What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments. Along with Baptism and the Eucharist, it is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation of the Catholic Church. As the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples who were gathered on Pentecost, so the Holy Spirit comes to every baptized person for whom the Church requests the gift of the Holy Spirit. It secures and strengthens him to be a living witness to Christ. The particular grace of Confirmation is the gift of the Holy Spirit, given to equip the believer to continue the work of Christ in the world.
Confirmation is the Sacrament that completes Baptism; in it the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon us. Anyone who freely decides to live a life as God’s child and asks for God’s Spirit under the signs of the imposition of hands and anointing with Chrism receives the strength to witness to God’s love and might in word and deed. He/she is now a full-fledged, responsible member of the Catholic Church.
When a coach sends a soccer player onto the playing field, he puts his hand on his shoulder and gives him final instructions. We can understand Confirmation in a similar way. A hand is placed upon us. We step out onto the field of life. Through the Holy Spirit we know what we have to do and we have been given the power to do it. He has motivated us. His mission resounds in our ears. We sense his help. We will not betray his trust or disappoint him; we will win the game for him. We just have to want to do it and listen to him.
What does the Sacred Scripture say about the Sacrament of Confirmation?
The Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of the original Pentecost (Acts 2). The Jewish people from all over were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish feast. On that Sunday, ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord, the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary were gathered in the Upper Room, where they had seen Christ after His Resurrection.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. [Acts 2:2-4]
Christ had promised His Apostles that He would send His Holy Spirit, and, on Pentecost, they were granted the gifts of the Spirit. The Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all of the languages that the Jewish people who were gathered, and about 3,000 people were converted and baptized that day.
That is why Pentecost is often called "the birthday of the Church." On this day, with the descent of the Holy Spirit, Christ's mission is completed, and the New Covenant is inaugurated. It's interesting to note that St. Peter, the first pope, was already the leader and spokesman for the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday (see Acts 2:14ff).
In the Acts of the Apostles, we see Peter and John traveling about to confirm new Christians by imposing hands on those who previously ‘had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus”, so that their hearts might be filled with the Holy Spirit.
What is Oneight?
The Oneight Confirmation Series is a relevant, engaging, and relational approach to catechesis and preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. The name, Oneight (pronounced “one eight”), comes from Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” These were the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples to prepare them to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and these are the words Jesus speaks to the candidates as they prepare to receive a fuller out-pouring of the Holy Spirit at their Pentecost, Confirmation.
The goal of this new curriculum is to provide our candidates with a solid catechetical, relational, and experiential curriculum that prepares the hearts and minds of teenagers to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Oneight curriculum contains 16 sessions that have been written and developed by a team of experienced leaders in the field of youth ministry and will empower our parish to reach out to teenagers at a crucial time in their lives. Preparing teenagers for the Sacrament of Confirmation is an opportunity to remind teenagers of God’s love for them, proclaim the Truth of our Catholic faith, and draw them into a deeper relationship with Christ.
Our three year Oneight Confirmation program begins in the 7th and is designed to be completed in the 9th. The curriculum consists of 16 sessions are to be completed before the candidates is allowed to attend the final Reconciliation retreat and be presented for Confirmation. This is typically by the fall of 10th grade but may deferred until as late as the 12th grade. Over the course of our time together, you will have an opportunity to strengthen your faith by attending and participating in our liturgy, by sharing and reflecting on issues of faith during your small group sessions, and by experiencing spiritual retreats. This commitment is a holy one. We ask you to make this time in your life a priority. We understand that there are many other pressures and demands on your time and we have worked to give make this program flexible to give you options so that you can make the commitment to this program. All requirements are listed within this booklet. We pray that the Holy Spirit guide you as you embark on this aspect of your journey.
The requirements for the Oneight Confirmation program below are intended to help the Confirmation candidate properly prepare for the spiritual formation that lies ahead.
1. Oneight Nights
We will offer 2 schedule choices;
Monthly Schedule – The classes meet on Sunday’s at 4:15 before Mass. Claasses will meet at PJP School in the lower cafe . There are 4 one hour monthly classes per year for 7th and 8th grade and 4 classes for 9th grade.
TGIF Super Fridays – The classes meet on Friday evenings at 6:00p at Saint Brendan's in Father Lane's Hall. There are 2 classes per year for 7th and 8th grade and 4 classes for 9th grade.
A calendar has been included in the registration packet with the dates and times of both our Oneight nights options. Please look it over and decide which schedule will work best for you. The Confirmation Schedule Preference sheet is due no later than October 8th.
Oneight Confirmation Schedule 2013 to 2014.doc
Paper Form Confirmation Schedule Preference Sheet.doc
Online Form Confirmation Schedule Preference Sheet
2. Mass attendance is mandatory - The Church considers that a candidate for Confirmation both know and practice their faith. Therefore, all confirmation students must fully participate in the Confirmation program. This means that all students are expected to attend Sunday Mass each week as well as complete the entire program. This way all students become reasonably educated in the faith and participate in parish life. Confirmation preparation without regular Mass participation would be insincere. It’s like trying to play in the big game of the season or perform in the end-of-year concert without ever having come to practice. We would prefer that students in the Confirmation Program attend the Sunday 5:30 Mass. The music and spirit of this Mass are designed for teenagers (come with your friends and experience the power of the Eucharist). Most of our learning opportunities take place before the Sunday 5:30 pm Mass. However, we understand the need to occasionally attend another Mass time with your family during the weekend to accommodate the needs of your family, school and sports schedules. If this is the case we ask the student present a note from their parents if they are unable to attend Mass after class.
3. Absences - Candidates are expected to attend ALL Oneight Nights. Each candidate is expected to attend every Oneight night to move forward in the program and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The only valid excused absence is for a medical reason or family emergency. If an Oneight Night is missed, the candidate is responsible for contacting Paula Skalinski firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you realize there is a conflict so that you can discuss your options. In the email please include the phone number that you can most easily be reached.
4. Parish-based Service - Service to others is an important part of the faith formation process. All Confirmation candidates are required to perform a minimum of 15 hours of Parish-based service to Saint Ann parish or their home parish. In this packet you will receive a list of service opportunities available at Saint Ann’s. We ask that you choose 5 assignments from the list and turn it in on or before your first class (you may drop off at rectory (if no one is home drop in to the mail slot located on the front door). Assignment to these service assignments will be on a first-come first serve basis. If you already volunteer at another parish please let Paula Skalinski know so that you will receive credit for your service.
Confirmation Service options 2013.doc
5. Retreats - Retreats are such an important part of the Confirmation process; they are even important in life. How many times do we look forward to a vacation from school or from our everyday lives? We go to the beach, or the mountains, the Cape, Disneyland, just about anywhere to “get away” and recharge our batteries. Retreats are intended to do the same. They give people the chance to “get away” from things that prevent them from focusing on our Lord. Retreats allow candidates to go away to have fun, relax, but more importantly, to recharge the spiritual battery. When you return from retreat, you can be guaranteed that your life will be changed.
There are 2 MANDATORY retreats that you are required to attend before you are able to be Confirmed. The first in the 9th grade Confirmation retreat scheduled for March 8, 2014. The second is the 10th Reconciliation retreat. It is scheduled 2 weeks prior to Confirmation.
We hope that all candidates will be able to attend and share in this experience together as one community. We realize that sometimes, unavoidable conflicts occur. If you have a conflict that cannot be rescheduled and are unable to attend any of these retreats, it will be your responsibility to locate a parish that will take you on their Confirmation specific retreat and receive a written letter signed by their Confirmation Coordinator that you attended the retreat.
6. Parent Involvement - All students and parents new to the program are required to attend the candidates first session “Why Confirmation”. This session gives an overview of the to the preparation process for the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is the first session for the 7th grade class or any students new to the program.
This program totally relies on the volunteers to make it possible. With this in mind, we ask all parents consider taking on a volunteer role within the Oneight program. If you are interested in becoming a core team member please contact Paula Skalinski via email email@example.com .
7. Sponsors - Your sponsor serves you in three ways;
1. First, your sponsor serves as a role model for you in faith. Because of this, the Church requires that a sponsor be at least 16 years of age, be fully initiated in the Church (has received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), and be a practicing member of the Catholic Church. He or she does not have to be the same gender as you.
2. Second your sponsor is a companion on your faith journey, supporting you in prayer and in your search for the Holy Spirit. Your sponsor can best help you if he or she is someone whose Christian lifestyle you admire, someone with whom you feel comfortable, and someone who has the time and willingness to be involved with you in this process.
3. Finally you sponsor witnesses for you before the entire Church. Standing by you as you are Confirmed, he or she proclaims by that gesture that you are ready and willing to accept the responsibilities and privileges of being a fully initiated member of the Catholic community. Since Confirmation is so linked with Baptism, consider choosing one of your Godparents for your Confirmation sponsor. As with Baptism, your sponsor is someone other than your parents because he or she will assist you in your continued faith journey.
So in short your sponsor should ideally be one of your Godparents (this will complete the meaning of our baptism), lead a life in harmony with the practice of the Catholic faith, Baptized and Confirmed Catholic, be at least 16 years old and cannot be your mother or father.
Sponsors are required to attend the 9th grade the Oneight session “Called to Witness” scheduled for Nov. 17th for monthly students or February 28th for TGIF students. This Oneight session helps the candidates and their sponsors to begin the final phase of the process for the Sacrament of Confirmation together. It emphasizes the importance of the candidate and sponsor relationship. If your sponsor is unable to attend, a parent may sit in as a substitute.
8. Name - Here at Saint Ann’s we ask that you choose a name of a Saint from Sacred Scripture or our Tradition to take as part of marking this day with newness.
9. Letter to Bishop Hennessey - Bishop Hennessey would like the 10th Grade students to answer the following questions in a neatly handwritten or typed letter. The letter should be turned in no later than June 1, 2014.
v What Saint name have you chosen?
v Tell me a little about your Saint.
v Who have you chosen for your sponsor and why?