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104-year-old man receives sacraments of Christian initiation

José Lourenço da Silva receives First Communion

Santuário Diocesano de São José - Alto Piquiri | Facebook

José Lourenço da Silva receives First Communion

Francisco Veneto - published on 08/10/23

José Lourenço da Silva was baptized conditionally, since it was unclear if he had already received valid baptism before.

On June 17, at the age of 104, José Lourenço da Silva received the sacraments of Christian initiation — namely Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation.

The beautiful ceremony was celebrated in the chapel of St. Jude Thaddeus in Alto Piquiri, Paraná, presided by Fr. Antonio Murilo Macedo da Luz, pastoral associate of the Diocesan Shrine of St. Joseph.

The remarkable day in the life of the centenarian was preceded weeks earlier by a visit from Sidônia dos Santos, who works in the pastoral care of the elderly. When she asked him if he was baptized, he told her that he had been “baptized at home, never in church” because the local church “didn’t exist” back then. He added that he did wish to receive the sacraments in church and, in particular, “to receive the Host.”

Immediately, the necessary arrangements were made for him to receive catechesis. It was a month-long intensive preparation so that he would know properly the meaning and, above all, the imponderable value of each sacrament.

The big day finally arrived! After being baptized, receiving the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time, and being confirmed in the faith through the sacrament of Confirmation, the centenarian said he felt great well-being:

My body was heavy, now it is light. I used to lie in bed and dream about so much rubbish and now I don’t anymore. I used to dream about bad things. After the baptism I don’t dream anymore. I’ve improved a lot.

Conditional baptism

It’s important to note that there were “prudent doubts” about the validity of the baptism he says he received at home, as there were no reliable records to adequately confirm it. In such a case, the Church may baptize a person only “conditionally,” since valid baptism cannot be repeated. This means that if José wasn’t already validly baptized, he now becomes so; and if he already was, that original baptism remains perfectly valid, and the repeated rite has no effect.

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