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New Confirmation Process

 Dear Parents,

Greeting in the Lord!

 In baptism, your child was claimed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and became a child of God and a member of the Catholic Church.

As your child grew, he or she learned of the love of God in the “first school of faith, the family.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason, the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (Catechism No. 1666). 

Grade School:  When your child became of school age, the Church provided religious instruction through the parish religious education program or Catholic school. These programs guide your child in their formation in faith for their sacramental preparation of First Penance, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. The primary objective of this catechesis is to put your child into an intimate communion with Jesus Christ by knowing, loving and serving Him in this world to be happy with Him for all eternity.

Spiritual Journey:  This education, in conjunction with the domestic church, is more than simply learning about Jesus; it is a spiritual formation which challenges your child to become a model of the faith and a disciple of Christ for his/her lifetime. The Sacrament of Confirmation gives grace for this spiritual journey. 

Confirmation Study:  Over the past two years, the Archdiocese conducted a study regarding the school grades for Confirmation. Overwhelmingly, bishops, pastors, principals and directors of religious education noted there is a much better understanding of the Sacrament of Confirmation by older grade school students.

Study Results:  On June 29, 2017, after a presentation of the results of this study, the Council of Priests voted almost unanimously for the standard grade for the Sacrament of Confirmation to be grades 7 and/or 8 in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Over the summer, a consultation with the priests of the Archdiocese was conducted. This consultation supported the June 29th decision and on September 21, 2017 the Council of Priests again voted in favor of this change from the practice of Confirmation in grades 4, 5 or 6. On January 18, 2018, the Archbishop determined with the Council of Priests, that the new grades for the Sacrament of Confirmation are 7th and/or 8th grade.  

St. Norbert Decision:  Therefore, beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, only those parishes which presently confirm in Grades 7 and/or 8 will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. Parishes which presently confirm in Grades 4, 5, or 6, like Saint Norbert Parish, will adjust their schedule.

Moving forward, the Sacrament of Confirmation for St. Norbert students will be celebrated annually in the Fall of their 8th grade. The current 2017-2018 5th grade will be our next confirmation class when they are in 8th grade. The next Confirmation at St. Norbert Parish will be scheduled in the Fall of 2020. 

Equipted For The Journey:  As pastor, it is my desire for your child to be spiritually equipped to face the challenges of this world and bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Saint Norbert Parish is currently reviewing this change. We will notify you as soon as the actual preparation process timeline is finalized for eighth grade Confirmation. 

I am confident that this change, with your familial support, will allow for a deeper apprenticeship in the faith and stronger relationship with God for your child.

Sincerely in Christ,

Rev. Michael J. Lee, O.Praem., Pastor, St. Norbert Parish

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