RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT

“I wish not merely to be called Christian, but also to be Christian.”
— St. Ignatius of Antioch

Year 1

Small Group Confirmation (Biweekly, Sunday afternoon, September to May)

In the first year of Confirmation preparation, we invite students to a small group where they learn to begin to share their faith and to learn more about it before receiving their Confirmation.

Year 2

September to May

In the second year of Confirmation preparation, we invite our students to take what they have learned and put it into practice through being active in the high school youth ministry program. This will prepare them to become lifelong learners in the faith. The Confirmation Ceremony, which follows, will be determined at that time.

The Need For Confirmation

As Catholic Christians, we are born spiritually in the sacrament of Baptism. At that time, we become sharers in the divine life of the most Blessed Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We begin to live a supernatural life even as infants. As we mature, we practice the virtues of faith and hope and love and as we unite with Christ in the Church in offering worship to God, we also grow in grace and goodness.

Some believe that at this early stage, our spiritual life, like the life of a child, is largely self-centered. We tend to be preoccupied with the needs of our own soul, and with the effort to be good. In general, our religious life revolves around self.

At Confirmation, we receive a special grace by which our faith is deepened and strengthened, so that it will be strong enough not only for our own needs but for the needs of others with whom we shall try to share it. With the onset of adolescence a child begins to assume, progressively more and more, the responsibilities of adulthood. S/he begins to see his/her place in the total family picture and in the community at large.

Similarly, the confirmed Christian begins to see more clearly (or ought to) his/her responsibility to Christ for his/her neighbor. S/he becomes deeply concerned (or ought to) with the welfare of Christ-in-the-world — which is the Church — and the welfare of Christ-in-his-neighbor. It is in this sense that Confirmation is a spiritual growing up.

The effects of Confirmation

The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Its effects are to:

  • Root us more deeply in divine filiation (being children of God);
  • Unites us more firmly to Christ;
  • Increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
  • Strengthens our bond with the Church;
  • Associates us more closely to her mission of bearing witness to Christ;
  • Helps us and more strictly obliges us to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.

A generation ago, we said that confirmed Catholics were soldiers of Christ. This indicates Confirmation’s effects: it configures us for a full and active mission of service to Christ.

The Confirmation Program at St Teresa of Avila

For details of the program please visit the Faith Formation page.

Additional Confirmation Information

In other parishes in the nearby area, Confirmation preparation is a one year program, but our parish is now moving it to become a two year program. In my experience, many of our young people are less than engaged and are really not into the sacrament or its preparation requirements when it is a one year program. In fact, believe it or not, after the reception of the sacrament most students stop attending Church altogether. This sadly, is not just my experience, but a national phenomenon. Dynamic Catholic has found 85% of Catholic youth cease to practice Catholicism within 10 years after confirmation. That is an alarming statistic and something needs to change to reverse this trend.

One year programs tend to focus too much on the learning about Confirmation, rather than putting what that means into action. Now our candidates still need to know the faith but the aspect that is missing is the active part where that is put into practice by continuing to worship, to connect with their peers and their faith, serve the needy and the community, and give of their talents to better the world. That is what Confirmation is all about and to prepare them, our program needs to teach them how to live it out, and not just the history or the theology about it.

Best practices in Catholic parishes of the United States suggest that the administration of Confirmation be moved to high school and that it be joined to comprehensive and dynamic youth ministry programs. Consequently, beginning Fall 2018 here at St Teresa of Avila Church, we will make that change. Our Confirmation program is designed to be completed in two years: the first is the intellectual formation year in 8th grade, and the 2nd is the experiential year in 9th grade. High school students wishing to receive Confirmation are invited to participate in Youth Ministry, which is open to all high school students and specifically those high school students who wish to receive Confirmation.

In the context of a comprehensive youth ministry program, candidates for Confirmation receive special attention and mentoring, and share in a whole series of talks, movies, service projects, and fun times, in order to ensure that he or she is ready to receive the Holy Spirit and grow in understanding of his or her role in the community of the Church. While the program is designed to be completed within 9th grade, students may elect to take the duration of their high school years to complete the requirements for the reception of Confirmation.