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The preparation for the
Sacrament of Confirmation started at the beginning of the school year in
September 2003. We contacted all
young people from Year 10 in the parish that we knew of and invited them to come
and find out what Confirmation was about. We
also put notices in the Parish Newsletter asking for any other young people aged
15 or over who wanted to be considered for Confirmation to register their
We held the first meeting
for the young people (and their parents) in October to give them an opportunity
to see what it would mean for them. At
that stage all we asked of them was to express interest in finding out more
without any commitment actually to be confirmed. We then had three meetings before Christmas exploring themes
such as what their faith meant to them, what it means to belong (to the Church)
and what had been important to them in their ‘journey of faith’.
Each of these early sessions usually included ‘icebreaker’ games to
encourage participation and to get the group to gel together.
One of these sessions
included preparation for the feast of Christ The King, which is also National
Youth Sunday. The group were
heavily involved in preparing parts of the liturgy for Sunday Mass and it was at
this point that we invited them to make their commitment to the rest of the
Parish that they would follow the course of preparation for Confirmation.
There were a further six meetings between Christmas and Easter and we
also took the group away for a weekend staying at a Dominican convent in the New
Forest. This was a really rewarding
time and provided an opportunity for a more in-depth approach to what faith
means to us as well as some entertaining events such as a wet and windy walk in
the New Forest which needed some agility in jumping flooded streams and
negotiating boggy ground.
In the final run up to
Confirmation we managed to get most of the group together to attend the Chrism
Mass at Arundel Cathedral. Three
members of the group had been asked to serve at this and it was an opportunity
for them all to see the oils that would be used at their Confirmation being
blessed and to see many of the Diocesan clergy all together at the same time.
The whole evening was rounded off with a visit to Pizza Hut on the way
During the course of
preparation for Confirmation we invited the young people to consider how they
would like to be involved in the Parish in the future.
Some are already involved through serving at Mass and in other ways
through their families but we wanted them to explore what was special to them
and how they could make use of the gifts they had been given.
They had the example of two of the catechists who were young people who
had only been confirmed themselves in the last two years.
We are hopeful that some of this year’s group will feel able to share
what the have experienced with next year’s group.
Eleven teenagers from St Richard’s Parish received the sacrament of confirmation at Arundel Cathedral on Sunday 2nd May 2004
As part of the Confirmation Program, the candidates were invited to attend a weekend retreat at a small convent in the new forest near Ringwood along with Fr. Kieron and Catechists Sylvia and Martin.
The weekend was focused around the Bible and other parts of Catholicism. It was also an opportunity to get to relax, have fun and get to know each other better. On arrival at the convent we had a little time to settle in to our surroundings before starting our studies. The whole weekend was centered around study and reflection along with fun activities and games.
The nuns also proved to be very good caterers for a group such as ours and the food was excellent. We all agreed that the weekend was very enjoyable and would return anytime.
The group met up again for a Barbeque at the presbytery cooked by Fr. Kieron