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Posted by / 29-Dec-2017 17:31

It was within his authority to withhold the sacrament, he told me, and that is exactly what he was doing. I asked him, incredulously, Need I say I was stunned and angry? We can repeat, til the cows come home, but when you have chained the sacrament to performance, and a specific number of hours that must be satisfied, you have effectively made the sacrament a prize to be won. And clearly, there are some in the Church who will not hesitate to snatch away that dangled carrot if the legalistic boxes are not checked.

My daughter was scared and upset when I told her, and we went to speak directly with the pastor. He knew our family well, and he assured my daughter she would receive Confirmation as planned. Confirmation, like every sacrament in the Church, is a gift of Gods generous grace, and we do not deserve it, and none of us can earn it.

Let me back up and explain, in case your parish does not have such a requirement for teenagers preparing for Confirmation.

In our parish at the time, it was expected that each teen would perform 30 hours* of community/volunteer service prior to Confirmation Sunday.

Confirmation should not be used as some sort of spiritual barometer or test.

Show us you know what it means to be a Christian, or something like that. A generous gift of grace to enliven us and empower us to live a Christian life.

I have now gone through this with two teenage children, in two different cities and parishes in the last 4 years.

Would any of us send our children out the door each day only half-dressed? But we ask them to go through their formative growing years without the full spiritual clothing of the Sacraments? If you tell them indirectly that this sacrament makes them an adult in the Church, then donďż˝ t be surprised when they decide, as so many adults do, that they do not need the Church anymore. To explicitly exclude the domestic church from this service is wrong-headed and just plain wrong. For the parish to forbid any service from taking place within the home, within the family, is simply wrong. Not one of my adult friends who had converted to Christianity, or come into the full communion of the Catholic Church from another Christian community as an adult, was asked to do any such thing during their RCIA formation.And then to add insult to injury, we tell them they have to earn the rest of their clothes. Nothing means more to me as a mother than to see my children love one another, and actively do something in service to one another out of kindness. Every single one of them laughed out loud at the suggestion.To dismiss the value of that service; to say it does not count in preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation is ludicrous. It is crazy to have one standard for adult RCIA candidates, and a different standard for our own children. They all said it was crazy, and they never would have become Catholic had such a thing been demanded of them. The reasons seemed to boil down to this: the adults are adults with families to take care of, and jobs to do, and they simply cannot do 30 hours of volunteer service that easily.WEST POINT, New York (Catholic Online) - I know before I say another word that I am probably in the minority these days, and I am okay with that.I will do my best to make a solid argument, and pray that this will be the beginning of the end of the dreaded that seems to be the standard in many parishes today.

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