Will you dare to be different? That is the charge Bishop George Rassas gave the confirmands at St. Francis de Sales last weekend. Not an open seat, his words filled the hearts and hopefully the minds of the sophomores making their confirmation. Will they resist the distractions they face each day: people convincing them to drink, to do drugs, to be negative, to cheat? it was an extremely positive message to give all of them (and their siblings), when it is so easy to say “yes” and follow their peers.
Will you use your gift to make a difference? We know–even if they are not aware of it yet–that they all have talents they can share with the less fortunate. There are so many opportunities to share themselves now, and perhaps some will choose to be in a giving profession such a education, health services, business, repair.
Keep the faith alive! Will they be willing to speak about their church, about their Catholic beliefs?
Though Catholic, I do not consider myself a religious person, but a spiritual one. I do appreciate many of the beliefs of the church, and admire the traditions of the church. It can be comforting to sit through mass, no electronics, no distractions. And this confirmation showed the true spirit of the church to me. All the well-dressed kids were with the families and sponsors, nervous but smiling, waiting patiently. Candles lit from student to student, readings and homily,song, then they received the sacrament from the bishop.
We know several families who belong to St. Francis who send their children from middle school to another religious ed program, so they can receive confirmation in eighth grade. These are the same people who send their kids to Catholic high school, who sit in the front row of the church each week. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. Our church has made this program fairly easy to complete, combining once a month classes with a contemporary mass, an energizing and contemplative retreat, and then the ability to be confirmed with their classmates, their friends. Then let them be fully aware of what they are doing, when they receive confirmation.
It was a beautiful service, an inspiring Bishop’s talk that I hope will be remembered and heeded by the students. And maybe we adults should take some of his advice. It isn’t too late for us to dare to speak our minds, to share our gifts with our families, our neighbors, our community. Thanks for the reminder. C