The Sacrament of CONFIRMATION PREPARATION HANDBOOK

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1 Confirmation is the Sacrament that calls recipients to witness courageously the gift of faith by word and, especially by the example of their lives. ~Friar Jim Van Vurst, O.F.M The Sacrament of CONFIRMATION PREPARATION HANDBOOK Dear Young People, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things! - Pope Francis How beautiful it would be if each of you every evening could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful -Pope Francis to Confirmation Candidates, 2013 Our program and total ministry to youth seeks to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community. ~ Renewing the Vision; NFCYM Church of the Presentation 271 W. Saddle River Rd. Upper Saddle River, NJ churchofthepresentation 16 1

2 CONFIRMATION CONTACT INFORMATION Julie Boccabella Pastoral Associate for Youth Ministry ext. 819 Catzel L. Bumpus Pastoral Associate for Youth & Young Adult Ministry High School Code of Conduct I understand I will use language, gestures, and behaviors appropriate to Church of the Presentation events. I agree to respect the other individuals who attend Church of the Presentation s events. This includes my peers, the adult volunteers, and the staff. I agree to participate fully in both small and large group activities. I understand that I am welcome to bring a guest to any Church of the Presentation activity and that I am responsible for any guests that I bring. I understand that I am responsible for the cleanliness of all facilities and will clean up my own mess. I agree to not have my cell phone out at any event unless asked to do so. It is a distraction to you and to those in charge of the event. I understand that I may be asked to pay for damages to the facility caused by my inappropriate behavior. I understand that I am responsible for reporting any of the above situations caused by others or myself to the adults in charge. I understand that I must arrange a ride to and from all Church of the Presentation activities and will be picked up at designated end times. I understand that once I have my driver s license, I am permitted to drive to Church of the Presentation. I agree that I will drive in a responsible and safe manner. I understand that there may be specific rules and regulations based on the individual activity and I agree to abide by those rules. These may be in written form or may be verbalized by the adults in charge. I understand that if I do not follow the Code of Conduct, the consequences will be at the discretion of the parish and those running a particular event

3 SERVICE PROJECT REFLECTION ESSAY: After the Service experience, Candidates are asked to write at least a one full page reflection essay on this experience. The confirming Bishop reads these reflections before the celebration of the Sacrament. The Service Reflection component will be included in the fourth Candidate/Sponsor Learning Session. All of the topics listed below should be covered at some point in paragraph format in the reflection essay. You may address the topics in any order you desire and there is no need to type the questions themselves. Papers should be one page, double-spaced and typed using 12- point text. QUESTIONS FOR ESSAY: 1) What were your initial reactions as you went to the Soup Kitchen? 2) What has been your prior experience of the poor? 3) How did you feel during and after this experience? What did you experience? What did you learn about yourself? About others? About our pre-conceived stereotypes of the poor? 4) Why was it so important to Jesus to live among and serve the poor? Why should it be important to you? 5) What did you learn about the Christian way of life and how we are called to live? 6) Would you do this again? Why or why not? What else would you like to do in the way of service? 7) How can you make service more a part of your everyday life? How can you live more like Jesus, not just now, but always? Welcome to the Confirmation Preparation Process! We are so glad that you are taking the time to consider your full initiation into the Roman Catholic Church! We believe that you are a significant part of our parish family and have been given special gifts by God for the benefit of our Church community! We hope that everything you experience within our preparation process helps to nurture and support you in your faith. We see this as a very important step for you in your faith journey! Committing yourself to our Christian community comes with much responsibility and we hope that you see the value of this commitment. We pray that you enter into the process openly and freely so that the Spirit may move through it and you! Church of the Presentation continues to work very hard to provide the best faith formation for the families of our parish. Continuing in this tradition, we believe that we offer an approach to Confirmation that best addresses our Archdiocesan Confirmation requirements, while offering a great sense of learning and growing in faith, as well as getting to know and serving our community. Welcome to this process, and may God bless you! The entire Staff of Church of the Presentation 14 3

4 CONFIRMATION A Sacramental Call to Mission When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire, which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. ~ Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4 Through faith enrichment, faith sharing, community worship, and service ministry, our Confirmation Process strives to open the minds and hearts of our young parishioners to the power of the Holy Spirit that is gifted through the laying on of hands and the anointing of Sacred Chrism in the Sacrament of Confirmation. During their preparation and discernment they are invited to learn new languages, that is, to grow in how they express their faith as they mature as young adults. They are called to grow in a deeper relationship with Christ, through the Church, and to live out that relationship in the decisions they make in their moral, social, and faith lives. As members of the parish community, it is our hope that these young men and women will grow in their willingness to witness to others their faith in Jesus through acts of social justice, compassion, and overall willingness to serve where it is needed. In openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the Sacrament of Confirmation, our young women and men are invited to take their place in the community of the Church and live out the hope of God as expressed through the words of the Prophet Micah: The Lord has told us what is good. The Lord requires of us this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God. Micah 6:8 CONFIRMATION NAME AND SPONSOR: CONFIRMATION NAME: In the Bible when someone's name changed (e.g. Simon to Peter) it meant that the person was so transformed by their decision to follow Jesus that even their identity changed. For this reason, it has been part of the Sacrament of Confirmation that the candidate choose a Confirmation Name. If a Candidate would like to choose a name, they should choose the name of a Saint who has particular meaning to them. However, since Confirmation is also a re-affirmation of the person s baptism, today s Candidates are also encouraged to re-confirm the name their parents have given them in Baptism signifying the completion of the Candidate s initiation into the Catholic Community. Either decision is totally acceptable. **Candidates will be asked to write an essay on their chosen Confirmation name and Saint. CONFIRMATION SPONSOR: The Sponsor is someone the Candidate chooses preferably because he/she has been a positive role model as a Catholic and models Jesus for them. Ideally, it could be the Candidates Godparent. The Sponsor must be a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church, at least 16 years of age, and may NOT be the parent of the Candidate. The Sponsor plays an integral role in Presentation s preparation process. Sponsors should be able to attend all four Candidate/Sponsor Faith Sharing Sessions. If the Sponsor cannot attend, a parent can act as a substitute. Additionally, when selecting a Sponsor, the following should be considered: Is this person A model of how a person of faith lives in today s world? A friend or relative who knows the candidate and can be a witness to the maturing faith of the Candidate before the community? A guide, a confidant, and a listener? A learner who is interested in personal growth as she or he walks the faith journey with the Candidate? One who will continue after Confirmation to walk the faith journey with the Candidate and invite her or him into fuller participation in the parish life and service? 4 13

5 THE PREPARATION PROCESS ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARENTS: The primary religious educators of their children Initiating their children into sacramental life Serving as role models of Gospel values for their children Worshipping with their families at Sunday liturgy Nurturing their child in faith Encouraging their child to reflect on and thoughtfully consider the decision to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation Opening up family discussions about what their child is learning in the process Volunteering their time to help with the retreat process Praying for and with their children as they walk this journey Loving and supporting them in their decision to grow in their faith ROLE OF THE CANDIDATES PREPARING FOR CONFIRMATION: Freely choosing to be confirmed and make their desire known Continually enriching their knowledge of the Catholic faith Practicing their faith and developing their prayer life Attending and participating in Sunday liturgy, especially those after faith sharing sessions with their Sponsor. Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly to aid in continuing to open your heart to God s grace Committing to continuing the faithful practice and study of religion after making the Sacrament of Confirmation Committing to continuing your participation as a fully initiated member of the parish community by getting involved in its ministries Participating fully and complete all aspects of the Confirmation process including faith sharing sessions, service, retreat, and Youth Ministry gatherings. Confirmation, like the other Sacraments of Initiation, marks the beginning of a journey toward deeper knowledge of God. It is about moving forward in a life-long journey of faith. It is about growing and developing. Candidates for Confirmation are claiming their heritage, reaffirming their active membership in the Church and saying I do to their Baptismal Promises, and are beginning to bear greater witness to their faith! In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we believe that there is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit that strengthens one s relationship with God; that it unites us more fully with Jesus Christ, that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit increase in us, that our connection with the Church grows stronger, and that the Holy Spirit strengthens us to give witness to the Christian way of life in all that we say and do. In our program, we hope to immerse our Candidates in the Christian way of life. Through deliberate learning and formational sessions with their sponsors, retreats, prayer, service learning, and Reconciliation, and purposeful conversation, we hope to ground out Candidates in deep relationship with Jesus Christ and in a commitment to join with other believers in following His way, the Gospel. In this process, we promise to help you develop a closer relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We promise to help you become more aware of and familiar with the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. We hope you gain a better sense of your belonging to the Church, and that you grow in your understanding of and desire to serve others. 12 5

6 Requirements for Acceptance into our YEAR 2 Confirmation Process In order to be accepted into Year 2 of our Confirmation process, each Candidate must meet the following criteria: Is a Registered Parishioner of Presentation: The Candidate s family must be registered parishioners of the parish in order to enter the program. If you need to register, please see Julie or Maureen. Be at least a Sophomore in High School: Each Candidate must be a minimum of a sophomore in high school. An exception is made if a prospective Candidate was retained a year in the public or private education system, yet continued ahead in a religious education program. Has Completed the Proper Religious Education: Each Candidate must have completed religious education through 8 th grade in a Catholic religious education &/or family faith formation program or parochial school and participated in Youth Ministry in her/his freshman year of high school. Candidates who have not completed such and wish to enter the process must speak to the Confirmation Coordinator before registering. A make-up program may be necessary. Exhibit Signs of Readiness: Candidates should exhibit the signs of readiness for entry into the program as well as a sincere desire for the Sacrament of Confirmation. The registration materials include a handout which will help the Candidate and Parents discern their desire, readiness and areas of spiritual concern and interest. (4) Retreat (choose one of the following three options): Freshman/Sophomore Retreat (In Kearny at the Archdiocesan Youth Center) - November 13-15, 2015 Antioch Retreat Weekend (At Presentation/ Teens Sleep in Host Homes) - February 26 February 28, 2016 *Please Note: A separate Retreat application/ Permission Form is REQUIRED and will be available for the Candidate to pick up from the Youth Ministry Office or download from our website approximately two months prior to the retreat. There is a fee for each retreat weekend. (5) Four Youth Ministry Sunday Evening Gatherings (7:30-9:15pm) You can come to any four (4) of the following gatherings: Sept. 13, Sept. 20, Oct. 11, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 8, Nov. 29 (Freshman/Sophomore Reunion) Dec. 13, Jan. 10, Jan. 24, Feb. 14, March 13 (Antioch Reunion), April 3, April 17, May 1 (Of course, you are welcome to come to them all! Don t forget to sign in every time you come!!) (Of course, you are welcome to come to every meeting! Don t forget to sign in every time you come!!) (6) Reconciliation (choose one of the following two options): All Day Reconciliation Service Sat., March 12, 2016 (9:30-5pm) (7) Group Interview Lent Pardon & Peace Tues., March 22, 2016 at 7:00pm All Candidates must attend a final Interview session. Dates will be announced at the third session and will be sent out by . The interviews only take approximately 15 minutes. 6 11

7 Attendance Selection Form- Family Copy The following program requirements must be met: 1. Mass Participation 2. Intake Interview 3. Fall or Spring Series of Four Faith Sharing Sessions attended by Candidate & Sponsor 4. Service Project & Essay 5. Retreat Weekend 6. Youth Ministry Sunday Gatherings 7. Reconciliation 8. Group Interview (1) Intake Interview: Once your paperwork is received, Julie will contact you to schedule an Intake Interview. The Candidate (with one parent) must meet Julie in order to be accepted into the program. Interviews should take minutes. All Intake Interviews must be completed by August 31, (2) Candidate & Sponsor Faith Sharing Sessions Choose EITHER FALL or SPRING SERIES (all on Sunday from 4:30-7:30pm - includes Mass - must attend): FALL 2015 OR SPRING 2016 Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 8, Dec. 6* Jan. 10, Feb 14, Mar. 13, April 3* (3) Service Project & Essay: All candidates are required to join our Soup Kitchen Team and go to one of the Soup Kitchens where we serve either Harlem on Sundays or Newark on Mondays (during the summer). Our Teams can bring 3 candidates each week. Please call or Julie to set up a date. *Candidates registered for the Fall 2015 Series must complete their Service project prior to December 6, and must bring their completed Service Project Essay to the December 6 Session. Registration Process The Sacrament of Confirmation is scheduled in May 2016, and is subject to the Bishop s schedule. As soon as we know the date, we will notify all Candidates. Registration Deadline: We will begin accepting Registrations on Wednesday, June 18, The deadline is no later than August 31, Please note: The Fall Series of Learning Sessions fills up very quickly. Paperwork Required: In order for the registration to be considered complete, ALL of the following forms (provided at Orientation Meetings) must be received by the Confirmation Coordinator: Registration Form Attendance Selection Form Candidate Discernment Form Service Project Permission Form Sponsor Selection Form Photo Release Form In addition, the following will be required of the Candidate: Essay by the Candidate written after the Service Project. Essay about his or her Confirmation Name Copy of the Candidate s Baptismal Certificate. *Candidates registered for the Spring 2016 Series must complete their Service Project prior to April 3, 2016 and must bring their completed Service Project Essay to the April 3 session. 10 7

8 Attendance and Process Requirements The copy of the Attendance Selection Form on the next page is intended for your reference at home and lists the attendance requirements for Confirmation preparation. It is a duplicate of the selection sheet you will hand in. Please keep this for your reference. The process consists of the following: (1) Mass Participation (2) Intake Interview after handing in Registration Forms (3) Candidate/Sponsor Faith Sharing Session Series (4) Soup Kitchen Service Project & Essay (5) Retreat Weekend (6) Youth Ministry Sunday Gatherings (7) Reconciliation (8) Group Culminating Interview All attendance and process requirements must be completed in order for the Candidate to be properly prepared to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. If, for whatever reason, the family has difficulty with the completion of the requirements, Julie should be made aware of the circumstances as soon as possible in order to best meet the family s needs, as well as the preparation requirements. In some cases, the Candidate may need to wait until the following year to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. Attendance Policy The attendance requirements have been developed according to Archdiocesan guidelines and must be met in order for the Candidate to be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. Therefore, attendance will be taken at ALL events. Partial attendance will be considered non-attendance. Candidates are expected to be at all required sessions and events unless illness or a family emergency arises. Sports events/ practices, trips, weekends away, and homework are not acceptable excuses for being absent. If a Candidate is going to be absent, it is the Candidate s responsibility to contact, by telephone or , the Confirmation Coordinator with the reason for the absence. Each case will be handled individually. The Candidate will need a Sponsor for participation in each of the Candidate/Sponsor Faith Sharing Sessions. If the Sponsor cannot attend a Session, a parent must attend the Session with the Candidate. Please consider this when choosing a Sponsor so as to choose someone that can be present for these sessions. It is at the discretion of the parish to determine whether a makeup session or event can be scheduled. Each family s situation will be considered on an individual basis. If it is determined that the requisite commitment to the preparation process is not evident due to the nature and frequency of missed sessions &/or events, the Candidate may need to wait until the following year to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. Cost of Confirmation Families will often ask about the cost of Confirmation. There is no cost per se but there will be a collection at the Confirmation Celebration to help offset the administrative costs of the program. This will be the family s opportunity to financially support the program. 8 9

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