Director of Formation
office: 262.781.3480, Ext. 252
It's Time For A Change
Let’s be candid, the way the church has been doing Confirmation preparation has not been effective. Research shows that within seven years of being confirmed, 85% of young people stop practicing their faith. While we await specific statistics, studies have revealed that GenZ [birth years roughly 1997 – 2012] is less religious than Millennials [birth years roughly 1981 – 1996] (Barna, 2018). We know that only 7% of Millennials raised in the Catholic faith still actively practice our faith today.
We can't ignore the fact that something must be done to address this issue at our parish. Our parish vision statement challenges us to be “a leader in the Archdiocese.” So, this past year we submitted a proposal to the Archdiocese to let us conduct a trial on a new confirmation process. While they applauded our approach, they didn’t give us permission to confirm students outside of the current age requirements.
We went ahead with implementing the structure of the process with this past year’s candidates. This affirmed that the new content was good. We went back to the drawing board to see how we could take this concept further. Based on feedback from candidates, parents, and core team members, we are excited to dramatically change the way we do confirmation preparation.
An overview of this new process is below! Current juniors and sophomores are grandfathered into our current junior year program. To help avoid confusion, we have created separate pages for students and their families who are participating in our confirmation processes. These pages go into greater detail on the respective process you will participate in.
We don't earn the Sacrament of Confirmation by participating in a program, the Sacrament is the result of God working in our lives. We are excited to have a Confirmation Journey that starts freshman year of High School.
All high school students, regardless if they attend Catholic school, private school, or public school, participate in our discipleship semester during the fall semester of freshman year. This provides students with support as they transition schools and provides them the foundation for living their faith. This is followed by a time of discernment where teens put the habits learned into practice. Their core team member meets once a semester with them to guide them during this discernment period.
Once a candidate discerns they would like to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, they will "apply" for the Sacrament and enter the immediate preparation process.
This new process moves a bulk of a “traditional” confirmation program to freshman year. The Discipleship Semester covers the same habits of discipleship our current junior year process covers, but puts these important lessons at a transformative time in a young person’s life.
After completion of the discipleship semester, students enter a discernment period in which students should put the habits they learned into practice. Core team members will continue to meet with the students once a semester during this discernment process to help our students develop and carry out their plan for growth.
When seeking to apply for the immediate confirmation process (junior year), the interview will pay special attention to how teens have grown in these habits since freshman year.
The discipleship semester is a prerequisite for all high school students to apply for our immediate confirmation preparation process in junior year. This semester takes the place of traditional confirmation preparation you may be familiar with at other parishes. Therefore Catholic school students are not exempt from the discipleship semester if they desire to seek the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The discipleship semester focuses on the habits of living the faith (discipleship) and lasts a full semester. It is designed intentionally for first-semester high school freshman, but other high school students can participate in it. This semester takes the place of traditional confirmation preparation you may be familiar with at other parishes. That is why it is a prerequisite for all high school students to participate in the immediate process.
The immediate preparation process takes place junior or senior year after the discernment process. This will take the format of either:
- One Large Group Session and a Weekend Retreat OR
- Four (4) Half-Day Retreats
These sessions will focus specifically on the Sacrament of Confirmation along with the gifts of the Holy Spirit in preparation to receive the Sacrament.
Just as college students "apply" for graduation to signify their intent to graduate, students who have discerned that they desire to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation apply for the immediate preparation process.
During this process, students reflect on their growth since the discipleship semester and their desire to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This process includes an interview with a member of the clergy or our Director of Formation.
The Confirmation Retreat Experience is the cornerstone of our confirmation journey. It is intentionally placed at the beginning 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 does not count.
In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, students must be 16 years of age and in junior year of high school to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. As a result, many parishes offer confirmation preparation as a year-long program during junior year. We recognize junior year is a busy year for our students, which is one reason we have implemented this new process.
Candidates who discern they would like to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation during their junior or senior year of high school can apply in the fall to participate in the immediate preparation process that spring. This immediate process will unfold during February and March, with either a large group session and a second retreat experience, or four half-day retreats at the parish. After the immediate preparation process, candidates will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
We are glad you asked! There are many ways to participate in the confirmation process 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 as a core team member or be a host family for a small group.
Core Team members meet their group on the encounter retreat and accompany them in the confirmation journey. This includes leading the small group sessions and meeting for one-on-ones during the discernment process. All materials are provided, including training and on-going support.
Host Families open up their homes during the discipleship semester to provide a warm and welcoming environment for teens to explore their faith.
Both Core Team Members and Host Families must complete the Safe Environment Education Training. For more information on how you can share your gifts and talents, please contact Andrew today!