WHAT IS CONFIRMATION?
Confirmation is the final of the the three Sacraments of Initiation. "Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or 'confirm' the baptized in union with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church Glossary). "By the sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed" (CCC 1285).
Confirmation is not a completion of sorts, but a new beginning, a stepping out into a new role as members of the Body of Christ. It is important to note, however, that while parents are often the ones making sure their child receives this Sacrament, the grace of Confirmation does not take root unless the one receiving it has chosen the Sacrament of their own accord.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I thought you had to be 16 years old to get Confirmed. Why is this changing?
There is no “official” age to receive Confirmation according to Canon Law. The 16+ cut-off was established by the Archdiocese of Seattle many years ago, but is somewhat of an arbitrary number. Traditionally, Confirmation was done after Baptism and before one received their first Communion (this is known as “restored order”). Around the country, students receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at many different levels: second grade, eighth grade, and tenth grade being the most popular. Pastorally-speaking, we have determined that opening the Sacrament to all high school youth will be the most beneficial for this parish community.
Why is there an “application” for Confirmation? Does this mean not everyone who applies will get Confirmed?
Preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation is not a decision to be made lightly. The application allows both the teen and their parent/guardian the opportunity to discern if Confirmation is something they truly want and are ready for. It also gives Confirmation Core Team the chance to get to know our teens and their families before beginning the process. It’s important to remember that this isn’t like a job interview or scholarship application; there are no right or wrong answers, so there is no need to worry! If we are concerned at all about someone’s readiness to prepare for the Sacrament, we will open a dialogue with the teen and his/her family before making any kind of decision.
Is there an application deadline?
Yes, applications are due no later than Sunday, August 13th, one week before our SEALED kickoff lock-in retreat. This ensures that we have enough time to process all the applications, communicate all pertinent information to candidates and their families, and purchase enough supplies for lock-in and our first SEALED session.
What does your Confirmation program cost?
In years past, we have not charged for Confirmation preparation, but with budgets being tight, we’ve had to institute a small fee of $50 per participant. The fee covers basic operating costs, including meals and snacks at our SEALED sessions, lock-in retreats, personal Bibles, and supplies for the Rite of Confirmation and reception. Financial assistance is available to any families in need.
Our family is registered at another parish. Can I still be Confirmed at Our Lady of Lourdes?
Yes, you can! While it’s most fitting that you be Confirmed at your home parish, it is also important that you feel comfortable around those you’re getting Confirmed with; that’s why we’re hosting a lock-in retreat in August - so everyone has an opportunity to get to know each other!
Our family has a prior commitment during the August lock-in retreat. Does that mean I cannot be Confirmed?
Not at all! While the SEALED kickoff lock-in is not “optional” it’s also not required. If you are unable to make the retreat due to another obligation, please communicate that with Chiara.
What happens if I miss a SEALED session?
Because we only meet seven times throughout the year, attendance is of the utmost importance. That said, the flu, state finals, and funerals all happen. If you know in advance that you won’t be available for a given session, please convey that information as soon as possible so alternative arrangements can be made. If you are ill or have a family emergency, contact Chiara at your earliest convenience, otherwise, the Core Team worries! Any teens who missed a SEALED session will need to set up a coffee date with Chiara or another Core Member to cover the topic from the missed session.
Why do candidates have to go on retreats?
On a formal level, the Archdiocese of Seattle requires that all Confirmation candidates participate in a retreat. However, on a spiritual level, retreats are often the most impactful part of the formation process, benefitting participants spiritually, mentally, and physically. Throughout Sacred Scripture, Christ encourages us to retreat, both by word and by example (see Mt 6:6 and Mk 1:35). Following his lead, we set aside time in our regular schedule to exit the world and enter into his holy presence. A retreat is a special time of fellowship, rest, silence, and prayer, in which we have the opportunity to renew our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Do Confirmation candidates have to participate in the high school youth group?
While it has not previously been expected that candidates be part of the Ablaze High School youth group, the schedule has been rearranged such that concurrent participation in both SEALED and Ablaze High School is possible. While it is not required for candidates to be present at Ablaze HS, regular weekly attendance is highly encouraged, and at least occasional attendance is expected. I want to ensure that teens aren’t overextended; schoolwork and self-care are a top priority. But, it’s important to realize that Confirmation is not about checking a requirement off of a list. It’s about growing to be a fully-initiated, active, adult member of the Body of Christ; being Confirmed is part of a life-long, daily commitment, being in constant relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Can I choose a Confirmation sponsor who lives out of the area?
It is highly recommended that your Confirmation sponsor is someone with whom you communicate with regularly. This is often easier done when they live locally, but if you have your heart set on an out-of-town sponsor, that’s completely fine. Just make sure that you have a communication plan set up!
Are there service hour requirements for Confirmation candidates?
There is a service component, but it is not an hour-based system. Teens will be asked to make a regular commitment to one service opportunity throughout the course of the school year instead. Their project must address at least one of the Works of Mercy, and can be anything from a weekly commitment to a monthly commitment.
When is Confirmation Mass?
The Rite of Confirmation will be held at some point in mid-May. At the start of September, three requested dates are submitted to the Archdiocese (our possible dates can be found on the SEALED calendar). Final dates are sent out from the diocese in mid-to-late November, though it may or may not be one that we requested.
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