Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What is the "right" age for Confirmation?

As we are celebrating the octave of Pentecost, the question comes up what is the age for Confirmation? My priest and I were having this discussion this morning. He has seen the changes take place with regard to it being done in the 8th grade as opposed to the 11th grade. I am doing preparation for 11th graders and for anyone who has dealt with this age group, it is difficult at best. Actually I can appreciate the arguments for both sides. Are we losing the kids in 11th grade because they are too consumed with the secular world and need the "armor" of the Holy Spirit prior to this age? Or is 8th grade too young for them to fully appreciate what the power of the Holy Spirit has to offer them in fighting the evils of the world? I don't think 8th grade is too young, in fact I think in this day and age we might want to catch these kids at 5th grade. Our archdiocese has a program called "Calling all 5th graders" which is designed to promote vocations to the 5th graders because studies have shown that 5th graders are the most interested in their faith and vocations at this age. Having taught 5th grade religion I can honestly say that at this age the kids are little "sponges" when it comes to information about their faith. I firmly believe we need to "armor" our children with the graces of Confirmation before they experience the evils of the secular world. The graces of the Sacrament combined with those of Reconciliation and then the Sacrament of all sacraments - Holy Eucharist, they will be forces to be reckoned with. Of course this must be combined with the love of the family as well as with the encouragement and support of the parish family, the Body of Christ. What do you think?

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