What is Confirmation?
We live in a world full of good things but many bad things as well. There are many voices out there trying to steer our lives. As a child, it’s natural to follow the lead of parents. But by the time you get to the 5th grade, you are old enough to start seeking God directly yourself. You still need parents and other loved ones to guide you, but you now must choose between the many voices out there. In reality, there are only two voices. Many in the world want to convince you how to be happy in ways that do not lead to the real happiness God wants for you. The vital truth that changes everything is that God exists. Because of that, there is only one voice we must follow; that of Jesus Christ his Son. It is the Catholic Church who dedicates her existence to helping you hear that voice and follow it to the true happiness and fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Confirmation will be your decision to God, your family, the Church and yourself that you seek to follow Christ. But there’s more to Confirmation. Confirmation is a Sacrament meaning you will get special graces to help you in your life. Graces are those actions of God in our lives designed to lead us to our ultimate good. We cannot travel all the dangers of this world alone. We need the grace of God. Confirmation completes your Baptism bringing the fullness of these graces. We hope that you take this year very seriously as you move to this critical event in your life.
Focus of Confirmation
As with everything in the Catholic Church, the supreme focus for confirmation is Jesus Christ and his Gospel. In pursuit of that, we will experience three aspects of our life as a follower of Jesus:
- Education – We will teach you about the truth, beauty and goodness of God and the practices of the Catholic Church in participation of that truth, beauty and goodness. In particular, we will identify a core set of questions about God and the Church that every confirmation student must be able to answer. And yes, there will be a test.
- Spirituality – But, our faith is not one of just knowing the facts. We must bring Christ and the Church into our lives as we live each day. Spirituality will concentrate on a personal understanding of the nature of God, how to be a follower of Jesus and his Gospel and then how to conduct our lives in association with God.
- Fellowship – And, of course, just as Jesus had great fellowship with his followers, we will continue that tradition and build up friendships during this year.
- Class – Classes will be held monthly per the schedule in this document. Each class will have a theme, educational material, spirituality, fellowship and music.
- Homework – After each class will be homework to be turned in at the beginning of the next class.
- Retreat – Early in 2015, we have a Friday evening through Sunday morning retreat.
- Sponsor (or Parent) Booklet – Each student will be given a booklet to be completed together with their sponsor (or parent, if it’s not practical for the sponsor)/
- Home Service Project – Parents and students should get together to figure out how they can be useful around the house in a service project.
- Mass – Students are expected to attend Mass weekly and on Holy Days of Obligation. Parents are expected to attest that this happened.
Elements for the Year
What is Expected of the Confirmation Student?
There are several things you must do in order to receive your Confirmation.
- Attendance – Attend all the classes. If you must miss, we expect a good explanation.
- Saint – Pick a Saint who will be your sponsor from heaven. A Saint is a person who is recognized to have reached the fullness of holiness while still on earth. They have a special job in heaven to assist us here on earth. The Saint you pick is alive today and not just some historic figure. We ask you to write a prayer to your Saint. Your individual teachers may ask you to do more.
- Sponsor – You will need to quickly pick an earthly sponsor to help you with the Confirmation process and the rest of your life. Your sponsor must be over the age of 16, already Confirmed and a solid, practicing Catholic. One evidence of that is whether or not they attend Mass every Sunday and the extent that they pray. If your sponsor is married, they must have been married in the Church. They cannot be living with their boyfriend of girlfriend outside of marriage.
- Bible – Obtain a New American Bible (NAB) and bring it to class.
- Attend the Retreat – The retreat is mandatory.
- Certificates – We need copies of your Baptismal and First Communion certificates. If these sacraments were done at St. John 23rd, we won’t need copies.
What is Expected of the Sponsor?
As a sponsor, you will shepherd your confirmation student through the process. While being a sponsor may be an honor, we want to stress that it will be a lifetime of work as well. Please see the sponsor qualifications listed above under the Confirmation Student section.
As a sponsor, you are required to do the following:
- Provide certificates to validate your sacraments including Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. Evidence that your marriage was in the Church is needed as well.
- Teach the students the answers to the Questions of Faith. These questions will be on the final exam.
- Complete the Confirmation Booklet together.
Thank you for taking on this important responsibility for your Confirmation student!
What’s Expected of Parents?
Ultimately, it’s the parent’s responsibility to provide the religious education for your children. You mainly do this through your own Catholic practices. We hope that you’ll attend Mass each week and talk about your faith with your Confirmation youth.