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 St. Francis School and the Parish. All Confirmation candidates are required to participate in some aspect of Parish life in preparation for completing their initiation into the Catholic Church.
For youth attending St. Francis School, registration forms are distributed at the school in September and are to be returned to the student’s teacher.
For youth attending a Public School, parents are asked to register directly with the Parish. The Registration Form is available at the Parish Office or by download.
Registration for the Sacrament of Confirmation for 2017 will begin in September 2016.
The candidate, one parent and the sponsor (if already chosen), are asked to attend an information meeting on [TBA] at St. Mary’s. This brief meeting will include an overview of the preparation process, expectations and a time for questions.
Schedule for Confirmation Preparation
- Important Dates for Confirmation 2016 – 2017
The rehearsal for candidates celebrating Confirmation at St. Mary’s is on [TBA]. The candidate, sponsor and one parent are asked to attend.
The rehearsal for candidates celebrating Confirmation at Our Lady of Lourdes is on [TBA]. The candidate, sponsor and one parent are asked to attend.
Dates for Confirmation
The Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated at St. Mary’s on [TBA] during the 5:00 pm Mass.
The Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated at Our Lady of Lourdes on [TBA] during the 9:00 am Mass.
Preparation for the Candidate
Confirmation can be a great experience, and hopefully you have thought a lot about what this Sacrament means, and how the Holy Spirit will affect your life. You will 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 are 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 are 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 practicing Catholics who have received the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation, at least 16 years old and cannot be your parents. This means you can choose another relative, friend or someone from the Parish as your sponsor.
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 are asking to be confirmed.
This letter is to be returned to the Parish Office. The Bishop will be given these letters to read. For more information please click on the link below:
Preparation for the Sponsor
If you have been chosen to be a Confirmation sponsor, congratulations! The candidate 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 is not all that complicated, but it does take time, a caring heart and a listening ear. 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 cannot, this is understandable, but maybe you should decline the invitation to be a sponsor. You do not have to become a saint overnight, 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 do not 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 Sacrament of Reconciliation together.
• Give of your time and share your gifts. You will be asked to spend time together on various activities. 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!
• Do not 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 are there to be a support, but your role on Confirmation day is only beginning.
• After the ceremony, do not forget this newly confirmed Catholic. After Confirmation day, remember birthdays and the anniversary of your candidate’s Confirmation. Send a card or make a phone call. Continue to attend church together, or from time to time do some service project. Put those “Gifts of the Spirit” into practice.
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 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 one week prior to the Confirmation rehearsal. Your letter will be presented to the candidate and read privately by him/ her at the conclusion of the rehearsal.
To assist you in preparing your letter, you may wish to touch upon some or all of the following points:
- fond memories of your candidate as a child
- special qualities you see in him/ her
- prayers or hymns 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
- some of your hopes or dreams for him/ her
- a promise to pray for your candidate throughout his/ her life
This letter is to be returned to the Parish and will be given to the Candidates following the rehearsal. For more information please click on the link below: