Sacraments of the Catholic Church
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Sacrament of Marriage
Sacrament of the Sick
The Sacrament & the Journey of Faith
Confirmation is the one of the three Sacraments of Initiation of the Catholic Church. Confirmation continues and strengthens the grace we first received at Baptism. The Sacrament of Confirmation roots us more deeply in our identity as God’s children; unites us more firmly with Christ; increases in us the gifts of the Holy Spirit; binds us more closely to the Church; and gives us special strength to bear witness to our faith in today’s world.
Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation is held in conjunction with our Senior Elementary Schools and the Parish. All Confirmation candidates are required to attend a retreat as well as participate in some aspect of Parish life in preparation of completing their initiation into the Catholic Church.
For youth attending a Catholic school, registration forms are distributed at the school and are to be returned to the student’s teacher.
For youth attending a Public school, parents are required to register directly with the Parish.
Registration for Confirmation for 2014 is now beginning. Contact your school for registration forms.
Preparation for the Candidate
How to choose a sponsor
Confirmation can be a great experience, and hopefully you’ve thought a lot about what this sacrament means, and how the Holy Spirit will affect your life. You’ll be required to have a sponsor – someone who will guide you and share the story of faith with you. A good sponsor will make this process a little easier and even more fun.
If all has gone as planned, the best person will be one of your baptismal godparents. The Catechism (#1311) and canon law (#892-893) both tell us that you need a sponsor. Having one of your godparents helps us to see how Baptism and Confirmation are connected. Sadly, by the time they get to Confirmation, many young people no longer know their godparents, or they’re no longer good role models. Or maybe they just live too far away. These young people will need to choose a new sponsor.
Some advice to the candidates: You’re looking for someone you trust, whose faith you admire and who will be there for you. The requirements for being a sponsor are: they must be confirmed Catholics, at least 16 years old (for maturity) and practicing members of the Church, while not being your parents. This means you can choose a relative, friend or someone from your parish as your sponsor.
Candidate’s Letter to the Bishop
All candidates are to write a letter, addressed to the Bishop, stating why they want to be confirmed. The sponsor or a parent should review the letter afterwards, but the candidate is to actually write the letter, without any assistance from others. It does not have to be long but should be from the heart. Candidates should research the theology of Confirmation, and why at this time in their life they choose to be confirmed.
This letter is to be returned to the Parish before or at the Confirmation Retreat. The Bishop will be given these letters to read. Several letters are often chosen to be read by the candidates at the Confirmation Mass.
Preparation for the Sponsor
Be at your best
If you have been chosen to be a Confirmation sponsor, congratulations! This person sees in you a profound faith commitment, finds trust and knows you are someone who will care about them and their faith. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It’s not all that complicated, but it does take time, a caring heart and a listening ear. If you’re a practicing, mature Catholic, don’t get too worried. Here are a few suggestions on how to be the best possible sponsor for your candidate:
• Be a living model of faith. At least a part of what this young person admires in you is your faith! If the way you practice your faith is not what it should be, “get it together,” so to speak! If you honestly can’t, this is understandable, but maybe you should decline the invitation to be a sponsor. Your life doesn’t have to become artificially saintly, but your faith should be authentic and sincere.
• Pray for your candidate and yourself. As candidates decide to be confirmed, they need spiritual strength. Your prayers for them are important, but don’t forget to pray for yourself also, that you can share why you value and practice your Faith. Attend Mass together, or even have the courage to go to Reconciliation together.
• Give of your time and share your gifts. You’ll be asked to spend time together on various activities. This may mean preparing lessons or even working on a Christian service project. You could also share your own experiences or write a letter of encouragement. Let your unique God-given talents and gifts shine! Offer a gift of spiritual significance: a new Bible, rosary or book about our faith or about a saint, but be creative and relevant!
• Don’t miss the ceremony. Participating in the ceremony is the easiest part of being a sponsor. Your basic job will be to place your hand on your candidate’s shoulder, and tell the bishop your candidate’s name. You’re there to be a support, but your role on Confirmation day is only beginning.
• Don’t forget this newly confirmed Catholic. After Confirmation day, remember birthdays and this anniversary. Send a card or make a phone call. Continue to worship together, or from time to time do some Christian service project. Put those “Gifts of the Spirit” into practice.
Sponsor’s Letter to the Candidate
The role of a sponsor is very important and does not end once the ceremony is over. The sponsor is to be a role model of faith and a mentor in the Christian life to the candidate. This requires the sharing of experiences and as the sponsor journeys with the candidate in the formation process toward Confirmation. In order to help develop some sense of faith sharing in this process, the sponsor is to write a letter to the candidate sharing the gift of your own faith journey. The letter is to be addressed to your candidate, but returned to the Parish Office at least 1 week prior to the Confirmation Retreat. Your letter will be presented to the candidate and ready privately by him/ her as part of the Confirmation Retreat.
To assist you in preparing your letter, you may wish to touch upon some or all of the following points:
• fond memories of this teen as a child
• special qualities you see in him/ her
• prayers or religious songs that have meaning for you
• people who have influenced you in trying to lead a good Christian life
• ways that being a Christian has helped you
• memories of your own Confirmation and preparation for this Sacrament
• what helps you to keep believing in God
• a promise to pray for this teen throughout his/ her life
• some of your hopes or dreams for him/ her