This information on St. Brendan's Confirmation Program is provided so as to inform both parents and students. It describes a two (2) year period of preparation in which all those seeking to receive confirmation must participate. This includes those students who attend Catholic high schools. It is expected that those in the preparation program will:
- attend Mass on Sundays and Holy days in accordance with our obligations as Catholics
- wisely use the Sacrament of Penance
- achieve a deeper knowledge of what Catholics believe by studying the text provided and participating in class discussions
- do twelve (12) hours of service work each year
- make a mature decision to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation
Those unwilling or unable to fulfill these requirements would do better to delay their preparation for confirmation until that time in which they are able to do what is expected.
A student starting grade nine (9) may begin confirmation preparation if he or she has attended religious education classes in the earlier grammar school years. Those who have not taken such classes may not be allowed to register in the confirmation program.
Classes begin in September for both grades nine and ten, meeting on most Sunday mornings after that 10:30 Mass, for one hour. A schedule will be given out at the beginning of the year that gives the dates and times of all classes.
The canon law of the Church requires that all confirmation candidates be "suitably instructed". This means that the person should actually have a working knowledge of what Christ's Church teaches about the gospel of Jesus and His way of life. The Archdiocese of Boston expects that there will be a substantial instructional program. St. Brendan's provides this by using texts that are difficult, but when mastered, can help the young person, even when he or she enters college life. The texts Catholicism and Reason and Catholicism and Life, anticipate the questions that all people ultimately ask about the truth of religion. They cover the doctrine of the Church on God and salvation, as well as the moral life we are to lead, and the Sacraments which aid us in living that life. The time spent in study now can help that young person to avoid many religious pitfalls in the future.
All classes are to be attended and those missed must be made up, even if missed for the reason of sickness or because of some pressing family need. Make-ups are usually done by attending special study sessions at the end of the year in preparation for the final test. Fr. Mullen will determine on a case by case basis if any exceptions are to be made to this rule. The final test must be passed in order to progress in the program and to be confirmed. The test does not examine the faith of the student, but rather that student's knowledge of what Catholics believe.
Our confirmation teachers, besides being faithful in their practice of the faith, must have the zeal necessary in order to teach the young at an age in which they often ask deep questions. It is sometimes difficult to find teachers of such caliber, but we have them here at St. Brendan's. We ask the parents to give full support to the teachers in our program.
It is expected that the students in our confirmation program will do all the assigned readings in preparation for each class, pay attention to the teachers during class, and participate in the discussions to the best of their ability. It is also expected that the students will give their confirmation teachers the respect that all young ladies and gentleman naturally give to adults who are so generous in their donation of time and wisdom to the young. Those students presenting themselves as consistent discipline problems will be told that they may leave the program and perhaps re-enter it the following year once they have matured. Irreverence in church will, of course, not be tolerated.
Aside from the usual registration fee, there are also additional fees for the yearly retreat and also for the confirmation gown that will be used when the sacrament is conferred. These fees are due within a reasonable time after they have been requested. No young person will be prevented from participating in our program because of financial hardship. Fr. Mullen will waive any fees that are an undue burden.
Confirmation candidates must complete twelve (12) hours of service work each year and then notify the coordinator of the program as to what they have done (see 'paperwork' below). This work is to be done without pay, to benefit someone in need, outside of the family. While the requirement does not have to be fulfilled through a parish activity, help with the Fall Fair, our parish Preschool, or the Vacation Bible School, and other such activities certainly do serve to help complete the requirements. Serving and lectoring at Holy Mass is a privilege that some enjoy, while fulfilling their obligation to worship God. However, these activities are not considered to be service hours. Any questions regarding what "counts" as service should be directed to the program coordinator or Fr. Mullen.
Each year the ninth and tenth grade students have a retreat day in the parish. It lasts for the entire day, from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Attendance is mandatory! Please make all the necessary arrangements with jobs, sports etc. so that candidates are available that day.
DATE OF CONFIRMATION AND FINAL MEETING
The date and time of the actual Confirmation Mass is requested by the parish, but is determined by the Archbishop of Boston. Such determination is dependent upon the availability of the auxiliary bishop to come and confirm our students. We always have Confirmation in the fall, usually in October, of the student's junior year in high school. All formal classes are completed in the freshman and sophomore years. Prior to the date of Confirmation, there will be three meetings in the fall, two of which are instructions on the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given in the sacrament, and the last of which is a practice for the Confirmation Mass. The dates for these meetings will be sent to the students during the summer preceding their confirmation.
THE CONFIRMATION MASS
It is important that we fit the confirmation candidates schedule around the date we are given for the Confirmation Mass. This helps to teach the young that religion is more important and other such things. Attire during the Confirmation Mass for both candidates and sponsors will be Sunday's best, respecting Christian modesty and Church tradition. Boys are to wear collared shirts with ties, dress pants and shoes. Please, no sneakers. Girls should wear shoes, panty hose, and dresses that (of course) are modest and dignified. Some of the confirmation candidates will be asked to read during the Mass.
It is allowed to use a baptismal name for confirmation, but it is also allowed to choose the name of another saint. Students should know what names they are going to use by the summer before their reception of the sacrament.
The sponsor has an important position in the life of the confirmation candidate. It is essential that such a person be a true example of Catholic life. It is contradictory to the entire purpose of confirmation in the Church to have a sponsor who does not attend Holy Mass, or who in some way lives contrary to what the Faith guides us to live. This is also prohibited by the law of the Church. Please do not ask someone who does not practice the Faith to be a confirmation sponsor. It is appropriate for godparents who are practicing Catholics to be confirmation sponsors.
The baptismal certificate of the young person who enters our program is due by October 15th of his or her freshman year. If the parish already has certification of the child's baptism then there is no reason to seek a new certificate. Please contact the parish office if you have any questions regarding this. Students are to write down what they did for service work for their freshman and sophomore years and submit this paper to the parish office by the end of the summer of that year. The young people are on the honor system, and so should only claim what they have actually done. Those who cannot be honest in this matter of course should not seek confirmation. Candidates for confirmation should also submit a paper with their confirmation name and the name of their confirmation sponsor by October 1st of their junior year. At the same time they must also submit a letter explaining why they want to be confirmed.
THE DECISION OF THE STUDENT
The following is a rather "sticky issue". The canon law of the Church requires that the confirmation candidate be able to "renew one's baptismal promises" in order to receive the sacrament. This points out that it is ultimately the recipient's free will decision whether to be confirmed or not. The sacrament is never to be conferred against the will of the student. Only one with a living faith who wishes to be "sealed with the Holy Spirit" can be the recipient of that gift. It should be clear therefore that while young people might rightly be "forced" by their parents to go to classes, they should not be forced to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This sacrament is ultimately about their relationship with God for which they have to take the responsibility.
DIRECTORS AND INFORMATION
For more information call Mrs. Taryne Bakalars, the coordinator of the Confirmation Program, Fr. Mullen, or Mrs. Gladys Griffin.