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Confirmation Letters

By Mother Laurie Garramone-Rohr, Coordinator for Christian Education

Here’s one: “I started out like a normal child, going to church on Sundays, [and] repeating my prayers before bed.” Or how about this one: “I used to see church as something I had to attend; something my parents made me go to. I had to sing in the choir, go to Sunday School and there were no excuses. I saw the sermons [as] boring and the songs even more tedious.” Think of those as the before picture.

Now read the rest of the story: “My church has done so much to open my eyes to how amazing it can be to have the Lord in your life. It’s one of the most fulfilling and awesome feelings you can ever experience.” Or this excerpt: “Now that I have begun my life in Christ it is time that I confirm my faith in front of my family in Christ and begin my life as an adult in the church. I know that God has a plan down the road. I know that it might not always be smooth but I pray that he gives me the strength to not just stick with it but to find my joy and gladness in him in hard times.”

These are small parts of letters written by some of the young people at St. George’s Church in Clifton Park. As part of their confirmation journey, they are asked to do several things including going on some type of a mission trip (this year they went to Mexico), beginning and continuing a ministry at the church, and finally, writing a letter to the Bishop confirming or telling him about their faith journey and their ministry in the church. A total of twelve teenagers wrote letters to confirm their faith to Bishop Bill, and the letters were so moving that he read parts of them during the service. I find myself wanting to put huge chunks of them into this article so you can continue to read the inspiring, genuine and spirit-filled testimonies they contain, but I have a better idea. Do this in your parish. Ask your students to write letters to your priest (or the Bishop) explaining why this is the right time for them to confirm their faith before God, and asking for the Holy Spirit to enter their lives in a new way.

Flowered stationery, handwritten notes, long typed missives, poor grammar, bad spelling, strong emotions, excitement, prayers—every letter was personal and genuine. The letters went to the Bishop just as they were received. And that’s how these young men and women stood before him on November 3, 2007. Some had ties on, some had sneakers, and some had both. It wasn’t about the clothes or the hairstyle, it wasn’t about perfection but it was about holiness and sincerity. The blessing is that they are loved by God just the way they are, but now they are choosing to find out more about who He wants them to be. It still gives me goosebumps to remember how each of them stood before the Bishop and looked at him as he spoke to them, and then how they bowed their heads for his blessing.

“I enjoy volunteering at the soup kitchen.” “I really felt called to do music as a ministry.” “I will continue to show my faith and spread God’s love by worshiping, acolyting, and going on more missions in the future.” How amazing that these teens are able to articulate their faith so clearly. Their journeys have not all been easy, but their joy is contagious, isn’t it?

One young lady helped me see how easy it is for us to judge students by their behavior instead of by their hearts: “Sometimes adults wonder how can a group of teenagers be so crazy for God, and yet be so troublesome at the same time. We do crazy things in the youth group, but all of those crazy things always lead back to one thing: God.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all say the same thing?

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