Confirmation requirement details...
Confirmation preparation is a two-year process within the high school years. Teens typically being in their Freshman year of high school, (they can begin in their sophomore or junior year as well). This two-year formation process is based on the principles set forth in the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 1997 document Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry. Our Confirmation process is not only preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, but also focuses on the importance of teens becoming active members of their Catholic Church Community.
Attendance & Participation
There are a total of 22 session per year. If you put this into perspective, this amounts to less than 2 days worth of catechesis. Thus, attendance and participation is imperative. If need be, candidates may miss a maximum of four sessions. Make-up work will be assigned and must be completed in a timely manner. Candidates are also required to attend a Youth Day, Confirmation Retreat, and Youth Masses as listed on their class calendar.
Attendance, however, is just the beginning! Candidates need to make the most of our time together by engaging and participating fully in class sessions, youth days, masses, Confirmation retreats and service projects. We are all unique individuals, and we each possess our own gifts and talents. We need to work together to establish a community in which everyone feels comfortable, encouraged, and supported enough to share his/her gifts, talents, and faith so that we all may learn from each other and grow together.
The Church teaches us that it is the responsibility of the baptized to live the Gospel in the world. Christians actively preach and spread the Gospel when they participate in both civic and parish-based activities in a manner consistent with Jesus’ example and teachings. As we believe that the sacrament of Confirmation empowers a person to live the faith in a very public way, each candidate is asked to engage in community service work. Candidates are required to complete 10 hours of community service for each year of participation in the Confirmation program here at San Rafael Parish.
Family Community Service - Parents are also invited and encouraged to take part in their child’s service projects. As part of a requirement, a parent or sponsor is asked to participate in at least one of their teen’s service hours. (This is part of, not in addition to, the total 20 hours that are already required of each candidate).
Retreats and Youth Days
In their first year of preparation, candidates are required to attend a Youth Day experience. We provide two opportunities for this: L.A. Youth Day in Anaheim and Synergy Youth Day in San Diego. Teens are not limited to one Youth Day; in fact, they are encouraged and invited to attend both Youth Days.
In their second year of preparation, candidates are required to attend a Confirmation Retreat experience. This retreat experience is mandatory! Due to the holistic nature of retreats, candidates will not be allowed to arrive late and/or leave early. If a candidate cannot attend the scheduled retreat, then he/she is responsible for finding and attending a comparable retreat experience offered by a neighboring Catholic parish. (If you need to go this route, please know that almost all parish-based Confirmation retreats take place between September and February, so don’t wait until March to try to find a retreat!). Candidates are urged to make every attempt to attend San Rafael’s Confirmation retreat; Confirmation retreats are an integral part of our Confirmation preparation program and have traditionally been very moving and fondly-remembered faith experiences for candidates. Any retreat experience outside of those offered by this program must be approved by the program coordinator prior to the candidate’s participation in the experience.
Choosing a Confirmation Sponsor
Candidates are free to choose their own Confirmation sponsors. Sponsors should:
-be a confirmed Catholic in good standing and at least 16 years of age.
-be a registered member of a Catholic parish.
-know the candidate well and be willing to serve as a Christian guide and role model for the candidate.
-together with the candidate’s parents, be willing to support the young person being confirmed in his/her commitment to living a Christian life.
-be confident enough in their own faith commitment to be able to support a young person in his/her faith commitment.
Candidates are encouraged to choose one of their baptismal godparents to be their Confirmation sponsor, emphasizing the important relationship between the two sacraments. Because it is the sponsor’s role to support both the candidate and his/her parents, parents cannot be their child’s sponsor. Candidates may only have one sponsor.
First Year Confirmation candidates need to select a sponsor no later than December 1st. Once a candidate has chosen his/her sponsor, candidates are urged to invite their sponsors to accompany them to their sessions. Sponsors are also invited and encouraged to join the candidates for the Entrance Ritual session (January of their 1st year of preparation), Covenant Ritual session (September of their 2nd year of preparation), and Confirmation rehearsal session. If a candidate’s sponsor is unable to be present at aforementioned sessions (due to illness, distance to travel, etc.), a proxy may stand in for him/her. Again, please do not hesitate to contact the program coordinator with any questions or concerns about choosing a Confirmation sponsor.
Choosing a Confirmation Name
In the Catholic Church, we have a tradition of taking the name of a saint for our own Confirmation name. The saint whose name we choose serves as an inspiration to us in living out our Christian faith. Candidates in their second year of preparation will be asked to choose a saint’s name to take as their own. Candidates may also choose their own baptismal name, reinforcing the connection between the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
A good place to start researching saints is the Catholic Online website, www.catholic.org/saints/. There you will find an alphabetical index of saints, an index of patron saints, and a calendar with saints’ feast days, among other useful tools. The program coordinator also has several resources that may aid candidates in their research; candidates are encouraged to inquire about these resources. In starting to research saints candidates may want to consider the following questions:
-How and why did your parents choose your baptismal name?
-What does your baptismal name mean?
-Are there any biblical references to your baptismal name?
-What activities, places, people, etc. interest you? Is there a patron saint associated with any of these activities, places, people, etc.?
-Which saints have their feast day on your birthday?
-Which saints inspire you? Why?
-When and where did the saint you are interested in live? When was he/she canonized? By which pope?
-How did this saint die? Was he/she persecuted and/or martyred for his/her beliefs?
-What was this saint’s occupation?
-What did this saint’s mission look like?
-What virtues did this saint practice in his/her life? Did this saint always practice these virtues? Did this saint experience a conversion?
-How would you describe this saint’s personality?
-What miracles did this saint perform?
-Are there any symbols associated with this saint? What are their meanings?
-In what ways is this saint a model for Christians today?
-How would this saint act/react if he/she were living in today’s world?