Confirmation

The Process

Like the Disciples at Pentecost, Confirmation is a Sacrament in which we receive a new deeper outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts in an extraordinary way. This process is an opportunity for teens to be "strengthened by power from heaven, made true witnesses of Christ in word and deed, and be bound more closely to the Church" (Apostolic Constitution). As such, our confirmation process is NOT a requirement to be Catholic, an entitlement, or a graduation from religious education.

"Behold, I am doing something new..." Isaiah 43:19

Confirmation process provides interested teens with a semester-long experience in which students are prepared to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and full initiation into the Catholic Church. Preparation includes regular mass attendance, small group meetings, service experiences, regular meetings with ones sponsor, a letter to the bishop, and a full weekend confirmation retreat. Our program focuses on the Sacrament of Confirmation, as well as various elements of what it means to be Catholic.

Application process

Whether you are ready for the confirmation process or still discerning, the application process signifies the first step of our process. The application process entails three steps:

Online Application: Signifies to the parish that you are ready to explore the Sacrament of Confirm

Pre-Process Statements: Pre-Process statements are to be separately completed by both the candidate and the parents via the online platform. These statements provide a glimpse of where a candidate is in their relationship with Christ entering into the process. These statements also lay the foundation for the pre-process interview.

Pre-Process Interview: Pre-Process interviews are for the candidate and at least one parent to discuss expectations for the confirmation process and ask questions about the process to a member of our team. Interviews are scheduled online (follow the link in the right sidebar).

Intensive Semester

Throughout the process, candidates are expected to be attending Mass on Sunday (or vigil Mass) and on Holy Days of Obligation.

During the application process, candidates select to participate in either the Fall or Spring Intensive Semester that serves as their immediate confirmation preparation.  During this semester you will meet weekly, either in your small group (3x a month) or in a 1:1 with your core team member (once a month). 

At the end of the intensive semester, candidates meet 1:1 with your core team member to process the experience and determine next steps. If you are ready to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, you will write a letter of intent to the bishop to receive the Sacrament. This is explained on the online platform, where you will submit a draft of your letter.

If a candidate is not ready to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, the core team member helps them develop a plan to continue preparation on an individual basis.  

Retreat

The Confirmation Retreat Experience is the cornerstone of our confirmation process.  It is intentionally placed at the beginning of the intensive semester to maximize the overall confirmation preparation experience. Candidates must be able to attend the entire retreat of their selected intensive. Candidates are not allowed to arrive late or leave early. Candidates who are unable to make the retreat experience will be moved to the intensive that corresponds with the retreat they can attend.

The confirmation retreat provides an environment for the candidates to get away from the many distractions in their lives and focus on their faith and relationship with God. 

Fall Intensive: September 13-15, 2019
Spring Intensive: January 31-February 2, 2020

Service

Service is an integral part of living our Christian faith.  Candidates are asked to participate in both one ministry and one mission experience.

Ministry is service to the Church. Candidates are asked to participate in one on-going (semester-long) ministry experience. This includes serving as a liturgical minister, peer leader for Edge or Life Teen, or catechist with Children's Ministry. Other opportunities can be presented to Andrew for approval. You sign-up for your ministry experience via the online platform, it does not need to be completed the same semester as your intensive.

Mission opportunities are service to the community, both locally and internationally.  Confirmation small groups participate in a local mission opportunity and process the importance of service together. This is built into their schedule. If you are unable to attend your small group's experience, you may join another group (with permission) or participate in an approved opportunity and reflect on the experience via the online platform.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the requirements to apply for the confirmation process?

To apply for the Confirmation Process, a student must be entering their junior year of high school. Students should be active in growing as a disciple via our discipleship process before applying. This may mean deferring confirmation until senior year.

2. What if my teen is not ready to be confirmed?

Ultimately, it is the candidate's choice to be confirmed.  However, we do provide the following guidance:

Beginning of the Process: As a parent, you can ask them to participate in the process with an open heart and make a decision at the end of the process. 

End of the Process: If your teen has reached the end of the process and decides they are not ready to receive the Sacrament, our staff will continue to walk with candidates until they reach a point of feeling ready to receive the sacrament or they elect to end the individual mentorship. 

3. What is a small group?  When do they meet?

Small groups provide the fuel that drives students to develop and grow in their relationship with God. Ideally led by an adult leader and a confirmed high school mentor, each small group includes a maximum of 10 students.

Confirmation small groups will meet on average three times a month for an hour and a half in a small group setting.  They will meet at different times of the week either at a host families’ home [FAQ #7] or at St. Dominic.  Students will sign up for groups in mid-August.

4. How do I sign-up for a small group?

Candidates will receive an e-mail in August to sign-up for their small group. Once that e-mail has gone out, the link on this page to sign up will also be unlocked.

5. What if I need to miss a small group?

Candidates will not be excused from completing any lesson. If for some reason you know you will not be able to attend your small group, please contact your leader ASAP.  You should then consult our confirmation calendar to see when other confirmation small groups are meeting and what lesson they are covering and attend their small group by emailing that small group leader at least two days in advance that you are coming. NOTE: Your small group may be the last one covering that lesson and may need to go to another small group in advance of your absence.

Candidates are only allowed to go to another small group two (2) times. A large part of the process is forming a community with your small group built on trust. Constant absences from your small group robs you of that ability, and visiting another small group can disrupt their discussion since they have not built that trust with you. 

6. How are small group leaders selected?

Small group leaders apply to be a part of our Core Team. Each member goes through an interview/approval process that includes completion of the "Safeguarding All of God's Family" Program and a background check every five years.

The Core Team meets monthly to pray for the teens, grow as leaders and in their faith, and discuss issues related to our ministries. They also attend a yearly retreat.

7. What are host families?

In order to provide a warm atmosphere for our confirmation process, we are looking for some families willing to host their candidate’s confirmation small group and their Core Team member in their home.  The Core Team member will run the night; the host family provides a welcoming space for the group to meet that has a DVD player and a TV.  You can alternate dates with one other family. If interested in being a host family, please check the box on the registration form. All adults (18+) living in the household must be (or become) safe environment trained, including a background check. Thank you in advance for your support!

8. Why A Full Weekend retreat?

The Confirmation Retreat Experience is the cornerstone of our confirmation process.  It is intentionally placed at the beginning of the intensive semester to maximize the overall confirmation preparation experience. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee requires attendance on a full weekend Confirmation specific retreat.  Therefore participation on another retreat via Life Teen or Catholic High Schools do not count.

9. What if I need to arrive late or leave the retreat early?

Due to the nature of the retreat, we do not allow teens to arrive late or leave early.  In select cases, an exception may be made by Andrew on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact our office ASAP to schedule a time to meet with Andrew.

10. What if I have a conflict with the retreat weekend?

We would recommend participating in a different intensive period since the retreat experience at the beginning is an essential part of the semester-intensive format.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee requires attendance on a full weekend Confirmation specific retreat.  Therefore participation on another retreat via Life Teen or Catholic High Schools do not count.

11. How many service hours do candidates need to complete?

The Confirmation Process requires that candidates explore different forms of service in their lives.  We are more interested in the candidates growing as an individual and in their faith than just accumulating hours of service. Candidates are asked to participate in two different types of service experiences: ministry and mission.

Ministry is service to the Church. We ask candidates to participate in one on-going ministry experience. This includes serving as a liturgical minister, peer leader for Edge or Life Teen, or catechist with Children's Ministry. Other opportunities can be presented to Andrew for approval.

Missions are opportunities to service to the community, both locally and internationally.  Confirmation small groups participate in a local mission opportunity and process the importance of service together.

12. WHY DO CANDIDATES pICK a confirmation name?

Part of the richness of the Catholic faith is the Communion of Saints. The Communion of Saints is the spiritual solidarity which binds the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven. As part of the confirmation process candidates select members of the communion of saints to support them on their confirmation journey. One is our sponsor (faithful on earth) and the other is a recognized Saint (in heaven).

The name a candidate selects is the name they are presented to the bishop as and confirmed by.

Candidates will learn about their patron (with assistance from their mentor) with a focus on the virtues of their patron they wish to emulate.

Candidates will pray for the intercession of this Saint throughout the process.

13. What is the role of a confirmation sponsor?

A sponsor is someone who journeys with the candidate during his/her preparation for the sacrament. In making this choice, the church recognizes that one’s sponsor is a partner in his/her formation, and asks him/her to be conscious of the sponsor’s influence, trusting they will act in the candidate’s best interests and in Jesus’ name. The sponsor will be asked to formally present the candidate to the Bishop at the Rite of Confirmation. More information about picking a sponsor is available here.

14. What are the requirements of a confirmation sponsor?

A sponsor must be a practicing Catholic who has been fully initiated into the Church (has been Confirmed), at least 16 years old, but cannot be a candidate’s parent. Candidates will be asked to meet a few times during the year with their sponsor to discuss faith, ask questions, and talk about the confirmation process. ​​​

15. How can I, as a parent, get involved?

We are glad you asked! There are a lot of ways to participate in the fun as you experience your own spiritual growth through serving. Two major ways you can assist our ministries is to lead (or co-lead) a small group or be a host family for a small group. You can also ask your student’s small group leader how you can support him or her. Offer to provide snacks, or if the leader is looking to do a group service project you can help set up a trip or provide transportation to an outing.

16. Can a parent lead their student's small group?

Becoming a small group leader is a fun and exciting way to stay engaged with your own confirmation candidate. We absolutely encourage parents to become small group leaders—and, with our rapidly growing program, we need you—but we do not permit parents to lead their own children's confirmation small group. Some students need more space than others and are far more likely to be candid in small group discussions when parents are not present. We’ll help find the best fit for you, as well as the right place to maximize your student’s experience in the confirmation process.

17. What are the registration fees?

The fee for confirmation is $285. This includes the $135 student program fee and a $150 retreat fee. No one will be turned away due to financial stress, please contact us to discuss options.

18. What else is available to my teen?

All of our Life Teen ministries are open to all high school students.  Even as part of the confirmation program, teens are encouraged to take advantage of different service and social events, Sunday Night Life Teen, Summit Discipleship Group, retreats, mission trips, and camp. Teen disciples are encouraged to be leading their peers through the discipleship process while still growing in their faith. 

19. My teen may need an individualized plan to complete the confirmation process...

Please do not hesitate to contact Andrew and we will work with you to tailor a program more conducive to your child’s learning ability.

Sponsors

A sponsor is an individual who accompanies the candidate in their faith journey during and after his/her preparation for the sacrament. In making this choice, the church recognizes that one’s sponsor is a partner in his/her formation, and asks him/her to be conscious of the sponsor’s influence, trusting they will act in the candidate’s best interests and in Jesus’ name. The sponsor will be asked to formally present the candidate to the Bishop at the Rite of Confirmation. More information about picking a sponsor is available here.

Our Team

Our professional staff is a talented group of individuals trained in their perspective duties to give direction to the program and minister our teens and their parents. They also are responsible for training and ministering to the core team.

Andrew Schueller

Formation & Student Minister

Office: 262.781.3480

Suzette Hildebrand

Formation & Human Concerns Assistant

Office: 262.781.3480, Ext. 250

Our Core Team is literally at the core of everything we do. Our Core Team is a group of volunteer ministers who give their time and talents to accompany teens to seek Christ, know Christ, and become Christ. Very simply, a Core member's job is to share Jesus Christ with teens.Their job is relational ministry which shows teens that they are valued and loved by God.

If you feel like Core Team is something that you would like to join, please arrange a time with Andrew to grab a cup of coffee (my treat!) and discuss further!