting and moving during what is always a lovely carol service. Two other prisoners served as sponsors and much rejoicing afterwards from all. A big step on a journey of faith.

  2. Mary B

    God bless the lady in question . I will give her a special mention in prayer. Prison ministry must be difficult but so I understand very rewarding

  3. pelerin

    As someone who was received into the Church over 50 years ago I am always delighted when I read of someone else’s path to the Truth. Congratulations to the lady mentioned.

    From Alan’s comment I presume he is a young man and only familiar with the Easter Vigil receptions! In my day I was able to chose which Feast Day I would like – I chose the Feast of the Sacred Heart – and it was only later with the introduction of the RCIA that Easter baptisms became the norm.

    • David Knowles

      Before Vatican II people were usually ‘conditionally’ baptised in the sacristy. At least that was the case in Salford diocese. The Church at that time either did not recognise baptisms by other denominations or at least perceived them as doubtful.
      It was not a public event at that time but rather private.

      • Pat

        Unfortunately some baptisms were (are still ?) intended to make the person a member of a particular group or sect rather than of the Church as a whole. To my mind it is doubtful that such can be called baptism. Better minds than mine need to takle that up. That is why there was and still is the use of conditional baptism. Sacramental Baptism can only be give once – re-baptism is not possible.

    • Pat

      The Easter Vigil reception originated in the days when pagans were seeking entry to the Church. The period of instruction of the catecumens (they were not permitted to be present at the Consecration) was timed to culminate with, and to emphasize, the entry to a new spiritual life at the the Eucharistic Celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. Easter reception is still used as can be seen in the TV relays of the Easter Vigil Mass from Rome (and elsewhere) but I’m not sure that it was ever mandatory. Anybody know?

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