By FATHER JIM
Those among us of a certain vintage recall making the Sacrament of Confirmation probably at the tender age of 8 or 12.
Learning to sing “Tantum Ergo” and lining up for the procession and finding out what the bishop’s gentle slap on the face was to signify the sometimes hardships following Christ – this was the preparation for Confirmation.
Recently, our parish celebrated the confirming of 17 young people, gifted and a much-appreciated group within the larger assembly.
Confirmation always was a fortunate time to celebrate and highlight the gift of the Holy Spirit. But like with any other gift – birthday, Christmas, anniversary – a gift needs to be unwrapped and opened to be enjoyed and cherished.
Any gift is a two-way street. The gifts of wisdom, fortitude, devotion or courage would remain just an empty thing if not received and opened by the one for whom the gift is intended.
Some of those wonderful young people choose to make their Confirmation experience a moment to “grow up” as Catholic friends of Jesus and walk in our Catholic way. Others, sadly, feel it is a time to “graduate” from being a church-going, active part of the faith community. They become absent on weekends.
Those confirmed – supported, reinforced in this powerful sacramental experience – hold so much potential for any parish household with their youth and energy, ideas and talents. Confirmation sponsors, parents, guardians and grandparents have so much influence with these young Catholics because of their love and concern and friendship for them. Their gentle encouragement of the faith and invitation to weekend worship can work wonders. The good example of living and walking and practicing our faith is so much more valuable even than a nice gift of a wristwatch for Confirmation.
Congratulations to those who in the last few years have been confirmed in this parish setting, May the good blessings and graces that began in their baptism grow stronger and livelier as they continue to mature and journey along the path of their awesome lives.