Recently a coworker and I were chatting about her daughter who was soon to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. She had just completed the faith formation classes at her parish, and from the very first meeting there was one thing the instructors kept emphasizing to all those to receive the Sacrament – Confirmation is not the end!
It’s not uncommon for students and parents going through the Confirmation process to fall into the mindset that Confirmation is the last step of their religious education, after which they “graduate” from having to be involved in church or even having to attend Mass at all.
So when the formation classes are over, volunteer hours are complete, and you have received the Sacrament of Confirmation . . . What’s next?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts and his biddings – in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life.” (1309)
Confirmation is the START of life as a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ. With that comes a greater responsibility, not only to share your faith but to be a continuing example of the faith in and OUT of Church. It is that simple and that challenging. We are now called to go deeper and deeper into our faith so as to grow in our relationship with Christ and His Church.
Like any organization, once you are initiated, are you done? Of course not. In the Church you continue to be an active member and you work in tangent with other members to nurture and grow in faith, hope, and love.
For those whose formation classes may be done or coming to a close, it is important to realize that your catechesis will never end. You can spend your entire life studying and reflecting on the faith. You will continue to be filled with questions and can spend your life in eager pursuit of the answers. As you grow older, you will discover more about yourself, the faith, relationships, and God himself.
Confirmation bestows the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, gifts given for the purpose of fully living your faith in the world as a Child of God. The Sacrament gives you the spiritual tools you need for your life-long adventure of living out your Catholic faith.
To encourage kids to stay active in their faith after Confirmation, here are some ideas for continuing involvement in the parish or diocese:
- Find groups such as Life Teen (high school students) or young adult groups. If your parish doesn’t have one, start one yourself.
- Join a Catholic Bible study, or start a Bible study for your age group.
- Join a parish ministry in an area you are passionate about. They need young people!
- Help out with coffee and donuts or other social functions before or after Mass.
- Volunteer for First Communion/Reconciliation preparation classes.
- Make a regular Holy Hour in Eucharistic Adoration.
After Baptism and First Holy Communion, Confirmation is the third and final Sacrament of Initiation into the Catholic Church. This places Confirmation near the beginning, not the end, of our Sacramental journey. After Confirmation, keep going: regularly make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and prayerfully consider a vocation to the Sacrament of Marriage or the Sacrament of Holy Orders. And don’t forget: Confirmation is just the beginning!