About the program
This year, due to COVID-19, our Confirmation Program will take place primarily online. Throughout the year, each candidate will take part in seven virtual discussion sessions via Zoom with their class and catechist. Between these sessions, they will review material (text and video content) from their Chosen textbook and submit a brief reflection activity. See the description below for full detail about this format.
The sacrament of Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of Christian initiation, together with Baptism and the Eucharist. One is confirmed after a long period of reflection, fellowship, and formation, which at our parish extends over two years. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we as Catholics believe, the one confirmed is rooted more deeply in an awareness of being a child of God the Father, united more closely with Jesus Christ and his Church, and granted more fully what we call the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, discernment, courage, knowledge, reverence, and wonder.
Confirmation is sometimes called “the sacrament of Christian maturity.” Through it, candidates are prepared to be full, adult members of our Catholic Christian community and participate fully in the life of the Church. As the Catechism states, Confirmation also strengthens the one confirmed to share his or her faith openly with others, to stand by it and defend it, and never to feel ashamed of it, even if this means swimming against the currents of the time.
Structure of the program
> Virtual sessions
Candidates will attend seven one-hour virtual sessions via Zoom during the year. These will be offered on Sundays from either 4-5pm or from 7-8pm (both Grades 9 and 10 classes will be offered at both times). These sessions will focus entirely on discussion: exploring and grappling with the material candidates have studied at home.
> Study at home
Each candidate will receive (or has received already) a textbook from our Chosen series. This year, they will keep that book at home. After the first, introductory virtual session, candidates will review the first two assigned lessons for the year before the next virtual session. Also, they will submit a brief reflection to help them engage with the material. A Google Form will be made available for candidates to submit these reflections. Candidates will also study and reflect on the materials in the Confirmation Study Guide, available as a PDF at the top of this page.
> Entrance & Exit Interviews
These interviews will be held in person as they were last year, roughly in November and January/February. Social distancing will be practiced.
Near the start of Grade 9, candidates attend an entrance interview with a leader in our parish: Deacon Bill Dziatko, Deacon Steve Weaver, or Dr. Jon Sozek. Each interview includes around five candidates. We ask that one parent or guardian accompany each candidate. The leader will review the expectations and aims of the Confirmation Program and review the Confirmation Study Guide. Families will be able to sign up for an interview time through a form on our parish website. Please refer to your program calendar and additional details will be provided by email.
Near the end of Grade 10, candidates attend an exit interview with a parish leader. Here, the meeting will include only the candidate and the parish leader. We will talk about the candidate’s experience in the program — their sponsor, the patron saint they’ve chosen, and the service work they’ve done — and assess their knowledge of the material presented in the Confirmation Study Guide. Please refer to your program calendar and additional details will be provided by email.
> Service requirement
We will determine the extent to which service hours can be scheduled and/or required in consultation with the Archdiocese of Hartford and according to public health guidelines. At present, all service opportunities are suspended. We will provide further details as soon as possible.
> Saint Essay and Sponsor Essay
In their first year of the program (Grade 9), candidates will complete what we call the Saint Essay and Sponsor Essay. Detailed instructions for these assignments will be provided in class. In the Saint Essay, candidates identify a saint — a person canonized by the Catholic Church — who will be their Confirmation patron and whose name they will adopt as their Confirmation name. For the Sponsor Essay, candidates will choose a Sponsor (see below for criteria) and interview that person. In the Essay, they will describe that interview and explain why they have chosen that person to be their sponsor. For more on Confirmation sponsors, please see below.
We hope to hold our Confirmation Retreat as usual, in person, in the spring semester. As that date approaches, we will determine according to public health guidelines whether that will be possible.
A beautiful part of Confirmation is that each candidate selects a person to be his or her sponsor. Ideally this is someone the candidate is comfortable with and with whom he or she can talk about the life of faith, both during the preparation process and in years to come. Sponsors are invited and encouraged to take part in any activity in the Confirmation program, though we know that many are from out of town and may be unable to do so. The only time when a candidate’s Sponsor is required to be at the parish is at the Confirmation ceremony itself. A Sponsor must meet several criteria, according to Canon Law:
- he or she cannot be the candidate’s parent,
- must be at least sixteen years of age,
- must have received Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation
- must be a member of a parish and attend Mass regularly
- if he or she is married, his or her marriage must be recognized by the Catholic Church
The Archdiocese requires that what is called a Sponsor Certificate Form be submitted for each candidate. This is a solemn affirmation — signed by the Sponsor — that the Sponsor meets these criteria. Sponsor Certificate Forms will be provided to candidates in class and are available on our website. Candidates should make sure their Sponsor gets the form and completes it. Sponsors may download the form from our website, then print, sign, and mail it to us. Forms are valid for one year and may be used for only one candidate. They are submitted in a candidate’s second year.
We will determine according to public health guidelines if an when this year’s ceremony can be held, and if so, what kind of social distancing will be needed. We are, of course, very keen to celebrate this beautiful sacrament! We will be in contact with all the families of our candidates as soon as things become clear.