03 March 2010

Pastoral Guidance on the “Books of Conversion and First Communicants”

2 March – Dagupan City. Archbishop Socrates  B. Villegas, DD, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, has laid down the pastoral guidelines covering converts from those “who have received valid baptisms in other Christian churches, sects and denominations”. In the same document, the Archbishop Villegas also provided guidelines in the diligent and correct recording of the First Communicants in the parishes.

Below is the pastoral guidelines addressed to all parish priests and team ministry moderators:

March 13, 2010
Prot. 2010/4

TO: All Parish Priests and Team Ministry Moderators
RE: Book of Conversions and Book of First Communicants

In our desire to make more effective the documentation of the members of the Catholic Church who have received the sacraments of Christian initiation; by virtue of our office as Metropolitan Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan, we hereby decree that all parishes within our ecclesiastical jurisdiction maintain in the parish archives the BOOK OF CONVERSIONS and the BOOK OF FIRST COMMUNICANTS.  The diligent and correct recording of the conversion to the Catholic Church of those who have received valid baptisms in other Christian churches, sects and denominations is the responsibility of the parish priests or moderators of team ministries. The same diligence and care must accompany the recording of the First Communicants in the parishes. These two additional canonical books will be inspected during pastoral visits by the Local Ordinary or his delegate.

This archdiocesan ruling imposing the obligation to record all conversions and first communicants in the parishes will take effect on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010.

For your pastoral guidance, the following Christian churches have valid baptisms using the Trinitarian formula for baptisms:

 Seventh Day Adventists
United Methodist Church of the Philippines
Convention of the Philippine Baptist Churches
Philippine Episcopal Church
Lutheran Church in the Philippines
Methodists IEMELIF
Presbyterian Church
United Church of Christ in the Philippines

After receiving liturgical admission to the Catholic Church, the converts must receive Communion and Confirmation immediately and the necessary recording must be made in the canonical books pertaining to them. All other adult baptisms in Christian churches not mentioned above must be entered in the Book of Baptisms.

As I thank you for your usual faithfulness and pastoral diligence, I also invoke upon you the blessings of God.

Sincerely yours,

Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan