Most of us have settled back into some kind of school-year routine by now. As we return to old routines and develop new ones for new situations, it’s a good time to reflect on the value of rituals in our lives, especially in our shared life of faith.
Don’t get me wrong, our religious rituals are far more than mere routines. But there is one significant common characteristic: Both follow regular patterns upon which we come to depend. These patterns can be helpful to us in moving through tasks or organizing our days (routines) and delving more deeply into the mystery of that which we are celebrating (rituals).
Our seven sacraments are our most significant rituals, those that, through signs and symbols, “make actively present the salvation wrought by Christ, and prefigure and anticipate the glory of heaven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church
, #1152). The Church uses the word efficacious
, meaning “producing the intended effect,” when it refers to the sacraments “because in them Christ himself is at work” (CCC
We have many opportunities to share the signs and symbols of our sacramental rites—whether that is with children in our Catholic schools or parish religious education programs, teens in youth ministry or Catholic high schools, or adults in RCIA or other forms of adult faith formation. Sacramental preparation of youth, parents and sponsors is one such opportunity.
The DVD program Initiation Sacraments for Young People
is a resource that contains three different programs for use in preparing youth for Baptism and Confirmation. I’ve selected a clip (Windows Media
) from the program The Spirit and Confirmation: Part 2
to share with you. Use it to help explain the rite’s signs and symbols to parents, sponsors and Confirmation candidates as they prepare to celebrate Confirmation. New catechists will benefit from this too!