How can all ccd students be ready for Confirmation at the same time

We belong to a very large parish and after teaching 5h grade ccd for 2 years a friends child ask me to sponser him for confirmation. I said of course I would and went to all the meetings and retreats with him. It was my experiance that 1/3 were ready for confirmation and the rest needed more study. Many did not seem to have ever been to Mass and most could not answer even the simple questions in the games we were playing. The program I teach in is considered a good one and I believe most students are not getting any support at home. I think Confirmation has become a right more so than something that attained after study and understanding of the faith. It seems a person should be prepared properly to take such a huge step in their life. Maby I am wrong but there is no way that 200 students could have been ready at the same time.:shrug:

What do you understand the purpose of Confirmation to be, and what makes one “ready” or “not ready” for that purpose?

Our parish held some students back this year. Oh, my, were the parents angry! But the priests held firm and said, “They aren’t ready.” Good for the priests!

Perhaps that’s because receiving a sacrament doesn’t come as a result of passing some kind of test.

Take a look at the catechism (here). The section on preparation says:

Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit—his actions, his gifts, and his biddings—in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. The latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands.127

Keep in mind that in the Eastern Church babies are baptized and confirmed at the same time. They don’t have to demonstrate a level of knowledge or maturity in order to receive the sacrament.

Ideally faith formation is a lifelong process, so the children who don’t have the knowledge now will gain it as they mature in their faith. And for those whose parents don’t take them to Mass or teach them at home, I think the best we can hope is that the grace of the sacrament will lead them to a deeper relationship with Jesus and his church later on.

I do not mean like passing a test. But showing to the Pastor of the Parish that they have enough of a background to make this decision. I guess that I see the Sacrament as a way for a person to choose for themselves if they want to be Catholic. It is the first time since birth that the choice had not been made for them.

That would be a very gross misunderstanding of the Sacrament. They were Catholic from the moment they were Baptized, so the ‘choice’ has already been made.

In fact, it is the Sacrament of Confirmation that best ASSISTS them to make the choices in life that are most critical, such as following more closely the Faith they were given at the Baptism.


I think we should go back to Confirming around age 7 - or even at Baptism.


In my parish we don’ t tell the parents that kids need to prepare for ONE year in order to be confirmed. We just tell them that they are in the process of formation for the sacrament and that can take more than one year. Most of this year “class” had been in classes for two years actually, and none of the parents complained. They all were happy that we took the faith and sacramental formation seriously and the difference in the kids was really showing!

Thank you , This is why I ask. In this case the church should just Confirm at Baptisim. Although most people would stop sending children to ccd after first communion. Do you feel children should have to learn about the Eucharist prior to excepting communion.

I like this, and it sounds like the parents are very involved. It seems when a difinite end point is given, some children are just putting in their time.

I must say that one reason for starting this thread is that the Pastor of are Parish just changed Confirmation to 9th grade and the parents are in a total uproar. When confronted with this I just say the Bishop an Father are in charge of the Parish we must do as they will us on this one. Personally I believe a lot of them are ready and should not have to wait just to keep things politically correct at the church.

Read the Catechism again. It says they should be "more capable " of assuming apostolic responsibilities. And presumably someone who has had some faith formation is more capable than someone who hasn’t. It doesn’t say that have to be “fully capable.” Then it says catechesis “should strive to awaken…” Again, that’s a very minimal standard.

Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation. That means it comes at the beginning of the Christian life. We’ve turned it into a pseudo-bar mitzvah, a sign of maturity, but that’s not what it’s intended to be. And for far too many people it has turned into graduation from religious education. And that’s very sad.

I believe they do that in the Phoenix diocese. I’d like to see it spread. That would make it clear that the sacrament is one of initiation not graduation.

I hope – though possibly in vain – that parents would also be aware that 2nd grade is too early for their children to stop learning about their faith and would make sure that their formation continues, not with a threat that if they don’t go to class they won’t be confirmed, but with the knowledge that this is the right thing to do.

HAVE to learn about the Eucharist, no. To say that there is a requirement would be to detract from what they do in the Eastern Churchs ( Baptize, Confirm, and Communicate all at the same time)

Is there a pastoral advantage in teaching them about the Eucharist prior? Yes it would seem so, at least in the Latin Rite, as that is what our Pope has requested.

If you look at the documents, the Eucharist is the last of the Sacraments of Initiation. The requirement is simple for the children: Canon Law says that they have to know what, or rather, who they are receiving and they have to be able to do it reverently.

Confirmation calls for catechesis but not the jumping through hoops that has been put in place with specific intention of keeping kids in CCD until their late teens. The Church says Confirmation at the age of reason, although, yes, it does say bishops can set a different age. But children are being denied grace that they could surely use at this very difficult time in their life – the gift of wisdom could certainly be of help when navigating the teen years.

For 9 years our diocese celebrated Confirmation before but in the same liturgy as First Communion. I taught for a year and sat in on those classes, then I sat in on my teenage son’s class, one that was comprised of teens who had fallen through the ‘confirmation schedule crack’ due to moves, etc. Let me assure you that for the most part the 7 year olds were much more open to the teachings than the teens. Plus, they wanted to be there. The teens were there to keep their parents happy.

Unfortunately, a merging of our diocese with one that had confirmation in grade 10 or 11 saw the age for confirmation being set at any time between grade 6 &10. I think our parishes were the losers here.

I like how you phrased that :smiley:

One of the diocese in Michgan (Gaylord) does pretty much the same thing. Children are Confirmed first, and then recieve Holy Communion, generally in the same liturgy.

I guess it is the parents and students feeling as though it is some sort of graduation instead of just the beginning of their journey that bothers me the most. Also, I understand the concept of sacraments of initiation. Unfortunatly I think Pastors are having to use confirmation as a carrot on the end of a stick to get parents to give children some sort of faith formation.

Because Confirmation is not graduation and we need all the grace we can get.


For 9 years our diocese celebrated Confirmation before but in the same liturgy as First Communion. I taught for a year and sat in on those classes, then I sat in on my teenage son’s class, one that was comprised of teens who had fallen through the ‘confirmation schedule crack’ due to moves, etc. Let me assure you that for the most part the 7 year olds were much more open to the teachings than the teens. Plus, they wanted to be there. The teens were there to keep their parents happy.

This is the way it is done in the diocese of Tyler, TX. I was privaleged to attend Confirmation there a few years ago. The children make first Confession in 2nd grade, make a “contract” with their parents to attend Mass, go to Confession at least once a month and attend sacrament prep. In third grade, they are interviewed and if they have fulfilled thier “contracts,” they receive Confrimation and First Communion in the same Mass. For many, this means in third grade. For some it takes a little longer. :smiley:

I am sick of this idea that if we have Confirmation too early, the kids won’t go to CCE anymore. As it is, since in our diocese the minimum age is 16, many kids just show up in 2nd and 10th grade and nowhere in between. Confirmation prep becomes remedial CCE for kids who haven’t been going all along. The kids who have been going all along get to be “helpers” to bring the others up to speed. The kids aren’t really getting any more or better religious ed by holding Confirmation until the late teens.

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