May 5, 2015
One of the highlights of the Easter Season for me is the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Although I have the privilege of celebrating the Sacrament in most of the months of the year — even in January — many parishes choose the Easter Season to celebrate this great Sacrament of Initiation.
On one weekend I confirmed our largest class, 65 candidates at St. Joseph’s in Grand Rapids; our smallest class of two, one from St. Anthony’s in Ely and one from St. Pius X in Babbitt; and a middle- size class of 23 at Holy Spirit in Virginia. All were worthy celebrations with remarkable young men and women of faith actively receiving the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.
Bishop Paul Sirba
I was moved by the authenticity and conviction of our young people.
They write to me about their desire to be confirmed. They speak about their faith, their families, their hopes and desires, their brokenness, and their questions.
They give examples of their Christian service and what they learned from their experiences. They are forthright about their desire to grow in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ through an active prayer life, regular attendance at Sunday Mass and mission.
After Confirmation in Virginia, I had the opportunity to share a meal with Father Brandon Moravitz, the pastor, and the small group leaders who helped facilitate their Confirmation program. They have piloted a new program called “Chosen.” The kids in the small groups were very fortunate — what a wonderful, faithful, fun group of catechists!
As one young man wrote: “When Father Brandon told us we were going to use ‘Chosen’ as the program for the upcoming year, I became immediately excited. After we watched the introduction, I was hooked! I have to admit that I was nervous about having to talk in small groups amongst my friends, but it got easier as the year progressed.”
I think it got easier because of the catechists. Some have been catechists for years, others were giving it their first try. Some were young parents, others more experienced. They all shared a love of Jesus and a willingness to share that love with our young people.
Around the diocese, I have similar experiences with the Sacrament of Confirmation. That is what makes the celebration of the sacrament such a highlight for me.
I meet great young people, dedicated catechists, directors of religious education, youth ministers, sponsors and parents who desire to pass on the Catholic faith in all its truth and beauty. The priests and deacons, in addition to providing their own example of lived faith, need your help to form the next generation of Catholics. Please prayerfully consider being a catechist.
As Pentecost approaches at the conclusion of our Easter Season, the great 50 days, keep our young people in your prayers. Fan into flame the gifts you have received in Confirmation, so you, too, may participate in the work of the New Evangelization. We have been marked with God’s grace and an indelible character which helps us witness to Jesus Christ. The gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord strengthen and guide us in our daily living of the Gospel of Jesus.
Our Blessed Mother was filled with the Holy Spirit. She is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. In her life Pentecost was a yet deeper experience of God’s love for her. Her life from her Immaculate Conception to her glorious Assumption was a continued growth in the ineffable gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Mary, Mother of the New Evangelization, pray for us!
Bishop Paul Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.