By Susan Janowicz
The Sacrament of Confirmation completes and seals the grace received in Baptism. In Confirmation the Holy Spirit bring us closer to Christ and into a closer relationship with the Church. Confirmation helps us be a witness to our faith in what we say and do by giving us the strength to live out and act on our beliefs.
The journey of preparation for this Sacrament leads the candidate to review many of the truths learned, deepen the understanding of how Confirmation is linked to both Baptism and the Eucharist to complete Christian Initiation, and consider how the Holy Spirit can help in choosing wisely and acting responsibly, staying tuned to the Spirit’s voice and obeying it faithfully.
This past month, our Diocese had over two thousand adults receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Each of these adults has been on a unique journey leading to his/her Confirmation and giving hope to the Church. The Holy Spirit is among us and guides us from the time of Pentecost to the present day.
We have just celebrated another adult Confirmation and once again I am struck with amazement of being able to witness the Holy Spirit at work. The interesting class interactions, our retreat, and Monsignor Gerard Lopez’s powerful homily at Confirmation all tied together preparing our confirmandi to go make a difference in the communities in which they live.
Over the years I have served as a catechist. I never cease to be amazed and humbled by the changes and growth in faith I am privileged to see in our students. This year our class consisted of people from different stages of life from 30 to 60 years of age, singles and married couples, professionals who struggled to get to class due to their busy schedules, and parents trying to get their children fed and cared for so they could attend class every week.
There are many personal stories of faith our catechetical team has had the privilege to witness. However, in reflecting on this catechetical year, one young family comes to mind as a testament of a real commitment and desire for this Sacrament. This couple came to us in the middle of an unfolding tragedy, caring for a beloved mother who was dying. Not only was this family confronted by the challenges of arranging care for their children while at class, they were also trying to be present to their mom and her needs while continuing to be faithful to the process necessary for their Confirmation. Sadly, during the course of the year their mother passed away. They continued to come to class. What a blessing and witness it was to have them present with us. It provided an opportunity to be able to journey with them through their tremendous grief. This act of commitment was a real witness to everyone. We were thankful that we could be a part of this important moment in their life. It also seemed that this moment of grief helped all of us grow in faith by their witness of faithfulness and love.
The miracle came after Confirmation when they shared with us that they were expecting a baby and they wanted to volunteer to help with the next class of Confirmation! We are blessed! It also showed us that catechesis occurs not only by proclaiming The Word through the teachings of the Church but by being present in the day-to-day experiences of our students’ lives.
Susan Janowicz is a Master Catechist at Our Lady of the Desert Parish in Apple Valley.