What If I Don't Want to Be Confirmed?

One of my students has asked me the following question twice now in 4 weeks: “If we don’t want to be confirmed, we don’t have to right? It’s supposed to be our choice, right?” I’ve told her both times that she is correct but that this is a decision she needs to talk over with her parents. Obivously, there’s something going on there. I hope to find an opportunity to chat with her to see if I can find out what’s going on and what is behind her asking this question. 

Some students DO find themselves in a “do as I say, not as I do” situation with their parents, who insist that they go to religious education while they themselves do not go to Mass regularly. This is very difficult on the child (and doesn’t make for such a great situation for us catechists, either!) who is preparing for the sacraments in a vacuum. On the other hand, parental non-involvement does not preclude the real possibility that this child may have a significant encounter with Jesus Christ in religious education. That, of course, is what we all strive to make possible.

About Joe Paprocki 2391 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

4 Comments on What If I Don't Want to Be Confirmed?

  1. Joe
    I think asking her what is behind the question is a very good idea there may be yet another reason for her reluctance to be confirmed that you didn’t mention.
    Four years ago I had a 10th grader who decided not to be confirmed. This was a young person with a very deep prayer life and sense of lived spirituality who was questioning not her faith in Jesus Christ and relationship with God but whether or not she was ready to make a life long committment to our Roman Catholic Faith.
    At the time we convinced her to stay connected with her class so she could continue to deepen her knowledge of our Catholic Faith, we also made it clear to her that the door to receiving the sacrament of Confirmation is always open and she may be confirmed whenever she is ready. We continue to see her at Mass even now that she is in college.
    I often tell students that receiving the sacraments is like receiving an engagement ring from God. He will not force us to receive the gift of His love he wants us to freely respond.
    When she will answer the call to confirmation is a mystery the answer to which is known only by God, but I would far rather have a student like her who has thought as deeply about their committment to their faith than those I’ve seen who are just thoughtlessly going through the motions.
    The experience with that young woman gave me an appreciation for the unexpected depths of kids souls.

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