Among the many questions the COVID-19 pandemic brought to Zoe Apodaca’s life this year was — “will I still be Confirmed?”
The Highland teen had to wait for this important milestone in her faith life, but it finally came — in a slightly different setting — on Aug. 4. She and 13 others received the Sacrament on an athletic field at The Holy Name of Jesus Parish, joined by a small contingency of family and friends.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen this year,” Zoe admitted. “But this was very nice. It went pretty smoothly.”
All over the diocese teenagers (and some adults) are experiencing a new normal of Confirmation Masses as parishes follow safety and social distancing directives to prevent the spread of the virus.
“It definitely was weird, like not what I was expecting,” said Jaden Vasquez-Smith, a parishioner of St. Paul the Apostle in Chino Hills. She and 20 others were confirmed Aug. 4 in the parish courtyard. “I was still happy that I was able to be confirmed even under these circumstances and just to feel closer to God and to make that final step to be with him.”
After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, Confirmation Masses previously scheduled to begin following Easter were postponed. On July 20, the diocese issued guidelines for the celebration of outdoor Confirmation Masses, including the stipulation that no more than 100 people may attend, six-foot social distancing is maintained, and face coverings are worn by all.
The 100-person limit will require parishes to hold many more Confirmation Masses. In the first two weeks of August St. Paul the Apostle has scheduled 13 Masses to confirm its 221 teens and more than 46 adults. In response, Bishop Gerald Barnes issued a decree allowing parish pastors and administrators to fully confer the sacrament of Confirmation upon youth for the period of July 21 through October 21. Bishop Barnes, Coadjutor Bishop Alberto Rojas and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Rutilio del Riego are still active in celebrating Confirmation Masses….
This year approximately 5,600 youth and 2,100 adults were scheduled to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the diocese.
The above comes from an early August story in the Inland Catholic Byte.
90% of the teens confirmed will leave the Catholic faith by the time they are in college. The Church has lost at least 85% of those under 45 who were raised Catholic. It’s not improving. Whose fault is it?
What kind of a Catholic asks whose fault it is? You are supposed to think its yours. Did you not learn Catholic guilt?
Don’t pastors confirm new entrants at Easter Vigil in ‘regular’ years.
Yes but that has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.
It is truly right and just that Bishop Barnes has made provision for his flock to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. May these Catholics, filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, embrace their new roles as Soldiers of Christ. The Church needs their participation as spiritual battles rage on every front. God Bless them as they were born for such a time as this!
Pious words that ignore the reality I posted about: 90% of teens leave the church. It’s about a 50% drop immediately after receiving Confirmation. You never see many of the kids at church again after they’ve been confirmed. So what good is it doing? What good is the two-year instructional program doing? I know some here don’t like my insistence that we look for and get results. But results are where the rubber meets the road. You can’t drive a car without wheels. The wheels are coming off the church.
Sadly, your numbers are probably right on. In our parish, the teens preparing for Confirmation are required to attend preparation courses, frequently on a Saturday. Afterwards, they attend the Vigil Mass as a group. For many years now, we have sat near them and noted that they do not sing the hymns, nor do they know even basic responses such as, “And with your spirit,” nor do they say the Confiteor, nor sing the Gloria, nor even know when to stand, sit or kneel. It is painfully apparent that they do not attend Mass, or rarely do so.
You should not be confirming people who do not attend Mass every Sunday.
The proper order of the sacraments of initiation is Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion. I think only one diocese in the US is doing it that way.
Pastors should know their parishioners better. This is what Pope Francis is talking about with his call of accompaniment of families.
I talked about that at a parish meeting once and the millennials and Gen Xers just laughed. If you are old enough to remember, not just the priest knew all the families but all the families knew each other.
Kevin T, yes the statistics are grim when it comes to retaining teens in the Church. The reasons are many, one is that kids do not receive the graces of Confirmation until they are older teens. They need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit earlier in life to help protect them from the ravages of today’s world.
Typically, the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality is the flash point for most teens who understand or care little for her wisdom.
Just because the fight is hard doesn’t mean we don’t try.
What would your plan of action be, Kevin T?
Kevin, your question/statement is legitimate. What do you propose?
I propose we pray and seek to evangelize young people and all people.
We need to abandon Confirmation programs that do not work. Try another one and, if that doesn’t work, at least you’ll two programs that don’t work.
A classic definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
And, ultimately, no program is the solution, only a Person, the Person, Jesus, with the Holy Spirit and the Father can do what needs to be done. Let’s be open and do our parts. And, I have seen God change the lives of people, young and old.
Kristin, this was an excellent post. I love your positivity.
This is a good thing. When bishops are unable to have large confirmation ceremonies, it’s appropriate that such be delegated to pastors. And, mike m is correct, this is typically done at the Easter Vigil by pastors. Usually, those being confirmed know and have at least some relationship with their pastor. This seems a much better idea than having it delegated to some monsignor from the chancery who usually has little or no relationships with those in the parish.
I was baptized Methodist at seven by my grandparents and went to Sunday School. Looking back I see how even a Methodist baptism and training – they were stricter back then — changed my behavior for the better. Later I became a Catholic with permission from my mother and stepfather, but my Protestant uncle was unhappy with the situation, and I was given anti Catholic material and ended up confused and out of the Church for a time. Gradually I made my way back as I just could not find the full truth any place else, nor in another religion. God has his own timetable for those truly searching for him.