A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

More Than a Rite of Passage

Posted on: November 14, 2013

From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:

  • it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which make us cry ‘Abba! Father!’;
  • it unites us more firmly to Christ;
  • it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
  • it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
  • it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith . . . .

– s. 1303 of the Catechism

Tuesday night found my son and I at our parish church. He made the decision to receive the sacrament of confirmation in the spring, and we were attending an information session explaining the registration and preparation processes.

I was happy to see the church full of young people considering confirmation—at an age when many young people stop attending church—and their families. And the church hall was busy afterwards as they enjoyed some baked treats and conversation.

During the information session, our priest stressed the importance of bringing our youth to Mass and involving them in the life of the Church, as well as the fact that confirmation is more than a rite of passage.

Doesn’t that go without saying?

Sadly, I don’t think so. Today many people state in polls and on censuses that they consider themselves Christians but don’t attend church. If we want our children and youth to consider the sacraments as something more than a rite of passage, they need to see the importance we place on receiving them.

That means they need to attend Mass to witness the baptism of infants and young children, confirmation of RCIA candidates, and First Eucharist celebrations and to receive the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation. They need to see our reverent attitude toward these sacraments and our joy in receiving them.

As our youth prepare for confirmation, we have a wonderful opportunity to share and grow in our own faith with them:

  • We can talk about our faith journey and our decision to declare our own faith in God, beyond the promises our parents and godparents made on our behalf at baptism.
  • Along with our priests, deacons and catechists, we can model for youth how to live out the faith and participate in the life and work of the Church.
  • As they go about selecting a confirmation name, we can also introduce them to other role models in the saints and blesseds.

And other parishioners can also support these young people on their confirmation journey by praying for them and by serving as a candidate’s sponsor if asked, recognizing the challenge of choosing a sponsor faced by those who are the only Catholics or the only practising Catholics in their extended family (a challenge for us as converts) or who are new to the area or even the country.

May we pray for those preparing for confirmation and the “increase and deepening of baptismal grace” awaiting them.


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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