Don’t waste my time!
That’s my attitude when I go to mandatory meetings these days: “This had better
not be a waste of my time.”
Time is precious for busy adults. It’s an insult to them to waste their time at sacramental
preparation parent or sponsor meetings going over all the details that you’re also giving them on handouts.
They’re adults who are coming with their own experiences, their own knowledge, their own needs and their own
questions. It is most respectful when you plan a gathering that takes these things into consideration.
A person really shouldn’t assume that folks are coming with a common understanding when
it comes to the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the case of a Confirmation sponsor meeting, it makes sense to make sure
that everyone is on the same page since Confirmation is celebrated at different ages and is explained in different ways,
even from parish to parish and diocese to diocese. Preparation processes and requirements reflect these differences.
Inviting participants to reflect on their own experiences of Confirmation and, most especially,
their experiences of the Holy Spirit’s action in their lives is a good way to make the session (and the sacrament)
“real” for the sponsors. A meaningful reflection would lead them through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to see
where they experience each one of these gifts in their personal lives and in their faith community.
Once sponsors have connected with the sacrament and the Spirit, it’s time to connect them to
their candidates. What are their candidates learning? Where are they developmentally? What are they required to do to
prepare to celebrate Confirmation? What is the timeline of the parish’s preparation process? What are they as
sponsors required to do? What are they as sponsors encouraged to do?
I know I’ve mentioned before that one of the highlights of my past year has been serving
as a Confirmation sponsor for two special young women in my life. My friend and neighbor, Teresa, was confirmed in April.
My niece and goddaughter , Brittany, will be confirmed in late October. Both parishes—one in Ohio, the other in
Indiana—required and helped facilitate sponsor-candidate sharing on the topics covered in the preparation processes.
I talk and write about my faith all the time, but it’s different initiating one-on-one
faith sharing with a quiet 14 year old. I really appreciated the requirement and assistance the parishes gave us in
connecting on faith topics. I met with Teresa at one of our homes. Brittany and I did most of our communication via e-mail.
What each parish asked us to do was different but the intent was the same: to talk together about our faith lives.
I not only grew closer to these two girls through our sharing but also learned that some sort of regular, required
sponsor-candidate interaction with specific tasks or questions helps people make a faith connection.
I’ve selected a clip from the teaching segment of Handing on the Faith: Forming Confirmation Sponsors
to share with you (RealMedia
| Windows Media
This video was designed to help catechetical leaders offer Confirmation sponsors formation that’s not a waste of their time.
Its four segments (story, witness, teaching and music video [prayer]) can be used separately or together to enhance a sponsor
meeting that’s tailored to the needs of your candidates’ sponsors. Those looking for more specific instruction on
the Sacrament of Confirmation itself will also find useful the video Sealed With God’s Spirit: Sacrament of Confirmation
This video also contains a fantastic story segment that can be used as a discussion starter when candidates and sponsors come together for a formation
event or retreat.
Remember, make every sacramental preparation meeting for parents and sponsors a true adult faith-formation gathering.
Consider the needs of those participating. Be creative in helping facilitate faith connections between sponsors and candidates.
And don’t waste anybody’s time—theirs or yours!