What a bizarre year! But we also can’t forget that this is such an exciting year! This final year of formation for Confirmation will be a busy one but on March 1st you will complete the commitment of your baptismal calling as Bishop Brennan celebrates the sacrament of Confirmation here at Our Lady. This is a moment your parents have been helping you prepare for since the day they brought you to the Church for Baptism. Your entire parish family now joins them in surrounding you with love, support and prayer as you prepare for this wonderful moment! We pray that this year, although different, will be filled with wonderful experiences as you journey toward a life of full participation in our Catholic faith.
Choosing a Sponsor
Part of preparation for Confirmation is selecting a sponsor. Your sponsor should be a practicing Catholic. Think of people you know who fully live out their Catholic faith, who will model the roles of priest, prophet, and king and inspire you with ways to practice these roles too. Don’t forget to consider your baptismal godparents! Because of the connection between Baptism and Confirmation, a godparent often makes a good Confirmation sponsor. Discuss your choice with your parents. They can help you decide who to ask. You might feel a little nervous when you are ready to ask someone to be your Confirmation sponsor. Remember that this person will most likely feel flattered and honored to be asked. Choosing a sponsor whose witness is empowered by the Spirit is an important part of Confirmation preparation.
The guidelines for sponsors are outlined in the Code of Canon Law, Canons 892 and 893. They are:
- A sponsor sees that the person to be confirmed acts as a true witness to Christ, faithfully fulfilling the obligations connected with Confirmation.
- A Confirmation sponsor is preferably one of the baptismal sponsors.
- A sponsor should be at least 16 years of age and a confirmed Catholic who has received Eucharist and who leads a faith-filled life.
- Parents may not be sponsors.
As you begin to think about who to ask, you will want to consider these questions:
- Who do you respect and trust?
- Who do you think could help you as you prepare for Confirmation?
- Who do you think could help you as you continue to grow as a Catholic after your Confirmation?
Once you have a sponsor, please have them complete the Confirmation Sponsor form here by December 13, 2020.
Choosing Your Confirmation Name
Your name gives you an identity; it tells others who you are. When you were born and baptized, your parents chose your baptismal name – your first and middle names. If you do not know why your parents chose your name, ask them – there is probably a story!
The tradition of taking on a new name to show a new role can be traced back to the Old Testament. When Abram was called to lead his people to believe in the one God, his name was changed from Abram, meaning “father of many” to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations.” This continues in the New Testament when Simon’s name was changed to Peter, meaning “rock” because he was to become the rock upon which Jesus founded His Church.
Now that you are about to begin your own new role through the sacrament of Confirmation, it is time for YOU to choose the name you will take as a sign of your growth in faith. You could focus on the link with your Baptism by using your baptismal name for your Confirmation or you could choose a different name that reflects the person you’d like to become. Talk to family, friends, your sponsor, and everyone about how they chose their Confirmation name. Do research online following the links below. In the process, you will learn more about biblical heroes and saints: people who lived the Catholic faith fully, whose lives gave a prophetic witness to the truth. This could be a saint’s name or the name of a model Christian person whom you admire – a grandparent, family friend, etc.
Your Confirmation name should reflect your new role as a mature Christian. Perhaps you would like to take the name of a person whom you admire. Many Confirmation candidates, recognizing the growing bond of love with their family and take a parent or grandparent’s name. Please remember that your confirmation name must be a Saint’s name, a variation of that name or a Holy name. In addition, you can only choose one name.
Here are a few good web sites for browsing when choosing your Confirmation name:
Catholic On-Line: https://www.catholic.org/saints/
Catholic Information Online: http://www.cin.org/saintlink.html
RCL Benzinger: http://saintsresource.com/saints-index-alphabetical
Sisters of Carmel Patron Saint Index: https://www.sistersofcarmel.com/catholic-patron-saint-index/
Remember, in choosing a saint:
- Choose a saint that you want to be like. Maybe he or she had the same struggles as you and had a way of working with these struggles that you admire.
- You may want to ask your parents which saint you were named after and look up that saint. See if your life reflects his or her life.
- Saints were ordinary people who strove to do God’s will. A TV interviewer questioned Mother Theresa: “What are you trying to do, become a saint?” She responded, “Yes. Shouldn’t we all strive for that?”
- Prayerfully choose your saint. Ask God to help you in making your choice.
Confirmation names must be chosen and submitted online here by December 13, 2020 or before.
Works of Mercy
This year is different in so many ways. This year we will be providing service opportunities for you to complete as a family.
During the pandemic, many of our usual opportunities to complete Works of Mercy are not possible. However, this model of service is such an important part of your formation for Confirmation, so Madison has put together some wonderful ideas and resources for you and your family to participate in some works of mercy during these difficult times. Each month she will be sending out information on a Family Night of Mercy. We know that in the teachings of Jesus he gave us this model of service. In the Gospel of Matthew we hear Jesus leading us to these works of mercy:
“…For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me…”
– Matthew 25: 31-46
We know that Christ calls each of us to serve others out of mercy. Our mercy is the loving compassion that the show toward our neighbors. It is by our faith and our actions that we may inherit the Kingdom of God. It is through these deeds, our service, that we show the love of Christ to others here on earth. This is an opportunity to use our gifts, talents and treasures to serve the Body of Christ. What a beautiful and unique opportunity!
Here is what a typical Family Night of Mercy will look like:
Work of Mercy: FEEDING THE HUNGRY
Please choose from one of the two options or do both if the Spirit moves you! Also, could you and your family come up with another idea for completing this Work of Mercy either at home or in the community? Share your ideas! Options for completing this Work of Mercy:
- IN OUR COMMUNITY
Donate food to a local food pantry and pray with your family for those in our community who are hungry.
- IN YOUR HOME
With the support of your parents, plan and make dinner for your family. Eat together and pray for those who don’t have the gifts that you do on your table.
I’m Please note: Once you complete one of these, we ask you to share them with us! Then we will share with our parish! Tell us what you did and how you felt! As you learn more about each of the Works of Mercy, we will give you some ideas of how to complete each either within your own family or together as a family outside your home. Due the pandemic, these will not be recorded and required this year, however, we urge you and your family to spend time learning more about the Works of Mercy and why we should all practice them.
Important Dates to Remember
- Confirmation Sponsor form due: December 13, 2020
- Confirmation Name form due: December 13, 2020
- Possible Confirmation Retreat at OLPH: Still to be determined
- Confirmation Practice: Saturday, February 27, 2021, 9:00 am
- Celebration of the Rite of Confirmation: Monday, March 1, 2021, 6:00 pm
If you have further questions, please contact Julie Dilley, Director of Religious Education, or Madison Stewart, Life Teen and Edge Coordinator.