To begin transitioning to the new age for confirmation in our diocese (grade 6), the following form is being provided for you to complete and return as soon as possible. Along with this, we are providing information that we hope will be helpful to you and answer most questions that may arise.
Please complete this form online to communicate your plans related to Confirmation formation. This will also impact the scheduling of Confirmation Masses for the foreseeable future. The information you provide will initiate the scheduling process for Confirmation Masses and will be shared between the Offices of Divine Worship/Confirmation Scheduling, Catechesis and Faith Formation, and Youth Ministry.
Please be aware that there will be a significant increase in confirmandi for these few years of transition to a lower age of Confirmation reception. Please consider this as we work with all parishes to accommodate everyone. Some classes/groups of students will not be able to receive confirmation immediately following the time they complete formation classes. If there is a gap in the time between formation classes and the reception of Confirmation, it may be beneficial to the students to have a day of reflection or a few classes close to the reception of the sacrament.
Please complete this form by February 9th, if possible.
If you want to preview the form before completing it online, Confirmation Feedback Form Questions.
Don’t hesitate to contact one of the following people if you have difficulty completing the form, have questions about formation, or have any other questions. It would be our pleasure to help.
Questions about scheduling your Confirmation ceremony – Deacon Ralph Wehner (816) 714-2334 firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum or implementation questions – Marc Cardaronella (816) 714-2325 email@example.com / Brad Horn (816) 714-2374 firstname.lastname@example.org
Planned workshops for Spring 2024
Workshop: Confirmation Retreats
Thursday, March 21 – Chancery 10am-Noon & Zoom (online only) 7:00-8:30 pm.
Saturday, April 13, St. Joseph (location TBD) 10am-Noon
Workshop: Confirmation Curricula (overview of the four recommended programs)
Thursday, April 18 – Chancery 10am-Noon & Zoom (online only) 7:00-8:30 pm.
Workshop: Engaging Parents through The Way
Monday, April 29 – Chancery 10am-Noon & Zoom (online only) 7:00-8:30 pm.
Implementation Information on The Way
What is the origin of this initiative?
The Youth to Young Adult Initiative emerged from the Visioning Process, which began five years ago. The guiding vision, One Family: Restored in Christ, Equipped for Mission, included the goal to “Craft a Comprehensive Youth to Young Adult Initiative by November 2022.” COVID delayed our efforts for a year, but the goal has come to fruition now in The Way.
The idea was to develop a cohesive, integrated path of faith formation for children from infancy to young adulthood. It would be related to the Clear Path for Discipleship initiative that created the same structure for parish ministries.
We particularly wanted to pay attention to the “gaps,” places of transition between age groups where children often fell away and did not continue. The ultimate goal was to lead children to become disciples of Jesus Christ at an early age and build a solid foundation of faith that would last a lifetime.
We divided implementation into three subcommittees to evaluate best practices for different age ranges: children ages 0-11, teens ages 12-18, and young adults ages 19-25. A committee was formed later to discuss lowering the age of Confirmation.
- Several priorities became immediately evident from the committee discussions.
- Parents need to be an integral part of their children’s faith formation, but they need help
- Montessori developmental stages were key to understanding the child’s discipleship journey
- A means for measuring and evaluating clear formation objectives was necessary
- Invitation to discipleship needed to be a regular part of children’s formation
- It must include events designed to create faith experiences, encounters with Jesus, and lasting memories, such as retreats and days of reflection.
As we shift to the lower age for Confirmation in our diocese, our offices are ready to help parishes and Catholic schools begin to offer formation for the 6th-grade reception of Confirmation.
We recommend several curriculum options for this grade level. We will also offer training workshops and individual consulting. Decisions about who will instruct students are left to the pastor with consultation with the principal (where applicable).
Recommended Curricula Designed for 6th Grade Confirmation Preparation
- Sealed in Fire — Sophia Institute for Teachers: Designed for Grades 5-8
- Confirmed for Mission — Catholic Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, Office of Religious Education: Designed for Grades 5-7 (English/Spanish)
- Chosen — Ascension Press: Designed for Grades 6-12 (English/Spanish)
- YDisciple Never Alone: Life with the Holy Spirit & YDisciple Bible Study: Also available on formed.org
How long do we have to lower the age for reception of Confirmation at our parish?
Implementation of Confirmation Age may take several years and may vary by parish/school. The expectation is to have full implementation of 6th-grade Confirmation preparation and reception by the year 2027. It can be done more quickly at the pastor’s discretion.
In the Fall of 2024, every parish should begin this process by creating a 6th-grade Confirmation class. For the rest of this explanation, we will use the term parish to include Catholic schools that may be offering Confirmation preparation in their 6th-grade classroom instruction.
Parishes that wish to implement this slowly using the entire time available will continue to have a 9th-grade Confirmation class, which can include any remaining 10th-grade students. A parish that does this can have all students above 6th grade receive Confirmation by holding 6th and 9th grade classes through 2026.
They would then drop the 9th-grade offering and only offer 6th-grade preparation in Fall 2027. In the long term, there will need to be a way to accommodate the needs of any students who may miss Confirmation in the 6th-grade timing for various reasons.
Parishes that wish to implement this more quickly can do so by combining grades. For example, in Fall 2024, parishes could offer 6th-grade classes and 7th-8th and 9th-10th grade classes. If this were done, the main class to be offered in 2025 would be 6th grade.
Each pastor and principal may work this out with consultation from their formation staff, which could be accomplished in various ways. The diocesan staff supporting this initiative (The Office of Domestic Church and Discipleship) are available for consultation and guidance.
|Starting in Fall of
|The 2024, 7th grade students
|will be in 9th grade
|(only exceptions for grade 7+)
What training and resources will the diocese provide to prepare and train parish catechists and school teachers?
Diocesan staff will provide a variety of workshops and resources. The directors and coordinators in the Office of the Domestic Church and Discipleship are also available to answer questions and provide consulting.
Training and resources will include:
- Develop a set of learning objectives for Confirmation preparation in addition to the curricula provided above. This will allow catechetical leaders and Catholic school teachers to plan the appropriate lessons using their existing textbooks.
- Create discipleship stage guides so parents and educators know the best practices for engaging children at each developmental level.
- Develop discussion guides to help parents have meaningful conversations with their children about important and often difficult issues.
- Conduct workshops on new teaching methods related to discipleship principles.
- Continue ongoing support for parishes and schools through meetings, seminars, and individual consultations, including a Youth Ministry After Confirmation workshop in Fall 2024.
How does lowering the age of Confirmation affect the role of the high school youth minister?
Lowering the Confirmation age moves Confirmation preparation out of the high school youth ministry realm. It will remain the pastor’s decision whether to include Confirmation Preparation under the duties of the youth minister.
However, regardless of the youth minister’s involvement with Confirmation Preparation going forward, youth ministers are crucial to this initiative’s success. As the parish advocate for young people, youth ministers have an essential role in meeting the five basic needs of teenagers:
- The need to be understood
- The need to belong
- The need to be transparent
- The need for critical thinking about faith and life
- The need for guidance
To effectively meet these basic needs, the youth ministers require the aid of the entire parish – parents, pastors, adult ministry leaders, and parishioners. While directly engaging the youth is the primary focus of youth ministry, it also encompasses forming the adults in each young person’s life.
Therefore, we hope that this initiative will provide youth ministers greater freedom in their efforts as missionary disciples to form young people through a variety of ways, including but not limited to – accompanying parents as the primary catechists to their children, training and forming adults as spiritual mentors to young people, venturing beyond the walls of the parish to meet young people in their daily environments and collaborating with other parish ministry leaders to include youth participation in parish activities outside the youth group.
What will Youth Ministry look like without Confirmation prep?
By disassociating Confirmation Preparation from the context of high school youth ministry, the needs of each youth can now be defined primarily by their place in the evangelization process and not by the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation. This will require youth ministries to devote more resources towards discipleship initiatives, focusing on intentionally accompanying each youth in their faith journey.
While catechesis is indispensable, evangelization should be the energizing core of youth-related efforts within a comprehensive youth ministry. We hope the parish community will embrace the mission of youth evangelization and assist the youth minister in this ministry of accompaniment.
What will parishes and schools need to do to support parents?
A few things do not require much, if any, work on the part of parish or school staff. This initiative will provide materials for parents to use at no cost. These will be digital PDFs of things like parent and child conversation guides and other resources. Parishes and Schools will need to ensure digital distribution of these materials occurs.
The “3rd Grade –Holy Family Year” will include the “Do It Yourself Family Retreat” and consecration to the Holy Family, which will require the parish/school to provide some support and guidance to parents or guardians.
The Family Guide for The Way: Youth to Young Adult Initiative will also continue to be available (at no cost) to distribute to parents at the baptism of their infant, enrollment in parish or school formation, upon first-time registration when needed.
Other things like resources from Catholic publishers and diocesan-offered retreats will involve some cost to be covered by parents, though each parish/school is free to cover some or all those costs if they wish. Some things will need to be done by parishes and schools.
Hosting “Invitation Retreats” to ensure that parents hear the Gospel message with an invitation to respond is an essential part of this plan, which should occur at least once for each family or guardian. Ideally, this will occur before or during the child’s 2nd grade year of formation as part of their preparation for First Confession and First Holy Communion.
Parishes implementing the Clear Path Process will likely already have these retreats in the form of Conversion Greenhouses. If your parish does not already have these retreats or corresponding programs, it should be offered no later than the 2025-2026 school year.
In the past and current policy for Confirmation, preparation includes a retreat or day of reflection offered by the parish or diocese. This will now occur in the 6th grade Confirmation preparation year.
What support does the Office of Youth Ministry provide regarding Confirmation Retreats in 6th grade?
Since the Office of Youth Ministry has experience creating and running Confirmation retreats, workshops will be offered on constructing a fruitful retreat outline and training in engaging youth through a retreat or day of reflection.
The Office of Youth Ministry will also collaborate with the Office of Catechesis and Faith Formation to provide activity and discussion guide resources for candidates, parents, and sponsors for these retreats or days of reflection.
When will materials and retreats be available?
Confirmation preparation will be the most immediate need. Learning objectives and guides for Confirmation prep should be done in the spring to allow time for planning in the Fall.
The first set of parent discussion guides will become available towards the end of the 2023-2024 school year. Parish confirmation retreat templates and training will be available for Fall 2024.
Continue doing sacramental preparation retreats and other events for First Reconciliation and First Communion as you have always done.
Implementation of Family Year events and materials will start with the Good Shepherd Year “1st grade” in Fall 2024. Materials for the remaining years will be available as implementation continues.