CONFIRMATION: Teens receive Holy Spirit’s special gifts

By ANNE ELACQUA

Confirmation is a step toward a deeper knowledge and appreciation of Jesus Christ and the Church. It also is the final step of initiation into full membership in the Catholic Church.

It does not mean, however, graduation from church.

The Sacrament of Confirmation in our parish is celebrated in the spring during 10th grade. This year it is Wednesday, May 19, with Bishop Douglas Lucia.

It is a two-year program that begins in the ninth grade. Although COVID has made it a bit tricky since March 2020, we have made sure that our students are receiving the information that they need to learn about and understand this beautiful sacrament.

In Confirmation, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit — permanent dispositions that help us to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. With these gifts we can live lives guided by the Spirit and, in doing so, to build the Church.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are:

  • Wisdom: Helps us to seek and know the truth as God sees it.
  • Understanding: Helps us to open our minds and hearts to others so we can identify with their feelings and see life from their point of view.
  • Right judgment, or counsel: Gives us the important ability to judge between good and evil, to live according to God’s ways.
  • Courage: Gives us the inner strength, or fortitude, to stand up for what we believe in through the gift of our faith, and to put our beliefs into action.
  • Knowledge: Gives us the opportunity to reflect on the life of the Trinity and the oneness of God’s being in three interrelated, equal Divine Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We seek to know God as any human being knows his or her parents.
  • Reverence, or piety: Helps us to worship God, especially by participating fully in the liturgical life of the Church. This gift also helps us to have an active personal prayer life and to respect others.
  • Wonder and awe in God’s presence: Allows us to recognize all of life and creation as a gift from God. This gift helps us continue to work to improve our relationship with God and to respond to the needs of others.

When we cooperate with the graces and gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit, we grow as followers of Jesus. We see the effect of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives in special qualities and attitudes that we develop as we grow in faith.

The Church identifies these qualities and attitudes as the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit are signs that the Holy Spirit is alive within us and helping us live the Catholic faith in our daily lives.

  • Love: We exhibit the virtue of charity, or love, by our unselfish devotion and care for God and our neighbor.
  • Joy: We live with joy when we recognize that true happiness comes not from money or possessions, but from knowing and following Christ.
  • Peace: We are freed from worrying about trivial things because of the inner peace we experience with God in our hearts. We work and pray for peace throughout the world.
  • Patience: We demonstrate patience by treating others with thoughtfulness and tolerance. We know that we can overcome the temptations and sufferings of life because God is always with us.
  • Kindness: We live the virtue of kindness by treating others as we want to be treated.
  • Goodness: We exhibit goodness when we honor God by avoiding sin and always trying to do what we know is right.
  • Generosity: We demonstrate the fruit of generosity when we share our gifts and possessions with others.
  • Gentleness: Gentle people act calmly and avoid actions that might lead others to anger or resentment.
  • Faithfulness: We are faithful when we live out our commitment to the teachings of Jesus, the scriptures and the Catholic Church.
  • Modesty: We exhibit modesty by being pure in our thoughts, words and dress.
  • Self-control: We exercise self-control by working to overcome the temptations we face and by trying always to do God’s will.
  • Chastity: We live the virtue of chastity when we use the gift of sexuality wisely, according to God’s plan.

When a teen enters our program, we do not assume that all wish to be confirmed. Through our time together in class, with discussions and opportunities to openly ask questions and seek information, our teens can feel ready and willing to receive the sacrament. The sacrament is not a “graduation” of their faith but a grown-up decision to take faith into their own hands and make the journey life-long and on-going.

Our candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation have requirements from our parish that must occur before he or she is to be confirmed. They have several written assignments based on three articles that they must read; a brief essay; writing a letter to the bishop; service hours and a service day that has been changed this year because of covid; and direct prep classes that occur right before they receive the sacrament.

Our catechists are Jennifer Tran, Christine Gray and Anne Elacqua.

We hope that once they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation that they will take on roles in our parish as lectors, eucharistic ministers, ushers or join the choir. We welcome them in any way that they would like to give of themselves to their parish. God bless these young men and women always, and in all ways.

Confirmation candidates

  • Santino Alsante    
  • Paul Caruso
  • Remi Charlebois IV
  • Skylar Conkling
  • Philip Cittadino
  • Hay Ye Doh
  • Genaro Graziano
  • Sha Mu La
  • Isabella Laino
  • Kaitlyn Noon
  • Ben Rawnika
  • Emily Spiak
  • Ty Stanley
  • Gianella Szuba
  • Julia Wagner
  • Nan Zar