Looking back over this year in faith formation, two highlights stick out regarding the Sacrament of Confirmation. When we explored this often misunderstood sacrament during an all-ages event during Advent, it was the same day we heard the gospel of the Visitation, when Mary visits her older cousin. Elizabeth’s baby, John the Baptist, leaps in her womb at the presence of Jesus. Elizabeth proclaims: “Blessed are you who believed that what was
spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
People see Confirmation from many different perspectives. Some see it as “becoming an adult in our faith” or “becoming a soldier for Christ.” Still, others consider Confirmation as graduation from faith formation. Confirmation, most simply, is a new outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, gifts we first received at Baptism.
Elizabeth confirms the great gift found in Mary. All Christians are blessed with the gifts of the Spirit. I was mindful that December morning that four young women, each in their early teens (about the age Mary was when God chose her to bear Jesus), were among us. I pray that they and all of us will be open to these gifts, which keep the Spirit of Christ alive in our world.
Another highlight came six weeks later when Bishop Zinkula visited our Confirmation students. He could have said a quick hello and hit the road. Instead, he talked with our students for an hour, exploring what fills their hearts and what breaks their hearts about the Church. He treated them as people with gifts and thoughts that the Church should cherish. He not only recognized their God-given goodness but nurtured it.
Our focus on Confirmation should remain on exploring and nurturing our gifts. The sacrament is just a moment, albeit an important one, on a lifelong journey.
Pat Finan, Faith Formation Director