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Celebrating the Spirit is a process that prepares high school teens for the sacrament of Confirmation. At Holy Family, we believe that a Catholic should discern when s/he is ready to be confirmed in the faith. We feel that young Catholics are best fit to begin this discernment process during their high school years. Although Celebrating the Spirit does have the Sacrament of Confirmation as its “destination”, a high school student who is confirmed before Senior year is greatly encouraged to continue with Faith on Fire Small Christian Communities until s/he graduates from high school. Please note: A Copy of the Baptismal Certificate MUST be on file, for teens preparing for Confirmation during their second year in FLAME.
About Confirmation Preparation
This component of the Youth Ministries’ process is for teens that have made the decision to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation. Some components of Celebrating the Spirit are Pizza with Fr. Terry, two years of FLAME and a retreat.
Age for Confirmation
The Church states that Confirmation should be received at the age of discretion (about age seven); however, it allows for the local Conference of Bishops to determine an age range. This leaves the question open to local custom. In August 2001, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops set “the age for conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation at between the age of discretion (considered to be about age seven) and ‘about sixteen years of age.’”
This ultimately leaves the decision up to the local bishop, Cardinal George in our case. In the Chicago area, churches typically celebrate the Sacrament in 8th grade or 10th grade with the aforementioned being more typical. Holy Family along with several other parishes celebrate the Sacrament in high school because we feel this is the most appropriate time for Confirmation. Bishop Rassas, our auxiliary bishop for Vicariate I, has chosen not to make a Confirmation age policy for our Vicariate, even though some bishops do so. We have spoken to Bishop Rassas and he believes that each pastor should decide what is best for the individual parish and decide the age of Confirmation accordingly.
In deciding the best age to be confirmed, our parish believes there should be both a personal and communal dimension to the Sacrament. The needs of the individual and the needs of the community should best balance in a kind of symbiotic relationship, and we believe that when an individual is in high school he/she can better balance the support that comes from the community. In the years prior to high school, we believe that it is really the community and the parents that shoulder the greatest load in supporting the Confirmation process. Holy Family has a history of Celebrating the Spirit in the high school years. We believe the high school teen can better decide for themselves their own faith journey, in conjunction with the support of the family and the community. Our experience is junior high teens still cling primarily to the beliefs of the family and community, while the high school teen has begun to challenge their belief system and yearns to grow in deeper spirituality and faith.
Holy Family Catholic Community also believes that Confirmation is neither a destination nor something we “get” and can check off, happy to be done with it. We experience with our teens a real desire to live out the Confirmation process in faith and service and feel that the high school years are a better place for teens to spread their wings as they venture to service opportunities that impact their faith lives. We actually have many teens that have been confirmed at other parishes that enroll themselves in FLAME so that a faith journey may continue in the high school years. Our high school FLAME program is multifaceted and Confirmation is but one part of the faith journey albeit a big one!