Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer
October 3, 2017 // Diocese

Candidates to be called to sainthood at retreat

Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer

Young people from around the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will gather at Marian High School in Mishawaka for this year’s confirmation retreat, an all-day event slated for Saturday, Oct. 14. Open to diocesan eighth-graders, the event will finalize their preparations to receive the sacrament of confirmation as they continue a lifelong journey with the Holy Spirit. The retreat will be a call to sainthood for its participants, and its focus will be on their knowledge and understanding of the sacrament.

The annual gathering of candidates is this year planned as more of a retreat than a rally. The day will begin with a morning prayer and the eucharistic celebration of the Mass by celebrant and homilist Father Jacob Meyer and concelebrant Father David Violi. The retreat will welcome students who are enrolled in Catholic schools, those who attend religious education classes but are enrolled in public schools, and those who are home-schooled. All of them will be challenged to live their Catholic faith daily, and the event will be an opportunity for them to experience the universal church within the diocese while learning about the sacrament of confirmation and the graces it bestows.

John Pratt, director of youth ministry for the diocese, said, “It is our hope that the candidates will encounter Christ through the sacraments and liturgy, prayer and the speakers, but also through the community they have with other faithful young people in our diocese. At the same time, we know the importance of having a schedule filled with opportunities for silence and excitement, for periods of learning and prayer. … We have incorporated time for silent adoration as well as scheduled games and activities that will help keep the day moving and engaging for our young people.” In addition, the group Indelible Mark will lend its talents in the arena of praise and worship music.

Among the day’s scheduled speakers are Father Eric Burgener, who will discuss confirmation’s vocational call, and Mary Jo Parrish, who will talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Pratt added, “We have a fantastic lineup of engaging priests, a mother of 10 children and the Catholic campus minister from Culver Academy, just to name a few. It is going to be an exciting day for the candidates of our diocese.”

Confirmation is the sacrament in which the faithful are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and strengthened on their faith journey. It is one of three sacraments of initiation and gives the fortitude to live with boldness the Catholic faith that was entered into at baptism. This is especially important for these new soldiers of Christ, who are about to face unique challenges as they enter young adulthood.

Parents should be assured that they are their child’s first catechists, and commended for making the upcoming retreat a priority in sacramental preparation. In addition, they can provide loving support to their children as they make a personal commitment to Christ at this pivotal time in their lives. The aim of the confirmation retreat is to provide the opportunity for young people to deepen and strengthen their relationship with Christ.

“We want to holistically meet the young men and women of our diocese where they are … in an effort to bring them to a deeper love for Christ, the Church and the sacrament they are about to receive,” Pratt concluded. With God’s grace, the retreat will be a memorable, Spirit-filled day for diocesan youth.

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