Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation into the Church. Together with Baptism and Eucharist, Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. With this sacrament, we seal or ‘confirm’ the baptized in union with Christ and empower them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the church.
The Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26, 2020 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
Thank you to all families for your dedication and willingness to join your student in their journey towards Confirmation in the Catholic faith. Your students are inspired by your faith and dedication, and will mimic that into their adult lives.
At baptism our young people were welcomed into the church family. Through faith sharing and formal religious education they were given the opportunity to gain knowledge of the Catholic beliefs. The activities planned for the Confirmation program are designed to help our young people to become responsible young adult Catholics, to give them opportunities for authentic encounter with Christ, and to create a community of belonging amongst the youth in our parish. We hope that the program will be a transforming experience for them, their parents, sponsors, and our entire parish communities.
The purpose of the preparation program for the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation is to assure the readiness of the candidate. Although it is tempting to determine the readiness of a candidate for the sacrament of Confirmation by simply basing that readiness on age, or grade, or other quantifiable criteria, there are many factors that need to be included in this assessment. St. Stephen’s asks students to show their readiness to receive the sacrament of Confirmation through the areas described below.
Students will have two types of Sunday sessions that will help prepare them for the sacrament. First are Confirmation-specific preparation small groups. These will be in the structure of Gather, Proclaim, Break, and Send; which is how we organized our small groups this year. During these small groups, students will dive into Church teaching and its specific connection to the sacrament of Confirmation. These sessions will be held on the Fourth Sunday of every month, except December, from September to May. Because there are only seven sessions, students will be required to attend all seven sessions. If a student is unable to attend one of these sessions, make up work is required. This year the sessions will be September 22, October 27, November 24, January 26, February 23, March 29 (this is the Fifth Sunday of the month due to Spring Break), and April 26. All sessions will be held in the FCC from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The other type of sessions students will attend are Life Nights. Life Night is an opportunity for teens to explore their faith in exciting, relevant ways. This will be connected to the 6:00 p.m. Contemporary Praise and Worship Mass on the second Sunday of every Month, September through May. During these Life Nights, students will get to hear from nationally renowned Catholic speakers, experience new forms of worship, and grow in St. Stephen’s youth community. While these events will be open to all high school students, Confirmation students are required to attend six of the nine Life Nights. Confirmation students will be expected to attend the monthly praise and worship Mass, and classes will be encouraged to attend together. The dates of the Life Nights are September 8, October 13, November 10, December 8, January 12, February 9, March 8, April 19 (this is the Third Sunday of the month due to Easter), and May 10 from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The additional requirements for Confirmation beyond attending these two types of preparation will be to do service and attend a retreat each year of the process. Students are asked to complete ten hours of service throughout the year. We do ask that five of those hours are completed in the parish. The reason for this is two-fold. First, we want our students to recognize not only the need, but also that they can serve an important role in the parish community. During the first year, students will attend a one day, on campus retreat. This retreat will serve to introduce themes of Confirmation and create community amongst their Confirmation class. The second year retreat will be an off-site, weekend retreat. This will serve not only to further explore those themes of Confirmation, but also show to students how they can be involved and practice their faith after Confirmation. This will be a St. Stephen’s specific retreat. All St. Stephen’s students will attend together, and the retreat will be coordinated and facilitated by St. Stephen’s staff and volunteers. The reason for this change is to further community and have all students receiving the same messages throughout. If you are unable to attend the St. Stephen’s specific weekend retreat, you will have to attend a different, off-site retreat at an additional cost.
Students are encouraged to attend our Wednesday night high school Youth Group. Youth Group provides all students, grades 9-12, with the opportunity for fellowship, community, and faith development in a fun, safe setting. Youth Group nights and topics are chosen by our High School Core Team, a group of ten students of varying years. The Core Team will serve as small group and activity leaders throughout the night. Youth Group does not have a set curriculum, though we do follow the Gather, Proclaim, Break, Send model of Lifeteen and often get our lessons from them.
A concern parents always have is that there is too much change to the program. This restructuring is not a major change to how Confirmation was organized last year. Last year we had Confirmation specific classes, indicated in blue on the calendar, and faith classes, indicated in purple. The amount of time in class has not changed, nor has the amount of Confirmation and faith specific classes. I am simply making the events and expectations of these events clearer and consistent, so that there is less confusion about when classes are and better able to avoid extended breaks. In reality, requirements are decreasing in hopes of making the sacrament, and the sacramental process, more accessible to students and their busy lives.
As always, I am always willing to work with you in your family to make the program accessible and manageable. If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out by phone or email. I completely recognize and understand that our students live very busy and over-committed lives, and I am willing to work with those who work with me.
Registration is now available. This can be done online at http://ststephenchurch.org/faith-for-life/youth-programs/registration/. Faith for Life staff will be available following all Masses over the next two weekends for in-person registration as well.
Thank you for your time in this process of Confirmation, and I look forward to working with you over the next year.
For more information about the High School Confirmation program, contact Katie Kelly , or 763-712-7456.