Scheduled once every two years for children in our School of Religious Education.
AT SAINT MARY’S CHURCH
THEOLOGY OF THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES
Modern biblical scholarship discloses an evolution within the church governing the process by which a person becomes a Christian. This evolution has led to a Christian Initiation process which contains three distinctive sacraments celebrated in the life of a person within the baptized community: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
Confirmation is the definitive affirmation of Baptism. It is the sacramental action in which the Church recognizes and publicly proclaims itself as an apostolic community centered in Christ Himself through the gift of His Spirit. Through Confirmation, a baptized person binds herself/himself uniquely to Christ and His Church. Through the gift of the Spirit, the person shares in the priesthood of Christ and becomes a witness to the essential elements of Christian community, namely, initiation and conversion, which are constantly revived through celebration of liturgy and acts of Christian service and social justice.
PASTORAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION:
WHAT THE CHURCH PRACTICES
1. As with each sacrament, any baptized Catholic, properly disposed, is admitted to Confirmation.
2. A person who comes forth for the celebration of Confirmation is presumed to be an active member of the local community (parish) through Sunday worship and the practice of a Christian life-style.
3. A person whose Christian life-style is questionable or underdeveloped must first be catechized, so that an understanding of Confirmation as a sacrament of adult commitment to the catholic Christian faith is possessed by the candidate.
4. If the candidate is a child or an adolescent, the lived-faith of the parents also is considered in determining the child’s/adolescent’s entrance into the confirmation process. It is presumed that the parents are practicing Catholics or at least willing to become so through a process of catechesis and on-going conversion to Christ and His Gospel. If the lived-faith of the parents is wanting, the Confirmation catechesis must include both child and parent.
5. Although formal instruction, regular participating in Sunday worship, and acts of Christian service and social justice are part of the catechesis for the sacrament, the working of the Spirit is never to be limited to this catechesis only.
6. It is understood that age or grade in school does not determine an individual’s readiness for Confirmation; rather these are the determining factors: one’s disposition of mind, heart and spirit; one’s determination to enter fully into the catechetical process of formal instruction, Sunday worship and apostolic works; one’s personal call by God to witness the Gospel by a decisively Catholic-Christian life-style in the world.
7. The celebration of Confirmation is always communal. It takes place within the local community (parish) and, with the exception of danger of death, is never received privately. The local-community (parish) celebrates this sacrament as the unique proclamation of itself as Catholic and apostolic. It supports the candidate for confirmation through its prayers, example and concern.
8. The local church celebrates Confirmation according to the rite of the Catholic Church as revised by the Second Vatican Council. Confirmation, seen as the Church’s public proclamation of itself as Catholic and apostolic, is a beginning. While it affirms the confirmed as a viable witness to the faith, it requires an on-going conversion of the individual through adult catechesis, celebration of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and a Christian life-style of personal/public morality and social justice.
9. A sponsor for Confirmation is required. The sponsor represents the local community (parish) as an example of adult Christian living and catholic practice of faith for the candidate. Ideally the sponsor is the baptism godparent, although another adult of either sex who is at least 16 years of age anf fully initiated into the church may be selected. It is the duty of the local Church (parish), through its pastor, to approve each sponsor. If catechesis, pertinent to the sacrament itself, is deemed necessary for the sponsor, the local community (parish) provides such catechesis (generally through its Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults/RCIA Program).
10. During the post-Confirmation period, the confirmed finds a place within the ministry of the local church (parish), especially through membership in the Parish Youth Group.
PARISH POLICIES REGARDING THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION:
WHAT ST. MARY’S CHURCH REQUIRES:
1. Every baptized person who comes forward for Confirmation at St. Mary’s will be confirmed confirmed by the Bishop upon the completion of the confirmation Preparation Program.
2. If the person coming forward is an adult or a young-adult, the catechesis for such a person normally takes place within the parish process known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
3. If the person coming forward to be confirmed is a child, the parents’ lived-faith is reviewed; and, when necessary, proper catechesis is given to the parents as well as the child-candidate. It is understood that a candidate and/or his/her parents may decide not to continue in the catechetical process and to defer reception of Confirmation to a later time. In such a case, our parish will do everything possible to assist the child and his/her parents in recognizing the call to become committed and practicing Catholic- Christians.
4. Our Parish Community’s Preparation Program is as follows:
— Confirmation is celebrated every two years.
— Regular religious education sessions begin in First Grade of a child’s life, whether the child attends our Catholic Schools (and its religion classes) or public schools (and our School of Religious Education/Formation/(CCD). All years of religious education are considered to be a sequential remote preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
— Although we speak of a two year program of immediate preparation for Confirmation, the expectation is that the student has been part of our School of Religious Education/Formation (CCD) since First Grade. However, participation in the entire tow-year preparation program is a MUST for student-candidates of Grades 6, 7, and 8.
The Immediate Preparation for Confirmation includes:
—For public school students:
Weekly sessions of religious education which includes doctrine, discussion of Christian living an morality, celebration of Eucharist at the 10:00AM Family Mass-with-Children and the sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation;
—For Catholic school students:
Religion classes at our Catholic Schools, participation of the candidates and their families in the Sunday 10:00AM Family Mass-with-Children and the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation:
—For all student-candidates:
A series of special days has been designated during which all candidates come together for an experience of Christian community through prayer, discussion and service.
5. All parents of candidates participate in a scheduled parents=meeting which is planned in such a way as to allow time for parents to renew their own Baptism-Confirmation faith, receive pertinent information concerning the sacrament and assist their child in his/her preparation.
6. A sponsor is required for each candidate. Ideally, the Baptism godparent should be the sponsor at Confirmation as this shows the continuity of the process of Christian Initiation into the Church. If this is not possible, another sponsor is selected. The sponsor is an adult of either sex and at least 16 years of age, who has been fully initiated into the church (through Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) and is an example of Christian living. If such a person is not known to the candidate, the parish provides the sponsor.
7. At St. Mary’s sponsors participate in the Confirmation Preparation Program by taking part in the Enrollment Rite as well as in the practice session for the Rite of Confirmation in the Church.
8. The Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated every two years at St. Mary’s. The Bishop confers the Sacrament within the Celebration of the Eucharist during which there is a renewal of baptismal promises. Sponsors, parents, and the parish community as a whole participate in the celebration according to the program prepared by our parish Worship Commission.
9. Our parish prepares for Confirmation in various ways:
—Prayers for the candidate are offered during the Prayer of the Faithful of the Sunday Eucharist;
—Special groups and individuals in the parish remember the candidates in prayer;
—The pastoral staff is available to the needs of the candidates.
10. All students (of both Catholic Schools and Public Schools), who have been confirmed, continue their education/formation for Catholic-Christian adulthood by participating in St. Mary’s Youth Group. Here, the fruits of a life lived by the gifts of the Spirit, bestowed in Confirmation, serve to build up our Parish Community in Christian love and service.
11. In thanksgiving, an offering on the occasion of Confirmation is forwarded to St. Mary’s for the upkeep of the Church and its charitable works.
ADULTS OR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WISHING TO BE CONFIRMED SHOULD CALL THE PASTOR AT THE RECTORY (823-4168).