Confirmation Conversations: When Sacrament Prep Takes Place Outside School


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Answers for parents whose teens’ Confirmation prep takes place outside the Catholic-school setting.

By Connie Clark

Why do I have to do this if I already go to Catholic school?

Back in the day, my family prepared for the sacraments at our Catholic school. Maybe you did too. Of course, no one needs to tell us that our kids are growing up in a vastly different world.

Today, while some Catholic schools still offer sacramental preparation, the vast majority of preparation programs happen at Catholic parishes. And there’s a good reason for that. Confirmation, along with baptism and Eucharist, are sacraments of initiation into the life of the church. Whether your child goes to Catholic school, public school, or home school, he will graduate someday, leaving the school planners and book reports behind. But we never graduate from the church, even after we die. We are part of the eternal body of Christ. In fact wherever we go, Catholic churches will be there, as witnesses of Christ “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The church shares the Good News all over the world, taking care of our brothers and sisters in hospitals, hospices, and orphanages; in prisons, in relief efforts, and yes, in schools. Look at your parish bulletin and see how your parish is part of these efforts in your own community. That’s why preparation for the sacraments of initiation into the Church happens within the parish, where the life of the Church happens for most of us.

PS … Your child might have a stronger bond to her school than your parish. OK, but Confirmation strengthens the gifts of the Holy
Spirit so that, like the Apostles, we can go out into the world with all its problems, issues, and challenges. Consider the gifts your child brings to this world, and how your child is being called to make it a better place. Does your child talk about the injustices she sees out there? This is the time to have a conversation about how the Holy Spirit’s gifts — wisdom, understanding, knowledge, right judgment,
courage, reverence, and wonder and awe — can strengthen her to change the world.

My prayer:

God, what do you want for my child?
Give me your courage to trust in your plan,
especially when I feel unsure,
anxious, angry, or afraid.

More to think about:

• What do I remember from my own preparation? Anything?
• How might I make this time memorable for my child?

Excerpted from Confirmation Conversations: What Parents and Teens Need to Know, by Connie Clark. Copyright 2019. Published by Twenty-Third Publications (twentythirdpublications.com). Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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