Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dreaming about the Sacrament of Confirmation

For those of you who are in Catholic youth ministry, one of the joys (and tremendously HEAVY crosses we bear) is preparing teens to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

It's joyful because we get to encounter Christ with teens.

It's hard because, often times, this encounter is not as fruitful as WE would like.

You know what they say: If it's broke, then fix it.

There is much debate in our Church on whether or not the it (our human understanding of the purpose and value of the Sacrament itself AND the process by which the Sacrament is administered) is indeed broken.

For me, the very fact that there is disagreement on when young people should receive the Sacrament, how they should prepare to receive it, if they should receive it at all, and that they stop practicing their faith after receiving the Sacrament are all signs that it's not just broken, but REALLY broken.

If this is true, then shouldn't we consider changing? Not the bishops, not the priests, not the parents, not the teens. But those of us who Christ has called into this ministry of bringing the young church closer to Him.

How does that saying go, Be the change you want in the world?

So, Church, I need your help to dream a little bit with me.

What if the immediate preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation (particularly for those dioceses where the Sacrament is administered during high school) was a modified form of the RCIA process?

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Before making any changes to the current practice and understanding of the Sacrament of Confirmation, it might behoove us to revisit the theology of the sacrament vis-a-vie its relationship to the Sacrament of Baptism in terms of these two being elements of Initiation into the Catholic Church (Eucharist being the third and final 'step'). Bishop Aquila of Fargo, ND, recently wrote a beautiful pastor letter to his diocese that is worth reading ( In it he places Confirmation BEFORE Communion and gives concrete theological reason for this. Having made this change in his diocese, the effect, in time, will be to teach young people how to live out the graces that they have already received rather than making Confirmation akin to a religious rite of passage.