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Welcome. Begin with a guided meditation that takes us into the story of Pentecost. Sit back, relax, close your eyes, allow the music to take you away ...

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome. Begin with a guided meditation that takes us into the story of Pentecost. Sit back, relax, close your eyes, allow the music to take you away ..."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome. Begin with a guided meditation that takes us into the story of Pentecost. Sit back, relax, close your eyes, allow the music to take you away ...

2 What is a sacrament? Ian Knox Sacraments can make God present
Sacraments are meetings with God at the high point of human life Sacraments celebrate special grace at significant times in our lives Leonard Boff Sacraments invite us to a different way of thinking Before we launch into the specifics of Confirmation, it might be good to spend a few minutes thinking about what a sacrament is. Most of us can probably rattle of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, but what is a sacrament in itself? I have chosen some quotes from two scholars who have very ‘real’ and grounded statements about sacraments. I’d like you to choose one of the statements and chat to the person next to you for a minute about how it might connect to Confirmation. (Allow a minute for discussion) Anyone like to share? God is present because we gather in his name as a faith community The symbols used in Confirmation tell of his presence with us - the laying on or hands by the bishop connecting us to the wider church, the anointing of chrism as we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit Year 6 students are in the process of transition from the safety and security of primary school to secondary school, the sacrament of Confirmation offers food and strength for the journey and challenges of adolescence, extra gift of the grace of God to see us through this period Confirmation invites us to always have our faith front and centre in the way we view the world and operate within it, to be brave and take up the challenge of following Jesus in a world which is often at odds with what he asks of us, with the Gospel values

3 The History of Confirmation
The New Testament records the apostles laying on of hands as a sign of the Holy Spirit They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. (Acts 6:6) Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. (Timothy 4:14) We can find some symbolic roots of the sacrament of Confirmation in the New Testament. We have already reflected on the experience of Pentecost when the followers of Jesus received the gift of the Holy Spirit. We can find references in the New Testament to the laying of hands as symbolic of calling for the gift of the Holy Spirit. This passage from Acts comes at the end of a text about selecting righteous and spirit filled men to help in the distribution of food so that the needs of the community could be meet but the Word of God still be central to the life of the community. The passage from Timothy is addressed to some of the younger members of the community who are called to be living witnesses to the values of Jesus and the Christian community. Both these texts refer to the gift of the Spirit being conferred through the laying of hands. This belief is a central part of today’s Confirmation ritual.

4 The History of Confirmation
By the 5th Century, Confirmation was celebrated as a distinct and unique sacrament regularly but it was usually celebrated at the same time as Baptism and Eucharist. These three sacraments are known as the Sacraments of Initiation. By the Middle Ages, Confirmation had been separated from Baptism and became one of the seven ‘official’ sacraments of the Catholic Church. For many Western Christians, this practice has remained in place and the three Sacraments of Initiation are celebrated at different points in people’s lives. 3rd Bullet point: for us in the Melbourne Diocese, the three Sacraments of Initiation remain separated but in other parts of Australia, that is not the case. Of course we can debate the merits of that but for the purposes of this session, let’s accept the way it is.

5 The Sacraments of Initiation
“Baptism is the sacrament of faith.” We are renewed and regenerated through the waters of Baptism We experience a new birth in the Holy Spirit (CCC) Baptism Eucharist means ‘to give thanks’ A participatory ritual of worship Connects us with the mystery of the life and death of Jesus “source and summit of the Christian Life” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) Eucharist Confirms our Baptism and strengthens Baptismal grace (CCC) “A special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost” (CCC) Unites us to Christ, connects us with the Church more closely Confirmation CCC: Catechism of the Catholic Church

6 The link between Baptism and Confirmation
All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their Helper and Guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord. This prayer said by the Bishop for the candidates summarises the intimate connection between Baptism and Confirmation. The gift of the Holy Spirit has already been freely given to us through our Baptism and this prayer reminds us that we already belong to God. The image of Holy Spirit as helper and guide is beautiful – a voice that can help us make decisions and choices, that can help us discern right from wrong, that can guide us to stand up for what we believe in and try and understand others, and open us to the wonder and awe of God as we find Him in our lives and our world.

7 What does Confirmation ask of us?
To be open to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives To make a commitment to continue with the journey of our Christian faith as full members of the Church To strive to deepen our awareness of bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth and act on it! Faith seeking understanding – our life’s work Openness is REALLY important. Confirmation is not magic! The bishop cannot confer the graces of Confirmation on us if we are not open to them and willing to embrace them in our lives. We have already been gifted with the Spirit and this sacrament is a strengthening of that gift. The gifts of the Spirit are gifts we may already have. What we are now asked to do is act on them, use them, share them with others. What are the seven gifts? Awe and wonder, courage, right judgement, wisdom, understanding, reverence, knowledge The commitment made is an on-going one. Our Church recognises the need to renew that commitment each year during Lent when we are called to conversion and a change of heart. Ask your children about the Lenten promises or action they have committed to for this year. Confirmation is not the end point of our journey but another significant step. We never stop developing and deepening our faith – the process is part of being human. We are constantly adjusting our ideas about life, what’s important, how to live a ‘good’ life. Our life experiences can challenge what we are sure of, or affirm it. The process of Initiation into the Christian faith is life long, and we are never finished. Confirmation is one more step in this journey and comes at a significant time for our Year 6 students as their lives are about to change emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually. Readiness is an issue that can cause much debate. When are we ever ready to make that full commitment to Christ? Tom Elich who works in the Brisbane Diocese has addressed this issue by taking about three aspects that can help our young people to be ‘ready’ for this step of Confirmation: “being at home in the Church (not just the building, within the community also) being immersed in an environment of faith (part of the conversation, values we live by, the way we relate to each other – are we living our the Gospel values in our families and school?) A rapport with the Church (certainly built through our school with close parish/school links, vibrant liturgies, rapport with Fr Joe)

8 The Rite of Confirmation
Presentation of the candidates Homily Renewal of Baptismal promises Laying on of hands and prayer Anointing with chrism General Intercessions (Prayers of the Faithful) The Rite of Confirmation should take place within the Mass so that after the rite, the candidates and their families can then share the Eucharistic meal together. This helps also to connect the Eucharist with Confirmation as Sacraments of Initiation. The homily should enlighten the candidates in regards to what they are about to experience and how the sacrament can enrich their lives. It should give a context to the ceremony, reflect on the scripture and remind the candidates that they have the support of the whole Catholic community the world over in this step in their journey. The renewal of Baptismal promises is another link between the two sacraments. At Baptism, the promised were made by you and the Godparents on behalf of your child, now the candidates get to make their promises. The laying on of hands is an ancient biblical action and links us with the very early followers on Jesus as they bestowed the gift of the Spirit. The action of the bishop here is apostolic. The bishop traces a cross on the forehead of the candidate and says the words “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”. This is the seal of the HS on the candidate, an indelible mark that the candidate will always wear. During the anointing, the sponsor also places his/her hand on the shoulder of the candidate and this symbolises both the support of the sponsor and the support of the community for the candidate. The General Intercession link us with the world wide Church and those in our own community who need support. It focuses our attention back to the practicalities an challenges of everyday life.

9 Which gift is your strength? Which gift do you need most?

10 Holy Spirit Community School
Vision Statement    “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22 Holy Spirit Community School seeks to develop the Fruits of the Spirit by … Developing a sense of belonging where love of and respect for oneself, family, community (local and global) and our Earth will be nurtured, a love of learning fostered and individual needs recognised in an inclusive environment. Working towards a deep knowledge of our students so that through personal reflection, prayer, knowledge of scripture and the example we (staff and parent/s) aspire to set in the school and wider community, faith is demonstrated as relevant to their lives today. Actively promoting a sense of peace through the advocacy of justice, compassion, equity and reconciliation where honesty and open communication will be valued. Challenging and nurturing all individuals to grow through balancing their lives spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, academically and socially in a constantly changing world.

11 Bibliography Boff, Leonardo. Sacraments of Life: Life of Sacraments
Bibliography Boff, Leonardo. Sacraments of Life: Life of Sacraments. Washington D.C: The Pastoral Press, Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St. Paul, Elich, Tom. “Confirmed in the Faith of Baptism.” Liturgy News (March 1990). Elich, Tom. “Young Children and the Sacraments: Practical notes for parish sacramental preparation and celebration.” Liturgy News (June 1990). Knox, Ian C.S.Sp. Theology for Teachers. Ontario: Novalis, Reehorst, Jane. B.V.M. Guided Meditation for Children: How to Teach Children to Pray Using Scripture. Iowa: Religious Education Division, 1986.

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