Bringing Confirmandi and Sponsors Together for Meaningful Conversation

Too often, the role of the sponsor at Confirmation is treated as though it’s akin to being a bridesmaid or a groomsman at a wedding: just stand there and look good. And, oh yes, be sure to put your hand on your confirmandi’s shoulder. In short, it is a missed opportunity for quality adult faith formation.

At St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, the Director of Religious Education, Deb Breakey, takes the role of the sponsor much more seriously. Recently, I had the pleasure of watching my friend and Loyola Press colleague, Bob Burnham, facilitate a sponsor-candidate “meeting” at St. Cajetan at Deb’s invitation. She asked him to facilitate interaction and conversation between the candidates and their sponsors.

Confirmation Sponsor meeting

I enjoyed watching as Bob provided solid theological background on three topics (15–20 minutes each) and facilitated three meaningful conversations between the candidates and their sponsors (10 minutes each) on the topics, truly honoring the role of the sponsor as someone leading an apprentice on a faith journey. Specifically, Bob invited the confirmandi and their sponsors to engage in meaningful conversation about the following three topics/questions:

  1. Becoming DO-ERS of the Word—Candidates, what do you like to do? What are your gifts and talents? How can you use these to set goals for your life? Sponsors, how can you help your candidate reach these goals?
  2. Gifts of the Holy Spirit/Saint Examples—Sponsors, which gift would you like to share with your candidate? How would you share it? Candidates, which gift do you see and admire in your sponsor?
  3. Bringing Grace to Others—Candidates, complete the following sentences: I use my talents and gifts to serve God and others by… / I see God in… / I bring out the best in people by… / The person I look to the most for help is…

Bob finished the evening by leading the entire group in a guided reflection. It was beautiful to watch about 100 people, kids and adults together, with heads bowed and eyes closed, spending some time silently talking with Jesus.

People experiencing Guided Reflection

Faith to Faith magazineIf you are looking for a way to bring Confirmation candidates and their sponsors together for meaningful conversations, I suggest that you look into Faith to Faith Magazine from Loyola Press which helps sponsors, mentors, or parents to find ways to build meaningful relationships with Confirmation candidates and honors the role of the sponsor as one who is apprenticing another in the life of discipleship.

About Joe Paprocki 2739 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

4 Comments on Bringing Confirmandi and Sponsors Together for Meaningful Conversation

  1. Hello,
    I love this ideas of bringing Confirmation Sponsors and Candidates together for meaningful interaction and discussion. I love the format and topics of Bob Burnhams presentation. Is there any way to get a more detailed outline of his presentation in order to assist me in presenting something similar? I would appreciate any guidance. Thank you.

  2. Last year, I had a group do the same thing by having sponsors and students attend together. It was very fruitful. We had a date set; however, now they have had to cancel, so now I am having to put a one-day retreat together. Do you think that Mr Burnhams would share his retreat outline?

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