His Excellency Salvatore Matano, the new bishop for my home diocese of Rochester, has promulgated a new policy document on the sacraments to bring local practices in line with the norms of the universal Church. Highlights include lengthier preparation for Confirmation, reserving the homily to the ordained clergy, and ordering First Penance before First Communion. As is typical with Bishop Matano, he combines fidelity with pastoral care, taking the time to explain why each policy is necessary. God bless him.

In an effort “to assist diocesan parishes and institutions to fulfill their mandate to proclaim Jesus Christ in Word and to strengthen the faithful in Sacrament,” Bishop Salvatore R. Matano promulgated Policies for the Administration of the Sacraments in the Diocese of Rochester on Sept. 30.

The policies address the sacraments of baptism, holy Eucharist, confirmation and penance/reconciliation, replacing all previously issued diocesan guidelines on those sacraments. Also included are directives on such topics as sacramental preparation for children and young adults, liturgical practices and establishing a lifelong relationship with the church.

The document is the result of numerous meetings and discussions that began in 2012 among diocesan and parish leaders. Bishop Matano explained that updating the policies was less about making changes than serving to clarify pre-existing sacramental norms and compile them in a comprehensive document, so that diocesan parishes can refer to and implement the standards more uniformly.

Read the rest of the story at the Catholic Courier of Rochester.