St. Mary’s Confirmation program is designed to prepare teens to receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit with open hearts. They should approach the Sacrament with a good understanding of what it means to be a fully initiated Catholic Christian. In order to accomplish this, St. Mary’s offers a 2 year preparation program in which teens may explore, question, learn and grow in their Catholic faith.
The 9th and 10th Grade Confirmation program is composed of faith formation sessions, retreats, reconciliation and Christian service. Except in case of illness, teens are required to attend all of the faith formation sessions. Teens are expected to plan carefully for each faith formation session as these are spread out over the course of 8 months to compensate for busy schedules. We fully understand how busy family schedules are. However, our faith should never be just one more piece that we try to fit into the puzzle of our lives. Rather, our faith should be the framework into which all the other pieces of our lives are placed. When our faith is made a priority, everything else comes together.
In addition to faith formation sessions, students are required to attend 2 retreats – 1 each year as part of their 2-year Confirmation program. Both retreats are held here at St. Mary’s. Catholic school teens do not need to attend the retreat for grade 9 (though they are welcome), but the grade 10 retreat is mandatory. Please note that this is a change in policy from previous years.
Giving the gift of service to others is another important part of the preparation for Confirmation. In the words of St. James, “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24) Over the course of Year 1(gr. 9), the students will be encouraged to sign up for projects that answer our call to serve Jesus within our Church and community. Over each one-year period we ask the teens (grade 9 and 10) to participate in four different (4) Service projects. We actively encourage parents/guardians to get involved as well. Our service program would not be possible without adult support.
Grade 9 and 10 students who attend Catholic High Schools are required to participate in all the faith formation sessions and the service program (service at your school can certainly count towards Confirmation). As stated above, they must also attend the grade 10 retreat. While teens do get involved in Christian service and study religion at their schools, specific sacramental preparation is done within the parish. After the parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our teens are properly prepared for the Pentecost grace which Confirmation imparts, and to take their place as fully initiated members of the Church.
Once teens have met all program requirements as outlined above, they will be eligible to be confirmed in the spring of 10th grade. Each teen will be interviewed as to whether or not they feel God is calling them to be confirmed at that time. This is a decision that should be made both freely and prayerfully.
Finally, it should be stated that the most important form of preparing for Confirmation happens outside of our program. Specifically, candidates for the sacrament should be fostering their own daily prayer lives, and participating in the common prayer of the Church through Sunday Mass. Faithful attendance at Mass each and every Sunday is an indispensable part of our Catholic faith. It is where God speaks to us through the Scriptures and feeds us spiritually through the Eucharist. It is where we come together as God’s family, remembering the Lord’s promise that “wherever two or more gather in His name” He will be there; and fulfilling Jesus’ command at the Last Supper to “do this in memory of me.” A young person should only seriously consider committing to their Catholic faith in Confirmation, if they are already practicing that faith.
For further information or to ask questions about our program, please call Confirmation Coordinator Matthew Chick at 508-429-6076, ext. 23.