Perhaps your son or daughter is going to be confirmed this year, or maybe they are going to be confirmed in a few years. Our parish considers this to be a major turning point in the lives of young people, and we take care to properly train them so that when the time comes, everyone is ready for this big step.
Confirmation is a sacrament in which the Holy Spirit is given to those who are already baptized. This sacrament is meant to perfect the relationship that was established in baptism. At that moment, parents and godparents expressed the desire to have their children receive the Holy Spirit and the Catholic faith. At confirmation, the recipient himself actively expresses his desire to be an active member of the Church.
The preparation begins at baptism. It continues through the young years of the child, through the early training in the home and in religious education classes. Certainly Reconciliation and First Communion offer opportunities for the child to grow in her faith. But these commitments are decisions that are based more on a parent's wishes.
At St. John Vianney, the preparation begins in earnest in the seventh, and eighth grades. Students are asked to begin thinking about their role in the Church and their duty to those around them. They start to do service hours to help those in need. They study the scripture in depth, and they look at the lives of the saints and begin to ponder how to lead holier lives them selves. They look at their Church, their families, their friends, and their schools and talk about ways to make their connections stronger. They continue investigating different saints, seek out an other adult to sponsor them on this faith journey, and finally select a name of a saint to take for themselves on Confirmation Day. As students progress through these grades, they spend more time together in prayer and meditation. They make church visits together, plan outings and retreats, and then make final preparations for their special day by visiting with a member of the church staff about their faith and readiness to commit to a life of love and service to Jesus.
At confirmation, each recipient obtains special graces and gifts from the Holy Spirit. A new spiritual relationship is established between the recipient and Jesus. The journey that was started by the parents and godparents changes somewhat. The child has grown into an adult in the eyes of the Church. He is now recognized as a new member of the Church who has entered into the faith commitment on his own. The Bishop of our diocese is the usual administrator of the sacrament. Each candidate invites her family and friends to come and observe the transition between childhood and adulthood in our Church community.