At parishes like Corpus Christi in Corona, youth are reconnecting with their faith through confirmation preparation. The series of sessions, retreats and service opportunities inspire confidence and serve as moments of conversion for the youth.
Throughout the confirmation season, which began in April and will continue through the beginning of June, about 5,200 youth and 1,700 adults will receive the sacrament of confirmation in more than 100 ceremonies presided by either Bishop Gerald Barnes; Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego; Monsignor Gerard Lopez, S.T.L., Vicar General; Monsignor Tom Wallace, E.V. or Father Romeo Seleccion, M.S., E.V.
Franco paid special attention when the class reviewed Catholic morality and found many of the values expressed in Catholicism matched his own. Through that connection, he says he began to mature in his faith.
After his confirmation, Franco hopes to join the parish’s core team, a group of youth and young adults who help in the parish’s faith formation programs and retreats.
“I want to share how this program changed my life and how it can change theirs, too,” Franco said.
While many fight the urge to be apathetic toward their faith while attending preparation for confirmation sessions, some youth take advantage of this time to find a place where they belong.
At an early age Mario Nuñez paid more attention to things that would grant him immediate gratification. Tempted by many harmful habits that teens are confronted with, Nuñez spent many years living an unhealthy life, he says. He wanted to change but was not sure how, so he turned to the Church.
During his years in the confirmation program Nuñez began to understand that he was not alone and had a community that cared for him. Finding friendship in the catechists and youth, he turned to them for help in overcoming obstacles and embracing a healthier lifestyle.
“People have always said I can’t do it, I can’t be better,” Nuñez said. “I see now that I can do it with the help of God.”
Nuñez credits his retreat experience as the moment that cemented his new outlook on life. A focal point for the retreat at Corpus Christi offers youth the opportunity to encounter Jesus through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
“I could feel the presence of God in me,” Nuñez said. “I felt something in me. I was tearing up and I didn’t know why.”
Through his experience, Nuñez realized the saint he had chosen to model his life after had a greater significance than he first realized.
“I chose Saint Peter and I know that’s me,” he said. “Jesus gave Peter another chance. He did the same for me.”
Following his confirmation, he plans on committing himself to being more active in parish life and participate in youth events at the parish.
Francesca Medrano said she thought confirmation would be just another class and was not expecting to get much out of the experience, but that quickly changed when she started interacting with her catechist.
“I started seeing God in my life. It helped me see how He did so much for me,” Medrano said.
Medrano credits her experience in Adoration as a powerful conversion moment in her formation.
“Adoration opened so many doors,” Medrano said. “There’s not just one way to talk to Him, there’s many ways. I see myself lectoring at youth masses now and continuing to spread the word.”
Sponsor Emilia Diaz hopes to foster Medrano’s zeal for her faith after confirmation.
“I see a maturity and growth in Francesca,” said Emilia Diaz. “I see the Spirit moving in her.”