Sacrament of Confirmation
HMC's Program Overview
At HMC, students receive the Sacrament of Confirmation during the spring that concludes their Confirmation 2 year. The sacrament is conferred by our bishop at a "Regional Confirmation" celebration that typically includes three or four area parishes. In order to be confirmed, students must successfully complete both Confirmation 1 and Confirmation 2 weekly classes at any time during their high-school years."Successfully" means: not missing more than three classes each academic year. In addition, they must also complete extra basic requirements that are typical of Confirmation students in our diocese, as described below.
GREETINGS! Our 2017-2018 season will feature some changes--most notably, the ability of 8th Graders to now enroll in Confirmation 1. In fact, unless HMC parents insist otherwise, all 8th and 9th Grade students will be considered "Confirmation 1" students embarking on a two-year journey that concludes with the conferring of the Sacrament of Confirmation. For Confirmation 2 students, however, the process this year remains the same: sometime in Spring 2018 (usually late April to mid May) approximately 45 HMC teens--together with another 60 candidates from nearby parishes--will be confirmed at HMC by Bishop Morlino, via one of our diocese's Regional Confirmation liturgies. Please keep these young women and men in your prayers!
If you have a Confirmation 2 student, please be sure to SAVE THESE DATES:
Mandatory Teen and Parent-Info Meeting: Choose either Sunday, September 24, at 11:15 am or Wednesday, September 27, at 7:15 pm (both in Consolation Hall)
Start of Confirmation 2 Classes: Sunday, October 1, at 8:50 am and Wednesday, October 4, at 7:15 pm (both in Consolation Hall) ** NOTE: Classes often fill up even before they begin. Turn in registrations in on time to get into the class your student wants.
Rite of Welcome & Acceptance: Sunday, January 28, during the 10:15 am Mass. Report to Gathering Area (and sign in) at 10:00 am. Candidates, plus sponsor or proxy
In order to be confirmed in the spring of their Confirmation 2 year, with all other Confirmation 2 candidates, teens must:
Successfully complete a year of ‘Confirmation 1’ as a prerequisite (or its equivalent from another parish, as verified by the youth minister) to Confirmation 2. No more than three classes may be missed; anything beyond that must be completed as makeup work. Confirmation 1 students must also have already received the sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion, in addition to Baptism. **We ask all Confirmation 1 families to sign and return a Statement of Agreement, indicating that they are aware of HMC's Confirmation requirements overall, expectations for attendance, and the extra requirements this 2-year process involves—including those that can be completed as early as the Conf1 year.**
Satisfactory attendance at weekly ‘Confirmation 2’ classes. Makeup is required for students who miss more than three classes. Class schedule coming soon for both Confirmation 1 and Confirmation 2.
Have a parent or guardian attend one of the “Info Meetings” WITH their teen offered in the fall. The final year of Confirmation preparation involves a lot of details and deadlines that can—and will—directly affect your child’s ability to be confirmed in the spring. This meeting is important to get all the paperwork necessary, get any questions answered, find out about many different options that are available for your son or daughter.
Participate in the “Rite of Acceptance & Welcome” during 10:15 Mass, typically on the last Sunday of January. Each Confirmation 2 student should attend with his/her sponsor or parent/proxy.
Complete 20 hours of Christian/community service. Which have the ability to be banked/saved beginning in Confirmation 1. Of these, at least 3-5 hours should be church work—done for or through HMC Parish in a sort of “apprenticeship” of what it means to be a responsible, active adult in one’s registered parish. This can mean serving any need/organization that has a matching ministry at HMC: everything from childcare at parish functions, to helping at Mass, to stuffing envelopes for the parish office, to setting up chairs and moving tables for parish gatherings, getting involved in ministries already supported by our parish (food pantry, Luke House, Road Home, SHARE, Catholic Multicultural Center Meal, etc.) Lots of ideas/needs to fit any teen’s abilities, interests, and busy time schedule—just ask or check the “Service Central” bulletin board outside of Becky Phillip’s office. COMPLETED PAPERWORK REQUIRED, using the Service Hour Tally & Explanation Form, downloadable here or able to be obtained from the "Service Central" bulletin board near the Faith Formation office..
Completion of an approved overnight Confirmation retreat. See dates/options below.
Participation in Confirmation practice, ideally with sponsor/proxy. Extremely important, since there's a lot of logistical things to convey and practice about this special Mass that will be packed with candidates and visitors from several different parishes.
Participate in the mandatory ACRE Religious Ed assessment testing, required by the Diocese of Madison for all soon-to-be-confirmed students. Even though there is no "passing grade" requirement that prohibits or guarantees receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, this is a serious assessment of what has (or hasn't) been learned in a parish's Faith Formation program. All Confirmation 2 students are required to take this test, even if the assessment date falls AFTER the date they are confirmed. The assessment is typically administered onsite during regular class time and/or the week after classes end. Preparation materials and background info goes out to candidates in the fall, typically after the official Confirmation retreat.
Confirmation Retreats, 2017-2018
Every HMC Confirmation 2 candidate who expects to be confirmed in the Spring of 2018, is required to participate in an approved overnight retreat.
* If you register for a retreat, your teen is fully expected to go—not change their mind at the last minute (unless of course there’s a last-minute emergency or sickness). If a student’s ability to attend changes, for whatever reason, parents who made a reservation directly with Camp Gray MUST to be the ones to contact them and let them know—as soon as possible—communicating that their child will not be able to attend. If a cancellation happens early enough, Camp Gray can open that spot to someone else on the waiting list. If not, HMC will be stuck paying for that student even if he/she decides not to go. ALSO: Confirmation candidates must attend the ENTIRE retreat they sign up for—no missing the first or last day, or a good chunk of it. Always check with Becky Phillips if you’re unsure.
Important Dates for 2017-2018:
Parent-Info Sessions, pick ONE: September 24 (Sunday) at 11:15 am, September 27 (Wednesday) at 7:15 pm in Consolation Hall.
November 4-5, 2017: HMC’s "Official" Confirmation Retreat at Camp Gray (leave HMC at approximately 11:30 on Saturday, return by 4 or 4:30 on Sunday); families must RSVP by November 1--earlier if possible. If candidates cannot attend this retreat, others are available (see link above and the handout from the Parent Info Sessions); however, do not drag your feet on this, as all retreat options can fill up rather quickly--and/or it may take time for students to request time off from work. No matter what retreat is chosen, the full retreat must be attended--no arriving or leaving a day early (tho at times we can shave an hour off the front or the back, if there's an unavoidable conflict). If the student waits until the very last available retreat and then is unable to make it, he or she will have to delay Confirmation until a different retreat can be attended.
January 28, 2018 – “Rite of Acceptance & Welcome,” Sunday 10:15 Mass at HMC (if a sponsor is already chosen and can make it, ask them to come; if not, parent/other can be “proxy”
REGIONAL CONFIRMATION at HMC, with 1 or 2 additional parishes – DATE/TIME: TBD (Note: Because all celebrations of Confirmation are now “regional,” hosted by a large church, your child can be confirmed at any number of ceremonies happening in the spring IF the HMC Regional Confirmation ends up presenting a family conflict.)
CONFIRMATION PRACTICE: DATE: TBD in the main church. Candidate and sponsor/proxy must attend. (Note for future years: Practice is typically right after the 10:15 Mass on the weekend before Confirmation--though it varies, depending on things like Mother's Day and First Communion at HMC.)
NECESSARY STEPS, REQUIRED PAPERWORK
By the spring, in order to be confirmed, we’ll need the following paperwork and/or decisions from each Confirmation 2 candidate:
Completed "Confirmation Enrollment Form" – a salmon-colored sheet that should filled out as completely but also as quickly as possible. If a sponsor isn’t chosen yet, it’s best to mark that down and turn the paperwork in sooner rather than later. This is our main “tracking ticket” to be sure we’re getting all necessary materials in. We’ll use it to remind families of the paperwork we still need from them. DEADLINE: JANUARY 1ST, if at all possible—otherwise at least 1 month prior to Confirmation (for information that’s printed in the Confirmation programs). These are handed out at the Parent Info Meeting, available outside of the youth minister's office, and here.
Copy of your child’s Baptismal Certificate or official declaration from the baptizing parish. IF they were baptized at HMC, though, we already have this info. DEADLINE: ASAP, BUT AT LEAST 1 MONTH PRIOR TO CONFIRMATION.
Photo of candidate for parish display, like the one that's outside the Faith Formation office. We need a vertical head shot that will be used as a wallet-sized photo. Files that are sent electronically (via email, with photo attached as a jpeg or tiff file) are preferred, but we can also work from actual photos that we scan. Please-please-please be sure to include candidate's name on the back. DEADLINE: 1 MONTH PRIOR TO CONFIRMATION.
Candidate’s Service Hours log, with supervisor signatures. Forms available on the “Service Central” bulletin board, along with instructions. DEADLINE: 1 WEEK PRIOR TO CONFIRMATION.
Completion of our “Last Things” form, IF necessary--asking whether the candidate will choose a separate Confirmation Name, sponsor's name, whether sponsor will be present, number of guests expected at the Confirmation Mass, etc. This will be handed out 1-2 months ahead of our confirmation date.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
We find that people wonder most about the following things:
Who can be a Confirmation sponsor. And what is a "proxy"? All sponsors must be at least 16 years old, a confirmed Catholic, and someone who is actively practicing their faith through a Catholic parish. Sponsors may be an older sibling (or other family member or friend, even another parishioner or a Catholic neighbor) but they CANNOT BE the candidate's mother or father. A mother or father may, however, stand in for the official sponsor--if the sponsor cannot attend Confirmation--as a "proxy."
Do I have to choose a saint's name for my "Confirmation name." At HMC we leave that up to the candidate to decide on his or her own. We just want to know the name, if one is chosen. It's used by the bishop (on printed name tags) as he confirms you and it's printed in the program; it's not any legal change of name. Tradition has dictated that, at the time of Confirmation, a candidate takes on a new symbolic name to mark a significant personal/spiritual milestone. The church has encouraged this tradition, which has its roots in the Bible and ongoing Catholic history (Abram becomes Abraham, Simon becomes Peter, Saul becomes Paul...and all popes take on a new name, as do many people who enter a religious order). In more recent times, however, some theologians have argued that the original baptismal name should be retained at Confirmation--since Confirmation, after all, is a continuation and completion of Baptism. Both rationales are valid. The name, however--IF a new one is chosen--should be the name of a saint. Toward the end of the preparation year, class time is available for candidates to peruse many available resources on Catholic saints to help them decide upon a Confirmation name; these are also available in a nearby classroom if students want to stop by outside of class. We merely ask that students pick their OWN name--and that parents steer clear of demanding a certain name OR that they retain their baptismal name. This needs to be the candidate's choice.
What if I can't complete all the Confirmation requirements on time? We at HMC are flexible about many things--including the ways that requirements can be fulfilled--but we do not waive any requirements in order for candidates to be confirmed (except to account for different cognitive abilities or a few rare family circumstances that must be cleared with the youth minister). We have whittled down our Confirmation requirements to the basic minimum that nearly all parishes require. But speaking of flexibility: there are a few different ways to make up required classes, and high-school students may take as long as they like to complete the necessary requirements--all four years of high school, if necessary. Preparation for, and reception of, this sacrament should be a blessing--not a burden. And so students who need more time should check with the youth minister about how to accomplish this over the course of more than two years.
For more information: Diocesan Policies & Best Practices for Confirmation.