Confirmation Learning Stations

One of the pitfalls that I often succumb to when planning a lesson is focusing on what I am going to do without regard for what the kids are going to do (other than soak up my pearls of wisdom, of course). In the end, I find that I am putting a lot of pressure on myself as the catechist to “perform.” If Christian Initiation IS an apprenticeship (and I believe it is) then we must consider what our young apprentices are doing!

With that in mind, I revisited the Confirmation “learning stations” that I created for last year and refined them so that they are truly learning stations: areas where the young people complete a task under the supervision of a catechist (as opposed to areas where the catechist presents a mini-lesson). Our first Confirmation Intensive (four 2-hour sessions held during December and January) is next week and we’re finalizing our plans.

We use Confirmed in the Spirit (Loyola Press) and each intensive draws from 2 of the 8 chapters. The first intensive focuses on the Sacraments of Initiation and the signs and symbols of Confirmation. Each of the 5 eighth-grade catechists will facilitate one of the learning stations – the kids will spend 10-12 minutes at each station. The structure allows for a half-hour at the end of the session for the kids to reunite with their “homeroom teacher” to review what they have done/learned and for the catechist to reinforce the “BIG IDEAS.” Here’s what I’m proposing:

Learning Center A – Getting to Know the Holy Spirit

  • Students will use Bibles to complete Blackline Master 1 (pg. 109 of CIS Catechist Guide)
  • If time remains, review the answers
  • Materials needed: Bibles, pencils, copies of BLM 1

Learning Center B – Symbols of the Holy Spirit

  • Students will create a simple mobile of the symbols of the Holy Spirit (water, oil, fire, and dove) from page 5 of CIS student book
  • Materials needed: Popsicle sticks, string, scissors, invisible tape, hole puncher, pens, small index cards

Learning Center C – Sacraments of Initiation

Learning Center D – The Words and Actions of Confirmation

  • Students will focus on 3 main actions of the Confirmation Rite: laying on of hands, anointing with oil, and the words “Be Sealed with the Holy Spirit”
  • Students will be given a blank sheet of paper (11 x 17) and will be asked to trace both of their hands on it and to write beneath (Laying on of Hands); next they will dip their thumb into some vegetable oil and then trace a cross with that thumb on the paper so that the oil seeps in and to write beneath (anointing); finally, the catechist will allow a few drips of wax from a lighted candle to fall onto each paper – after it cools a bit, the students can impress a coin or medal into the wax (the way letters used to be sealed) and to write beneath (Be Sealed)
  • If time permits, provide a little background about each of the 3 actions
  • Materials needed: 11 x 17 paper, pencils, vegetable oil in a small bowl, pillar candle, coin or medal

Learning Center E – The Role of the Bishop

  • Students will create miniature miters (bishop’s “hat”) and crosiers (bishop’s staff)
  • To make the miter, each student receives a small index card and cuts it in half (vertically)
  • Next, each student cuts the corners of each piece so that they are in the shape of a house with a pitched roof.
  • Both pieces are then stapled together on the edges (not the top or bottom)
  • the miniature miter can now be “opened up” a bit as if it was to be placed on the bishop’s head
  • To make the crosier, each student is given a piece of aluminum foil about 6 in. by 6 in.
  • The foil is rolled as though rolling a cigar
  • Then, the top is curved into the shape of a shepherd’s staff (like a candy cane)
  • If time permits, add more background information about the role of the bishop, the miter, and the crosier
  • Materials needed: scissors, small index cards, stapler(s), sheets of aluminum foil 6 x 6
About Joe Paprocki 2751 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

2 Comments on Confirmation Learning Stations

  1. Joe,
    I am presently a 5th grade Religion and Science teacher who is also preparing the 7th grade students for the Sacrament of Confirmation using the text Confirmed in the Spirit. I like your “stations” activities using the matter and form of the Sacrament in a very tactile way. I plan to use this to impress upon my students the significance of the laying on of hands, the oil, and being sealed with the Holy Spirit. Thanks for the ideas.

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