Chosen (Catch-Up Program)
Are you a high school student (or the parent of a high school student) who “missed” receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in 8th grade? Well you’re in luck! This year, we’re kicking off a new initiative to help high school students prepare to receive Confirmation. By using the “Chosen” program, high school students will have the opportunity to form relationships with a small group of their peers while growing in faith and formation as they journey toward Confirmation.
Parents of eligible students should email Kait (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Please reach out to Kait as soon as possible to ensure your student is on track to receive Confirmation in the spring of 2020.
- October Session
- November Session
- December Session
- January Session
- February Session
- March Session
- April Session
- May Session
What is my role as a parent in Confirmation?
Your role is indispensable. While your child’s sponsor will help him or her prepare for Confirmation and offer encouragement to continue to grow in faith, as parents you are your child’s primary educators in the faith. This role began at your child’s Baptism, and it continues throughout his or her adolescence and young adult life. The Catechism calls the family “the domestic Church” because it is primarily within the family that your child will learn how to live the teachings of Jesus, which lead to eternal life. The two most important ways you can help form your child in the faith are to practice your faith and pray. Regardless of your faith practice up to this point, God is calling you now to a deeper relationship with him and the Church. It has been said, “The Church is not a museum of saints, but is a hospital for sinners.” So do not be afraid if you do not feel up to the task to leading your child closer to Christ. If necessary, renew your commitment to participate more fully in the life of the Church, through attending Mass every Sunday, going to Confession regularly, engaging in some form of service, and praying consistently for an increase of God’s grace in your life and the life of your family.
Your role as a parent in your child’s faith formation does not end with his or her Confirmation. Your prayers and personal example can exert a powerful impact on your child for his or her whole life. Accept the challenge—and it is a challenge—to establish a family habit of discussing faith, morals, and spiritual growth. Consider furthering your own religious education during your son or daughter’s sacramental preparation. Attend an adult faith-formation event or program at your parish, go on a retreat, or seek some solid reading material about Catholic life and faith.
Why do we need to attend Mass every week?
Having a parent who is personally committed to prayer and is participating in the sacramental life of the Church can have a profound effect on a teenager and can provide an important example that will stay with him or her for life. For this reason, and for your own spiritual well-being, make weekly Mass and regular Confession a priority in your family. Sadly, many Catholics do not attend Mass every Sunday, mission out on the most vital, basic element in the life of faith. A lack of commitment to Sunday mass has many serious consequences. Failure to attend Sunday Mass disregards the third commandment to “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day” as well as Jesus’ command to “do this in remembrance of me.” These are not merely suggestions, but commandments that call us to full, conscious, and active participation in Mass every Sunday.
When we do not attend Mass, we miss receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our Catholic faith. We miss out on the immeasurable grace given to us when we receive Holy Communion. At Mass, Jesus offers himself to us. God humbles himself and gathers our works, joys, and sufferings and transforms them. We are united to God’s love in the most powerful way. What could possibly be more important?
What can you do to make attendance at Sunday mass more of a focal point of your family life? If you have not been attending regularly, make a fresh start by going to Confession and Mass together, followed by a special meal at home or in a restaurant. If you already attend church on a weekly basis, thank about what you can do to help your family get more out of the experience. Go online and find the Mass readings for that week at USCCB.org, and read them together at dinner or before bedtime. Encourage your child to share his or her thoughts about the homily or weekly Scripture readings. Share your journey toward Confirmation with your teen. What was your preparation process like? How did your experience impact your faith and relationship with the Holy Spirit? Do you have any pictures or videos from your Confirmation you can share?
Why is going to Confession important? What if I have not gone in a long time?
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we confess our sins to God through the priest, who has been given the authority to ac with the very authority of Christ himself. In Confession, the priest lends his whole being to Christ so that we may have the powerful experience of seeing and hearing, in the words of absolution, that our sins have been forgiven, and that our relationship with Christ and the Church has been restored. By requiring us to confess any serious sins to a priest, the Church is simply fulfilling the task Jesus gave to the apostles to forgive sins. Reassure your son or daughter that the seal of Confession is absolute. The Church binds the priest to absolute secrecy about any sins revealed to him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation even under the threat of imprisonment, physical injury, or death. A priest who breaks the sacramental seal incurs an automatic excommunication. So, don’t be afraid—you can return this week, even today, and experience for yourself how going to Confession will strengthen your own personal commitment to Christ. Again, consider your child’s Confirmation preparation as an invitation for you to grow spiritually. If possible, make a regular habit of going to Confession as a family. This will help you grow closer spiritually.
What if I don’t know how to answer a question?
In the midst of our increasingly secular culture, raising children in the Catholic faith can be a daunting and intimidating task. If you feel inadequate in your own faith life, see your child’s Confirmation as an opportunity for deeper conversion—to become who God has called you to be. Consider that God may be calling you to examine your own heart as you assist your son or daughter in preparation for this sacrament. Do not feel that you need a theology degree or that you need a spotless past to fulfill your parental mission. No one is as equipped as you are to be the spiritual leader of your child, simply by virtue of the fact that you are his or her parent. If you are authentic, your son or daughter will see your efforts and the importance you place on living the faith—thought imperfectly (as we all do)—and that will impact him or her more deeply than a lot of well-spoken theology.
That said, it’s important to take your child’s questions seriously, and you should know that it is relatively easy to discover what the Church teaches on any particular topic today. The Internet is a wonderful tool. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as other sources, will help you to deepen your knowledge of the faith, to answer questions you have, and to recommend ways you can guide your child to legitimate sources of Catholic teaching. Pray often for your children, and keep your own eyes fixed on Jesus. Don’t be afraid if you are not perfect. As you research the answers you need for your son or daughter, prayerfully ask God to enlighten the minds and hearts of your entire family. You are all on the same journey toward heaven, and it’s important to slow down and help one another over the bumps in the road. If you’re unable to resolve an issue, consider making an appointment with your pastor, a deacon, or your director of faith formation to discuss it.
How can I communicate with my son or daughter about Jesus, faith, and moral issues?
Listen. Whether your child has simple questions about the faith or loud objections to it, you need to listen genuinely to his or her concerns before you can answer them effectively. The best doctors devote a lot of time to observing and listening to their patients before they make a diagnosis or prescribe a treatment; parents should do the same with their children’s questions. As you may know from experience, conversations with teenagers can easily become impassioned. When this happens, neither side hears the other or feels heard. Resolve to listen without interrupting, and allow your son or daughter to ask questions openly. Teens sometimes ask questions that may seem crude or silly to adults, but you should assume every question is sincere and that your child may not yet have learned how to express questions about particular issues in a mature way. Your gestures of respect will foster real conversation. Avoid conversation-ending statements such as, “That’s just how it is,” or “You just have to believe it because that’s what the Church teaches.”
Witness. As Pope Paul VI observed, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” This is especially true between parents and children. Witnessing to God’s work in your personal life is more powerful than an “academic” lesson. Share your own experience in the life of faith. Be honest. Avoid presenting yourself as an expert, as a know-it-all, or as someone who never makes mistakes. Teenagers, despite their own often inconsistent behavior, are keen observers of others and will know whether you believe and live what you say.
Point to Christ and the Church. Remind your child that the Catholic faith is not your personal opinion, but the divinely revealed truth. Encourage your son or daughter to examine this truth by directing him or her to Scripture, the Catechism, and the lives of the saints.
Pray. Again, prayer is essential. Christ himself, the highest authority of all, attested to the power of prayer: “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). Jesus does not promise every prayer will be answered instantly or even quickly, nor does he say that every prayer will be answered in accordance with our hopes or expectations. We need to remember that God’s ways are not our ways, and that he answers every prayer in his time and in accord with his will.
Mon, Nov 4, 2019 @ 6:00 pm in the St. Timothy Room
At our November session, we covered two topics: 1) Why am I here? 2) What makes me happy? This week, we’ll highlight the themes and conversation starters from “Why am I here?”:
Why am I here? Depending on the student, this question may be answered several different ways. Naturally, most teens attend this program to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, as their final Sacrament of Initiation into the Catholic Faith. Some teens approach this sacrament eagerly; others are compelled by their parents, with varying degrees of willingness, and may be looking forward to “graduating” from religious education. Chosen has been developed to meet the needs of both types of students.
The question posed in the title of this introductory lesson also hints at its primary purpose: to convey that the journey of faith in general (and thus, of Confirmation preparation in particular) is not just something we “do on the side” of real life, but that it has everything to do with discovering the very meaning of life itself and learning how to live it to the full.
To the degree that you, as a parent, are both welcoming and respectful of this process of discovery (asking the Holy Spirit to speak to and soften the heart of your son or daughter with the truth of the gospel), you have an opportunity to be part of a profound transformation in the life of your teen.
A crucial part of this process of transformation is for your teen to discover the communal aspect of Christian life and to experience your patience, willingness to listen, and true concern for him or her. This is all a part of “pre-evangelization,” engaging the audience “where they are” in order to prepare them for true evangelization – that is, bringing them to where God wants them to be.
November Conversation Starters:
1. Why do you think this program is called Chosen? What does being chosen have to do with Confirmation?
2. What were some of the personal goals that came up in this month’s session? What were yours?
Mon, Jan 6 , 2020 @ 6:00 pm in the St. Timothy Room
What's your story, God?
During the first half of our January Session, we introduced teens to an overview of salvation history. We begin the story by addressing the question, “How could a good God allow so much suffering and evil?” We explore the goodness of God’s creation, how sin and evil entered the world, and God’s redemptive plan (the “plot” of salvation history), which centered in the person and work of Christ and the establishment of the Church.
Here, we move forward from “pre-evangelization” to authentic “evangelization”, introducing students to the kerygma – the proclamation of the gospel message that invites a response.
"What's your story, God?" Conversation Starters:
What is salvation history?
If you could have lived at any time in salvation history, who would you want to meet and why?
How is the human family like the Trinity?
How do I know God is real?
In the first half of our session, we talked about salvation history. The purpose of the second half was to focus on the ways in which God makes himself known to us and how we should respond to what he has revealed. We examine the relationship between faith and reason and how both of these things – properly understood – bring us to a right understanding of the truth. We also highlight the profoundly intimate nature of faith, which his an act of surrender to the God who first gave himself to us.
In school, in their communities, and through the media, teens are bombarded with the idea that there is no such thing as objective moral or spiritual truth, but that these things are “relative” to what each person thinks. As a result of this “relativism” (which Pope Francis identified as the “spiritual poverty of our time”), faith and morals have been reduced to a personal opinion or sentiment rather than reality: “Jesus is God for me.” “Abortion is immoral to the Catholic Church.”
As students grow in understanding of Catholicism, they will need to move toward a truly adult approach to the faith, based on full intellectual assent to the teachings of the Church – which are valid not merely because they are our traditions, but because they are what God has revealed as true.
"How do I know God is real?" Conversation Starters:
How can someone know God through nature? How does nature speak to you about God?
What are two important ways God has revealed himself to us?
If your friend asks you a question about the Catholic Church that you cannot answer, what is a good way to find out the answer?
Mon, Feb 3 , 2020 @ 6:00 pm in the St. Timothy Room
Who is Jesus? During the first half of our session, we answered this fundamental question while also addressing other basic questions like: "Was Jesus real?" and "Did he really claim to be God?" The person, nature, and work of Christ - from his Incarnation to his Second Coming - is at the center of the Catholic Faith. Christ is the model for how we are to live; he is the one who saves us from our sin and gives us the hope of eternal life. He is the fullness of revelation about God and is himself God in the flesh. Jesus, then, is the only way to find lasting peace and freedom.
Teenagers will have a variety of responses to the question, "Who is Jesus?" Living in a pos-Christian society, surrounded by a dizzying panorama of "creeds" and worldviews, teens need to be challenged to remember the words of the Lord: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
"Who is Jesus?" Conversation Starters:
- This week, you talked about how Jesus could not have been just a "good man" because he claimed to be God. That leaves three options: 1) he knew he was lying, 2) he fooled himself into believing a lie (that is, he was crazy)... or 3) he really was God. Which do you think is most likely and why?
- If Jesus were coming over for dinner, what would you ask him?
- Why do you think Jesus came to the earth? Why didn't God just drop the Bible from the sky? (Spoilers: The Catechism lists four reasons Christ became man: 1) to remove sin and reconcile us to God, 2) to show us just how much God loves us 3) to show us how to live, and 4) to fill us with his divine life (CCC 456-460)).
Why be Catholic? The Church makes the salvation story our story, here and now. Through the Church, we encounter Christ in the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in the other sacraments, and through other people. The Church is called the "bride of Christ" and the "body of Christ" because Jesus loves us and wants to unite himself to us (CCC 789).
While developing and maintaining a personal relationship with Christ is fundamental to our faith journey, we are reminded that to follow Christ is also to be in communion with others. It is not something we do alone - we have a personal relationship in context of our communal relationship. it is in and through the Church, Christ's body, that we find communion.
"Why be Catholic?" Conversation Starters:
- Why do you think it is important to be Catholic? What makes the Catholic faith unique?
- Which of the four marks of the Catholic Church seems most important to you and why? (The four marks of the Church are that she is one, holy, catholic (meaning universal), and apostolic - CCC 811-812).
- If a friend invited you to skip Mass to attend a Protestant service instead, why would that not be a good idea? What do you receive at Mass that you cannot get anywhere else?
Mon, Mar 3 , 2020 @ 6:00 pm in the St. Timothy Room
How do I get there?
The purpose of this lesson is to review the place of the sacraments in Christian life. Each of the sacraments has a physical or tangible component, but unlike other signs and symbols we encounter in life, that which is signified by the sacraments actually occurs (CCC 774). For example, in Baptism, the water signifies the "washing away" of Original Sin and of being born into God's family. The person goes into the water to show that he or she is "dying" with Christ and rises from the water as a sign of "rising to new life." In Baptism (as in all the sacraments), the physical sing also confers the grace of all these spiritual realities.
Human beings are the culmination and the crown of God's creation: we differ from animals, which do not have rational souls (CCC 363, 1703, 2258). We also differ from angels which are pure spirits. And because we possess both bodies and rational souls, God reveals himself to us and encounters us through the physical world - beginning with the Incarnation and continuing today by the imparting of his divine life to us through the sacraments of the Church. In this lesson, we encouraged teens to consider the importance of the sacraments in his or her life, including how Confirmation will affect his or her life and how he or she will continue to "grow in grace" even after receiving the sacrament.
"How do I get there?" Conversation Starters:
What is a sacrament and how many can you name? (Spoilers: A sacrament is an efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church [CCC 1131]. The seven sacraments are: 1. Baptism, 2. Reconciliation (or confession or penance), 3. Eucharist (or communion), 4. Confirmation, 5. Holy Orders, 6. Matrimony (marriage), 7. Anointing of the Sick (formally: Extreme Unction, informally: Last Rites).)
What memories do you have from your first Confession and First Holy Communion?
How do sacraments help us become stronger in living out our faith?
When did my journey begin?
The purpose of this lesson is to help your son or daughter appreciate the significance and importance of his or her Baptism. Through washing and regeneration, the waters of Baptism make us children of God and mark the first step in our journey toward our final home in the kingdom of God.
The imagery of Baptism is found in Creation; in Noah's ark (where eight souls are saved "through water"); in the escape of the Hebrews under Moses from captivity by crossing the Red Sea; and in the crossing of the Jordan by God's chosen people in order to enter into the "Promised Land" (CCC 1217-1222). By understanding the symbolism and significance of this rite in their lives, teens will be encouraged to think of the salvation story more definitively as their story.
"When did my journey begin?" Conversation Starters:
What happens when someone is baptized? (Spoilers: There are two primary effects: 1. washing/cleansing and 2. regeneration/rising to new life (CCC 1262))
What would you say to someone who had a baby but was going to wait until the child was older so he or she could decide for himself or herself whether to be Baptized? How does Baptism benefit even infants?
Being part of a family involves both benefits and responsibilities. What are some of the benefits and responsibilities we have as part of God's family?
Session Cancelled: Mon, Apr 6 , 2020 @ 6:00 pm in the St. Timothy Room
Although this session was cancelled, please feel free to review the content we had planned to cover and have a conversation at home with your candidate and family:
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The purpose of this lesson is to encourage teens to understand who the Holy Spirit is and to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
The "Age of the Spirit" began at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended to lead them "to all the truth" (John 16:13) as the apostles built up the Church all over the world. However, the Holy Spirit (like God the Father and God the Son) has no beginning or end; he was present at Creation, has worked throughout salvation history, enters us at Baptism, and seals each person at Confirmation with an indelible mark, empowering him or her with all that is necessary to accomplish the task God has in store.
"Who is the Holy Spirit?" Conversation Starters:
Why do we need the Holy Spirit? (Spoilers: The Holy Spirit, which we receive initially at Baptism, is God's life within our souls, empowering us to be holy and to fulfill God's will in our lives. The Spirit guides and animates the church, giving i the power to act as one body and proclaim God's truth to the world.)
What is Pentecost? (Spoilers: This event was when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and empowered them to begin preaching the gospel throughout the whole world - see Acts 2)
Why is the Holy Spirit sometimes called the "hidden Person of the Trinity"? (Spoilers: The Holy Spirit helps us to be holy, but as a silent strength within us. As the beating heart that keeps the Church alive from within, the Holy Spirit helps each of us to do our appointed job within the Chruch - see CCC 687, 702)
Why have I been chosen?
The purpose of this lesson is to help teens prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and to see it not as the end of their spiritual formation, but as the beginning of a whole new life in Christ.
In this lesson, we will see how this sacrament completes Christian initiation and is necessary to deepen and complete the graces we received at Baptism. The Rite of Confirmation is explained and candidates are reminded to prepare seriously for the sacrament.
"Why have I been chosen?" Conversation Starters:
How do you feel about receiving Confirmation?
Confirmation is known as the sacrament of Christian maturity (CCC 1308). How has your understanding of the faith changed in the past few years? How has it changed in the past few months?
In what areas do you think you still need to learn or grow in order to continue on your journey of faith?
How do you think you will be different after Confirmation?
Session Cancelled: Mon, May 4 , 2020 @ 6:00 pm in the St. Timothy Room
Although this session was cancelled, please feel free to review the content we had planned to cover and have a conversation at home with your candidate and family:
Are you talking to me?
The purpose of this lesson is to instill a hunger in the heart of your teen to get to know God (and not simply to know about God) through prayer. As St. Therese of Lisieux observed in her Autobiography, "For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trail and joy" (CCC2558).
Our Catholic tradition has many different ways to approach God in prayer, including verbal prayer (both spontaneous and drawn from the treasury of the saints), meditation, and contemplation (CCC 2700-2719). Through prayers of blessing and adoration, petition (also called supplication), intercession, thanksgiving, and praise, we experience God both through personal prayer and as a people of God, especially in the liturgy (CCC 2626-2643).
"Are you talking to me?" Conversation Starters:
Do you pray regularly? How and when?
Why is it important to pray every day and not jsut when you have a problem?
What is the difference between knowing God and knowing about him?
If someone asked you to show them how to pray - say they had a big problem and needed God to help them - what would you say?
Where do I go from here?
The purpose of this lesson is to conclude the program by offering a final call to the life of discipleship as your son or daughter makes final preparations to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
As the title of the program suggests, each of us has been Chosen by God to follow Jesus and to spread his kingdom individually and through our participation in the body of Christ. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we are invited to embark on a mature phase of our relationship with Christ, in which the seeds that were planted at Confirmation and watered and pruned through the other sacraments begin to blossom and bear fruit in the kingdom of God. In the past lessons, we have explored how the teachings of the Church prepare us to enter into that mature life of faith. Now we will focus on the question, "What's next...?"
"Where do I go from here?" Conversation Starters:
You have completed the Chosen journey. How was the overall experience? What are some things you learned that really stand out for you?
Do you feel more ready to be confirmed? How so?
Obviously, Confirmation is not graduation from the Church, so what can you do to continue your journey of faith?
Sponsor for Confirmation
We are asking Candidates to have chosen their sponsor by January 15. In order to secure a spot as sponsor, two items must be completed:
- Candidate/family must complete the online form found at the bottom of this page.
- If sponsor is *not* registered at St. Paul Parish, sponsor must request/obtain from their home parish a letter of eligibility for sponsorship.
Please note the following:
- Eligibility requirements for sponsors are listed below. Siblings who meet the requirements may serve a a sponsor. Parents may not.
- If a sponsor is not able to attend the Confirmation Celebration for some reason, a proxy sponsor may be chosen. The same requirements of eligibility apply to the person chosen as a proxy. If a proxy is necessary, please contact Kait directly (email@example.com)
Requirements for Sponsors:
According to Canon Laws (cc. 872-874, 893:1), sponsors for the sacrament of Confirmation must be:
- 16 years of age or older
- Fully initiated Catholic (having received Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist)
- Leading a life in conformity with the faith and the role of a sponsor
- Not bound by a canonical penalty (e.g., invalid marriage)
- Not a parent of the one to be confirmed
Additionally the sponsor may be:
- The same as the sponsor (or godparent) for Baptism
- Male or female (i.e., female candidates may have male sponsors; male candidates may have female sponsors)
Confirmation NameHere are some details about the choice of a name for Confirmation.
- May retain baptismal name or choose new name (Diocese of Trenton. Parish Religious Education Administration Manual, Section 507:A. rev. 2012).
- New name must be name of a recognized saint of the Church (Diocese of Trenton. Parish Religious Education Administration Manual, Section 507:A. rev. 2012).
- Newly chosen name does not need to be gender consistent (Diocese of Trenton. Parish Religious Education Administration Manual, Section 507:C. rev. 2012).
Please note: Candidates choose ONE name for Confirmation. For example:
My name is Kaitlyn Christine. When I was confirmed, I took the name Rose. I was confirmed as "Rose" (not "Kaitlyn Rose"). Had I chosen to retain my baptismal name, I would need to specify whether I would use "Kaitlyn" OR "Christine" as my Confirmation name. There is only one Confirmation name. When candidates receive their confirmation certificate, it will have their first name, confirmation name (if different than their first name), and last name.
This year’s Confirmation program is a tremendous success and we can't do it without those who worked so hard with us throughout the entire year. We want to continue to grow for the 2018-2019 year and are offering vary ways for parishioners to support our Candidates with different degrees of time and commitment. Training and support is offered for all of the positions - if you feel God calling you to any one of these roles but are intimidated due to lack of experience, step out in faith and trust God (and the training!) will equip you for these ministries! Anyone interested (don’t worry! You’re not committing to anything yet!) please email Kait (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(for teens and adults)
Teens - You can do this! Any high school teens (entering 9-12th grade this fall) are strongly encouraged to consider serving in this capacity. Teen leaders facilitate a discussion with their small group of Candidates at each of our sessions (questions/topics provided in advance). Service hours available.
Adults - You have the easy job! Each small group will have an adult leader as well as their teen leader. Adults are responsible for taking attendance at each group meeting and general supervision. Adults are also asked to help support the teen leader in the facilitation of the discussion.
Being a part of the leadership team is the biggest commitment there is to make to our program. We’re looking for dedicated group leaders who will prioritize our monthly sessions. If you feel called to this ministry but aren’t able to commit, please contact Kait about the possibility of being a substitute leader.
We need some prayer warriors on our side! This team would get together (at their convenience) prior to each of our sessions to offer prayer for the Candidates, for the Leadership Team, and for all involved in our program. This is the most important team that we’re assembling this year and likely the most flexible in regards to time commitment. Please conducer making a commitment to pray for us in a very intentional way as we embark on another year of preparation.