Sacrament of Confirmation
The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. It is the third of the Sacraments of Initiation and is traditionally celebrated following Baptism & First Eucharist.
Confirmation at the Church of St. Edward
Preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation typically begins in September of one’s 9th grade year and concludes in May with the Rite of Confirmation. Confirmation preparation at the Church of St. Edward is a comprehensive process, which involves catechesis, fellowship, service and prayer. We seek to engage the heart and mind as to allow teens to develop an active, mature faith life: a relationship with God that has been informed not only by tradition but through personal reflection, as well. We take seriously the message sent by the Second Vatican Council that calls all Christians, young and old, to live lives that proclaim the Gospel, in both word and in deed. We seek to invite and nurture young believers as they come to know the person of Jesus Christ, as revealed through the Roman Catholic faith. At the Church of St. Edward we take a multi-faceted approach in helping teens prepare for Confirmation.
Essential Elements for Confirmation:
Confirmation Classes are Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 PM in the lower auditorium. For a list of dates when classes will meet, see the calendar above. Catechesis is an integral part of any sacramental preparation. Classes will focus on the Christian message, as revealed to us through scripture and church tradition. Teens will work in both large and small groups to explore issues of morality and social justice. Catechesis is meant to develop a context off of which one can engage in a deeper level of faith-sharing and prayer. These sessions will be lead by the parish’s youth minister, with the assistance of members of our high school peer ministry team. Just like school, attendance at Confirmation sessions is important. The benefit of having a one-year program instead of a two-year program is that each candidate can attend all of the lessons in a shorter period of time. This allows them to have more time in high school after Confirmation to figure out how to apply their Catholic faith in their everyday lives. At the same time, attendance is critical. If a candidate misses a week, they will be missing part of their formation. It is expected that if your candidate will miss a week, an email is to be sent to Patrick Smalley. If attendance becomes an ongoing issue, expect to be contacted with alternative options for the sacrament of Confirmation for your candidate.
2. Service Experience
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to serve others. It is not just an expectation for Confirmation, but a lifestyle that we are called to live. We are not asking for a set number of hours to be completed or for a candidate to get a signature verifying that he or she has completed service; instead, we are asking each candidate to expand their understanding of service through experiences in three different areas of their lives:
- Family: Helping out in new ways—not chores, not doing something that’s asked of you, but going out of your way to spread God’s love to those who you have the longest history with. And here’s the key: don’t tell anyone why you’re serving—just do it as an act of love.
- Local Faith Community (St. Ed’s): Using your gifts to make your parish (St. Ed’s) a better place. This is to be done in an area other than Youth Ministry. Some examples include, but are not limited to, volunteering at weekend liturgies (lector, commentator, usher, greeter, choir member, instrumentalist, etc.), helping with Families Moving Forward, becoming a Sunday school teacher, become a Donut Sunday server, volunteer to help with the Mass of Remembrance (November) or the Mass for People with Special Needs (March); there are so many possibilities! If you’re having trouble thinking of ideas, look at the front of the bulletin for ideas and contact info for the people in charge of each ministry. Many of these ministries may ask that you volunteer with an adult—I’d encourage you to try and serve in this area with your sponsor if they live in the area!
- Greater Community: Help us build the church by spreading the love of Christ to those in our community beyond the walls of St. Ed’s. This could be done in school, on a sports team, at VEAP or Feed My Starving Children, or anywhere that you want to help the church spread its love. You don’t have to be “preachy” or even share why you’re volunteering; simply serve as a way of illustrating humility and Christ’s love for all of us.
3. Overnight Retreat
Each year, we plan one Confirmation retreat that is just for candidates from St. Ed’s. We put all our energy into that one retreat and hope to make it an amazing experience for all of our candidates. If your child is unable to attend this retreat, then he/she is responsible for finding another overnight retreat as an alternative prior to completion of the Confirmation program. If you’re looking for an alternative Confirmation Retreat date, register through Net Ministries. If your child is unable to attend the St. Ed’s retreat, and you have searched and can’t find any other options, contact Patrick Smalley sooner than later to discuss your candidate’s options.
4. Liturgical Celebration Reflection
Throughout the year of preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, we ask that our candidates are active participants in liturgical celebrations at St. Ed’s. As a way to deepen the experience of each candidate, we ask that they reflect on at least three services at various points in the year on their experiences at Mass at St. Ed’s compared to a different faith community.
5. Written Assignments
These assignments are ways for the candidates to reflect on experiences they have had during the Confirmation process.
6. Final Meeting With Pastor
In the month of March, we don’t have any formal Wednesday night Confirmation classes–this is due to the fact that prior to the last month of preparation, we take a month off to let the students reflect, and to give them time to meet with their pastor to discuss how their Confirmation preparation is going. Candidates are encouraged to come with questions to ask the Pastor that they have about Catholicism or reservations they may have about the sacrament. These meetings, that typically last about 30-45 minutes, are a time for conversation and encouragement. Regardless of where the student is in their understanding of the faith, the pastor will “meet them where they are at” and discuss topics of faith and life as a Catholic. Don’t worry… it is not a test to see what candidates know. It’s just a conversation.
In order for us to process each candidate’s Confirmation appropriately, we need to have a copy of their baptismal certificate. Please have a copy sent to St. Ed’s if the baptism took place at another parish. If your candidate was baptized at St. Ed’s, we have this document, but may need help finding the correct year. We appreciate your patience and assistance with this.
Sponsors are individuals chosen by the candidates to walk alongside, during and after Confirmation preparation. A sponsor should be someone older than the candidate that he/she looks up to and feels comfortable discussing their faith with. It is not encouraged for parents to be sponsors mainly due to the fact that candidates are confirming the baptismal vows made by parents on their behalf as a young child. If you translate “sponsor” literally from the original Latin, it really means “Godparent” –and since parents and Godparents play different roles in one’s life, parents are unable to be a Godparent and thus unable to be a sponsor. That being said, if your child doesn’t have anyone that lives nearby that they can ask to be their sponsor, they may still ask that person that lives far away and parents may fill in as a proxy for the candidate’s actual sponsor as needed. However, it is expected that the candidate have regular conversations with their sponsor about their Confirmation process via phone calls, Skype, email, Facebook, etc. The time commitment for sponsors include: Sponsor Night, Field Trip, Ash Wednesday Meeting, Rite of Sending and Confirmation Liturgy.
There will be several additional (optional) ways to help candidates get involved in their sacramental journey. We hope that this year of preparation will inspire our youth to CHOOSE to live actively in their faith by taking advantage of such opportunities.
Have a question?
Contact Patrick Smalley, Director of Youth and Adult Ministry, at (952) 835-7101 ext. 211.
A Brief History of Confirmation
In the ancient church the three Sacraments of initiation were celebrated as one. Theologians in the fifth century, such as St. Augustine, argued that baptism should occur at infancy in order to immediately cleanse one from his/her original sin. With the Sacraments of Initiation now separated, it became common practice to save First Eucharist and Confirmation until an older age. Adults converting to Roman Catholicism will still celebrate all three Sacraments together at the Easter Vigil. Confirmation has, and continues to be, celebrated at different times depending on one’s parish or diocese. Today most Roman Catholics are Confirmed during their teenage years when individuals are deemed mature enough to take ownership of their own faith.