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April 19, 2015

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

May 16th, 2015 is a BIG DAY for 27 of our young parishioners. At 10:00 am on that Saturday they will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Archbishop John Nienstedt or one of the auxiliary bishops will preside at this special Mass in which these young people will declare to God, their families, and the world that they desire to live their Christian faith in the Catholic Church. Many years ago at their Baptism their parents and godparents brought them into our Christian family. Now for the first time the Church is asking whether or not they choose to live this gift/responsibility within our Catholic family. The adults in their lives now believe that they are ready to answer this question.

As your pastor it is my responsibility to make sure that they are ready; in fact, just prior to the start of the Confirmation Mass the Archbishop will ask me about their readiness. In good faith I need to be able to say “Yes”; thus, over the past three months I have conducted a final interview with each of our candi- dates. Not only did I ask them whether they want to receive this final sacrament of initiation which will now identify them as an adult in the eyes of our Church; but also, I made sure that they understood the basic tenets of what it means to be Christian and Catholic in today’s world. I am happy to report that the interviews have gone very well. I am encouraged by the faith I discovered in these young people who are the future of our Church. A BIG THANK YOU to the parents, godparents, teachers, extended family members, and fellow parishioners for the good job we are doing to prepare these candidates.

I ask that you keep our candidates in your prayers during these final days of preparation. This weekend the entire class will be away on their “Confirmation Retreat.” This is an opportunity for them to reflect on the upcoming celebration. May these young parishioners be ready to say “Yes” to the Lord and our Catholic faith. And then, we need to challenge them in how will they live our faith in today’s world?


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Consider the following story —

Before the age of electricity, city streets were lit after dark by gas lamps. Lamplighters went about every night, lighting the lamps with a flaming torch. One night, when he was advanced in age, the 19th-century British writer John Ruskin was seated at a window in his house. Across the valley was a street on a hillside. There the old man could see the torch of the lamplighter igniting lamps as he went. Because of the darkness, however, Ruskin could not see the lamplighter. He could see only his torch and the trail of lights it left behind. After watching for a while, Ruskin pointed to the trail of lights and said to a friend sitting next to him: “That lamplighter is a good example of how Christian men and women should live. You may never have seen them. But you know they passed through the world by the trail of lights they left behind.”

My brothers and sisters in Christ, what John Ruskin said about Christian men and women can also be said about each of us. People will know we passed through the world by the trail of lights we leave behind us. May God bless our Confirmation students and each of us as we strive to be the light of Christ for the entire world to see.

Easter peace, Fr. Brian

February 15, 2015
by Patrick Smalley, Director of High School Faith Formation & Young Adults

Patrick Smalley

Easter is my favorite holiday. As we prepare for Lent, I can’t help but think about how we already know the ending to the story. We know that Easter will come. Jesus will conquer death and darkness, and that gives me hope and excitement. I don’t know about your family, but growing up we always used to go to my grandparents house, and we’d have to squeeze everyone around two tables: the adult table and the kid table. All of us at the same meal, but depending on what table you were at, each person had very different experiences. Sound familiar? I can’t help but notice how we’ve created a similar situation in our churches.

One of the toughest transitions our students face is during their 9th grade Confirmation preparation. It is through the sacrament of Confirmation, that we invite our youth to become adults in the Catholic Church.

If we are to view our students as adults in the community, how do we do a better job of wel- coming them into our parish? Otherwise, our newly confirmed will never have the confidence to leave the “kids table.” Here are three simple steps to ease this transition:

Make space. Our youth experience church differently than ever before. The baby boomer generation, for example, first determined what they believed, then acted according to those beliefs, and lastly found a faith community they fit into. The millennial generation, on the other hand, experience church in the reverse order: first, they find a community they fit in, then they act accord- ing to the ways of that community, and lastly they define their beliefs. If this is how our youth functions, then we need to promote our community in such a way that they can’t help but want to be at our table. We can share our enthusiasm for St. Ed’s by simply inviting them to something!

Share stories. Nothing connects us like our stories. We need to do a better job of explaining why we value our traditions, not simply recite for them a list of expected behaviors. Don’t be afraid to explain what seems like common knowledge—it may possibly be an explanation they have never heard before. Share your faith stories and ask to hear theirs.

Call them by name. We need to stop calling them the “future of the church” and start recognizing them for what they are—an essential part of our church today. By saying they are our future, we are minimizing their significance now. Often times, youth are simply looking to be valued and for caring adults who show an interest in them.

Get connected: Confirmation (Usually start in Grade 9), or Acts 29 (Grades 10-12). To learn more, or to volunteer, contact Patrick Smalley, 952-835-7101 ext. 211