Bishop Alberto Rojas
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Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Peace and wellbeing to you and your families. We are in the Confirmation Season still, and it is truly a joyous time for me and for so many young people and their families. I always enjoy conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation to the youth and the adults alike because it gives me a real sense of hope for our Church and for the world when I see people being willing to have a closer encounter with the Lord Jesus through the reception of the Holy Spirit; it brings new life and vitality to our Church. It is a sacred moment for me and an honor that fills me with gratitude to God.

Confirmation is usually accompanied by family celebrations and gifts; everyone is dressed up well, and at the end of the Mass they want photos to remember the moment; we see many smiling faces, and there’s a sense that this is a milestone in one’s journey of faith, which it truly is. The Sacraments of Initiation have been received and it could be said that one chapter in the spiritual journey has come to a close with Confirmation as they become full members of the Body of Christ, the Church. But it is not the end of the book! Unfortunately, some youth (and their families) may view Confirmation as a kind of graduation from the Catholic faith, or at least from the period of being engaged and formed in the faith, but Confirmation is not a graduation!

We need to understand that we don’t go through the Confirmation process just to reach an end, but to prepare to become a full and active participant in our Catholic faith, which is the next “chapter.” Our Church needs missionary disciples, it needs the gifts that God has given you, uniquely, to be offered in the service of His people. This is the serious responsibility that comes with being a Confirmed Catholic. I pray that our families continue to be the key supporters, teachers, and models of faith that they were on the journey to Confirmation. In that spirit, it is important for parents, grandparents, and siblings to continue this accompaniment after Confirmation – praying together, going to Mass, and sharing our faith and love for God and the Church.

Our parish communities also have a role to play in the nurturing of the newly Confirmed. How do we create an atmosphere of encouragement and invitation in our parishes so that our confirmed sisters and brothers can bring forth their gifts, experiences, and insights? How can we intentionally call them to ministry and provide ongoing formation and catechesis? This is a very important part of our practice of Synodality which has been unfolding in recent years.

The time immediately following Confirmation is sometimes referred to as mystagogia, a Greek word that translates to “initiation into the mysteries.” It is about the learning and reflection that was begun in the Confirmation process that must continue, at an even deeper level, in order for the person to grow in their relationship with God and participate in the community. Yet, it has been sadly noted that this time for some is marked by disillusionment and disengagement from our faith. We need to do all we can to prevent this!

So, I invite you to join me in prayer for all the newly confirmed in our diocese, that they will remain attentive to where and how God is calling them and that their arrival will be like that breath of the Holy Spirit that came at Pentecost, giving new life to our Church. I also ask that you reflect on your own role in the accompaniment of the newly confirmed in your family and/or your parish. We all have a role to play in this time of transition for our young Catholics; they are the present and the future of our Catholic Church.

Peace and blessings to all of you.