Confirmation Journey

In Fall of 2020 we started this new confirmation process that addressed growing concerns from parents about the stresses of Junior Year and national trends surrounding confirmation preparation. Information about our process, which starts Freshman Year, is below.  A few classes were grandfathered into our old process during the transition.  If you are a high school student in the class of 2022 or 2023 seeking the Sacrament of Confirmation, please follow the below link to information about your confirmation journey.

Class of 2022 & 2023 Confirmation Process

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).  Confirmation is not a "graduation from religious education" or a rite of passage during high school.

Preparing for any Sacrament involves both Remote Preparation and Immediate Preparation. Remote Preparation involves instruction and development of the basic knowledge and skills needed to succeed in any endeavor. For example, remote preparation for the game of basketball would include learning the skills of running, shooting, passing, and dribbling. For the faith, this includes a regular pursuit of our parish’s mission statement: Seek Christ, Know Christ, Become Christ.  

Remote Preparation features an intensive semester (like a sports camp) to focus on instilling the skills followed by a discernment period. This discernment period is a time for candidates to prayerfully reflect on whether they desire to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation while continuing to develop the habits of discipleship.

Immediate Preparation is the process for students who have discerned that they desire to seek the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Immediate Preparation involves instruction in and practice of the specific skills pertaining to a particular endeavor. In basketball, this would include the rules of the game, running plays, and planning for various game situations. For Confirmation, this includes instruction about the Sacrament itself, its effects on the soul, and how to cooperate with the grace it imparts.

Stage 1. Remote preparation

Remote Preparation begins Freshman Year of high school and accompanies students in their pursuit of our parish’s mission statement: Seek Christ, Know Christ, Become Christ...
Remote Preparation starts with a semester long intensive process. This process is uniquely designed to help students grow in the habits of living our faith while transitioning into their new school community. As such, it is offered annually during the Fall Semester (August - December). 

Online Registration: Registration for Fall 2021 opens in June.

Seek ChristRemote Preparation includes a full-weekend retreat that provides teens with the opportunity to seek and encounter Christ. Candidates reflect on their relationship with God and the different ways God interacts with us in our daily lives. Students must be able to attend the entire retreat. Students are not allowed to arrive late or leave early.  

Fall 2020 Dates: 
Rescheduled due to Covid
Fall 2021 Dates: TBA

Know Christ:  Remote preparation focuses on the Habits of Discipleship - the basic skills of living our faith (Prayer, Worship, Sacraments, Community, and Service).  The confirmation process has students join weekly small group communities of peers with 1-2 core team members to discuss and develop these habits in their lives.  Sign-up for these small groups happens in mid-August.

Initial One-On-One: At the completion of the small group sessions, the core team member will schedule a one-on-one meeting with each member of their small group. These meetings are held in public places. During this session, the student and core team member will develop a Discipleship Plan to help the student continue to grow in their relationship with Christ during the next stage of the process.

stage 2. discernment period

After completing the Discipleship Semester, teens move into the second stage of the process: the Discernment Period. The length of this period can vary on the individual: often lasting a year or longer.  During this time, students seek to Become Christ by further putting the habits of discipleship into practice. 

Besides attending Mass on Sunday (or the vigil Mass) and on Holy Days of Obligation, teens are to be participating in the following activities:
 - Life Teen and/or Summit
 - Campus Ministry (Catholic High Schools)
 - Retreats and Summer Camps
 - Mission Service (Community Service, Summer Mission Trip, etc.)
 - Ministry Service

One-on-Ones: To assist students during this stage, core team members will meet with students individually once a semester. These one-on-ones are held in a public place. Core team members will revisit the discipleship plan the students created and help students get connected or make adjustments to the plan as needed.

stage 3. Immediate Preparation

Students who have discerned they desire to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and meet the following criteria are eligible to enter into the third and final stage of the process: Immediate Preparation for the Sacrament. The criteria for the final stage include:
 - 16 years old and entering Junior year of High School
 - Completed Remote Preparation
 - Demonstrate further grown in the Habits of Discipleship.

Application Process: Teens desiring to enter the immediate preparation apply for the process, often during the fall of Junior year.  The application process includes a form to designate desire to enter this stage and an interview. The application process looks at how the student has grown as a disciple through the process.

Immediate Preparation: Immediate Preparation prepares a candidate to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.  This will be done either as four half-day sessions or a weekend retreat experience.  These sessions will examine the Sacrament itself and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

The process concludes with a rehearsal and reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Sign-Ups

Fall 2020 Registration (Closed)


Registration How-to Video
Small Group Sign-Up


Paperwork

Sponsor Letter of Reference

Resources

Orientation Session (Video)
Picking a Sponsor
Picking a Saint Name
List of (Awesome) Saint Names

Frequently Asked Questions

1. HOW IS THIS PROCESS DIFFERENT?

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 adult’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.

2. Is the discipleship semester required?

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.

3. discipleship semester vs immediate preparation

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 & 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.

4. 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. Students will meet in this small group during Stage One: The Discipleship Semester.

Ideally led by an adult leader and a confirmed high school mentor, each small group includes a maximum of 8 students.
Discipleship small groups meet on average three times a month for an hour and a half either at a host families’ home [FAQ #7] or at St. Dominic.  Students will sign up for groups in mid-August.

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

Candidates will receive an e-mail in August to sign-up for their small group.  We offer small groups at different times during the week to offer some variety to fit families schedules. Once that e-mail has gone out, the link on this page to sign up will also be unlocked.

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

Students in the Discipleship Semester will not be excused from completing any session. 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 calendar to see when other discipleship 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. 

7. 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.

8. 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 student's discipleship 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 TV with an HDMI port and Wifi.  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!

9. Why A Full Weekend retreat?

The Retreat Experience is the cornerstone of our confirmation process.  It is intentionally placed at the beginning of the discipleship 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.

10. 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.

11. When do candidates receive confirmation?

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 young adults, 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.

12. 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.

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

Director of Formation

Office: 262.781.3480, Ext. 252

Suzette Hildebrand

Formation & Human Concerns Assistant

Office: 262.781.3480, Ext. 226

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.

We are in need of core team members to help lead our small groups.  Training and all materials are provided.  If you would like to learn more about the Core Team, please arrange a time with Andrew to grab a cup of coffee (my treat!) and discuss further!