To the Editor:
Bishop Tobin wrote [in the June 24 edition] about the various ways the Sacrament of Confirmation could be received by the young children or youth of our Catholic faith as well as what he proposes as the best age for the sacrament. While I am in agreement with Bishop about the timing of when to receive confirmation, that being after baptism and Eucharist, it is, however, the opposite for our adults entering fully into the church for the first time. Adults who are received into the church at Easter receive baptism [if they have not been baptized by water in the name of the Trinity], then are confirmed, and finally receive Eucharist. These sacraments are done all at one time on the same day. The adults, also, make an informed choice to become part of the church before entering the RCIA program.
This is where I differ with the age of the young being confirmed. I believe we need to have confirmation in high school, allowing more informed youth making a choice to be part of our Catholic faith. The RCIA allows for this process and so should the confirmation process.
Bishop speaks to losing youth as they get older but that is not the case; we have lost them regardless of confirmation or not! Is confirmation just a way for the church to make that young person a number in our book? First off, the youth who come will attend depending on how involved their parents are in their faith and the life of the church. For youth, the importance of church and the sacredness of their life in Jesus Christ come from the primary teachers, the parents!
Where the Catholic Church lacks is not in captivating the attention of the youth, but with the parents whose formal education in the church probably ended back in 7th or 8th grade and who mostly do not have an intimate journey with Christ. The value of the church is far greater than this and we must be an educating, forming, gathering, and welcoming force to the generation which educates our youth day to day about God, our parents and guardians.
The solution is not in reducing the age, as every year my confirmation students do not reduce, fall away, or have too much to do, but rather have the intelligence to make a choice on their own about what they want according to how they see their primary teachers, friends, and family living out the life of Christ in their own lives. The call is for the church to make better role models of faith in our adults.
Director of Religious Education
St. Jude, Lincoln