From the Pastor: We have a Confirmation Date!
Instead of holding you in suspense, let me come right out with the news: our next parish celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation has been set by the Diocese for 7:00 pm on Wednesday, February 7, 2018. Why so soon? Because the Bishop has a lot of parishes to get to and there simply is no way for him to visit every parish in May or June! Does that mean that Bishop Parkes will be bestowing the sacrament himself? I wish I was able to get a confirmation on him doing the Confirmations. We spoke briefly about the ceremony and what is done (and not done) and he has promised “to see” about it. He genuinely wants to be here for us but is still uncertain about his ability to do it well in the old rite. So we will just go with the flow for now.
If you are preparing for Confirmation yourself or have a child you are preparing for Confirmation, the first thing you need to do is get a copy of your/his/her Baptismal certificate over to the office. An original is not necessary. A hard copy or an electronic copy of the old one you have in a storage box is fine. Please note well: Baptism is the first step in preparing for Confirmation and you must have been baptized before you receive any other sacrament. I know that “nobody” would try to get confirmed who has not been baptized but--and this is a big BUT--in order to properly record the fact that the sacrament was received, we need to know which church to send that information to, and that church needs names and dates from the document in order to find, verify, and update the original record. All sacramental records are held at the church (parish) of Baptism, so although we will record here that young Johnny was confirmed by Bishop Parkes on February 7, 2018, taking the name of St. Romuald and having Mr. Joseph Dingle as his sponsor, we will also send that information to St. Ubaldus Basilica in Wispy Cloud, Maryland (the church listed on Johnny's Baptism certificate) so that they can enter it along with his Baptism and First Holy Communion record. When Johnny later is preparing to become a priest, he will need to contact the secretary at St. Ubaldus, asking for a new copy of his Baptismal certificate with all notations. If there is no notation of Confirmation (for instance, because his parents promised to produce a Baptismal certificate for his Confirmation but never followed through on it) he will have a much more difficult time gaining admittance to the seminary because Confirmation is an essential sacrament to have before receiving Holy Orders. And, since we probably won’t have recorded it here without having ever obtained all of the information found on the forgotten Baptismal certificate, unless we find the old, incomplete file squirreled away in the attic, you won’t be able to find a record of it anywhere. Then you need to find photos and witnesses, produce sworn testimonies, etc., taking so much time that poor Johnny misses the entrance deadline for the seminary and, wrongly thinking that that was a sign from God that he was not to be a priest, he marries the very next girl who smiles at him, not knowing that she is a deranged psycho-killer cyborg from the future and... well, we just lost another man who would have been a good, holy priest and the only one in the diocese who would have celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass when I retire or die. All on account of a Baptismal certificate which never made it to our office. Don’t let that happen to Johnny or to future Epiphany parishioners! Please bring in the certificate ASAP!
After you have produced a Baptismal certificate, we will give you a form to fill out to officially register for Confirmation here. My guess is that the more children or adults we have here who are properly prepared to receive Confirmation, and the sooner we know the size of the Confirmation group, the greater the chances that Bishop Parkes will make the extra effort to learn the prayers and ritual of the traditional rite and Confirm in person.
Because of the short “school year” between now and February, there really is not a lot of time to procrastinate on anything. Please dust off your Baltimore Catechisms (number 2 is great but number 3 gives an even better explanation of the reason for receiving each of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost) or your Seton books or the Faith and Life series or whichever program you are planning on using and get to it right away. If you need assistance in this regard, please don’t hesitate to ask for it. Confirmation prep is not too difficult if the one to be confirmed already has a good foundation from a previous solid First Holy Communion preparation and is a member of a faithful Catholic family which actually believes and practices the one true Faith. Not everyone has been so blessed (believe it or not), so help each other out! Above all, remember that prayer is the most important aspect of readying oneself for reception of this--or any--sacrament, so pray well.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka