Thursday, January 28, 2010


We're getting busy with sacraments around here!

Middle Sister and I attended the mandatory "student and parent" Confirmation retreat on Tuesday. Despite the fact that her class had made a Confirmation retreat in December, the DRE required this one as well. There was a Mass (nice!) and then a craft project. May I rant? What a waste of time! They had to compose a prayer, as a group, then make it into a banner. OK, prayers are good. Let each student compose one. We don't need markers, glue and foam stickers on felt banners. The kids felt like this was for little kids, not for them.

Sometime between now and February 8, she has to decorate a candle as well. Why is it that some people believe that you can't have a sacrament without an accompanying art project?

More importantly, is she ready for the sacrament? Who knows? Certainly nothing at the retreat indicated whether anyone was or was not ready. She's curious--but not committed. And one of her friends is not being confirmed; she is Baptist. Middle Sister wanted to know if this friend would be confirmed, and I replied that I thought she wouldn't have something called "Confirmation" but instead would have to publicly accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. "Do we do that?" Middle Sister wondered.

"Every time we go to Communion," I informed her.

Meanwhile, Little Brother is having his "practice confession" today in preparation for Saturday's First Reconciliation. It should be interesting to hear what he has to say about today's events.


Brother Charles said...

I did the role play practice confessions with our 2nd graders last year. The volunteer confessed to calling his sister ugly.

"Do you know why that's wrong?" I asked.

"Because God made her beautiful." he said.

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

So, Friar Charles, I have to ask: is it hard to keep a straight face when the little ones come through for their confessions?

Bean said...

I helped out last year with my youngests confirmation class. The CCD teacher was thorough, but treated the 8th graders as if they were slower than your average 3rd grader. It was demeaning, and the young adults preparing for confirmation did not appreciate being treated like little kids. (the CCD teachers "day job" as it turned out, is a special ed teacher for middle/high school students). Also, the kids had to do a lot to prepare, write a saint report at least 3 pages long, typed, double spaced. Answer thoroughly a 50 question test citing sources for answers, two community service projects, a retreat, and other assignments as given. My nephew in a neighboring parish only had to do a retreat, both parishes are in the same diocese??? Shouldn't the requirements be the same for all?

for narnia said...

hi Barb! i enjoyed reading this post. i agree that the Confirmation project that you speak about sounds kind of inappropriate for confirmation-age kids. at one of my parishes, the kids preparing for Confirmation have to do service hours and keep a log/journal on it. i think that's much more appropriate and meaningful for them because it gets them involved in serving in the church and community. i've been a second grade religious education teacher for a while, and, like Fr. Charles, i help prepare the kids for first Reconciliation and first Holy Communion. i also "role play" the actual events with them. i like your response to middle sister in that we "publicly accept Jesus" every time we go to receive Him in Holy Communion. PEACE! ~tara~

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

For the record, the Confirmandi DID also have to report on a saint, participate in service projects, and do a few other age-appropriate activities. I just thought this was not a good way to culminate the preparation.

Brother Charles said...

Yes, sometimes it's hard to keep a straight face. But other times I'm amazed and humbled by the complexity of the moral world of the young.

Steve said...

"Every time we go to Communion,"

Touche Barb!

My oldest just did his first confession; it was a really nice affair, much like our holiday reconciliations at Easter and Christmas, with 6 or 7 Priests there to help. My friend Larry was waiting on his son, and he said to me that he could imagine what his boy had to confess; "Forgive me Father, I peed in the backyard over last summer".LOL

But it did my heart good to see my own son take it so seriously, and to do such a good job.

Amy Giglio said...

Bean, I'm a DRE in a different diocese than Barb lives in. I wish that the guidelines for sacrament preparation made for consistency between parishes. It's very much up to individual parishes to come up with what they think is best for their candidates. Heck, I wisjthe diocese would simply standardize the age of Confirmation! Here, it's anywhere between 7 and 17, so in out parish we celebrate it at he end of 8th grade, the next town, it's the beginning of 9th grade, the next town from that, it's the end of 10th grade, and in one big-city parish I know of it's end of 5th grade. We get families hopping all over the place to "make confirmation" earlier so they don't have to go to CCD anymore! It's all sort of frustrating.

Barb, that retreat sounds pretty pointless. I'm sorry you and MS had to endure it. Gosh, I hope your SiL doesn't feel that same way about stuff we do up here!

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

Consistency would be nice. I think we have consistency in this area, at least as regards age, but other prep. is all over the place.

Middle Sister (and I) attended the Confirmation retreat that was organized by her religion teacher, for the kids in the school. It was fabulous. They had Father Michael Mannion talking about using their talents and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the service of others. There was a prolife video and a Mass. The kids' only complaint? The retreat was TOO SHORT (3 hours). Tuesday night, they got 2 hours for a Mass and an art project. I still don't get why the school kids had to attend this one, as they had done something more extensive already.

I guess this is where we realize that we're happy to have sent the kids to Catholic school, because there is better reinforcement of what we're trying to teach them at home.

Amy Giglio said...

feel bad for the RE program kids if that's all they're getting...