Bishop Paul S. Loverde celebrated the sacrament of confirmation at Christ the Redeemer this past Saturday, December 7th at an 11:00 am Mass with close to a hundred Confirmation Candidates, their sponsors, family and friends. The Knights of Columbus served as honor guard along with a number of parishioners and staff members who served as ushers, liturgical, and music ministers. The names of the candidates, including those who celebrated Confirmation and First Holy Communion will be published in an upcoming parish bulletin.
Candidates prepared to celebrate this sacrament of initiation by completing at least two years of Religious Education up to at least the Grade 8 Level. Most of the Confirmation 2013 group are currently in Grade 9 with about one-quarter in higher grades. About a quarter of the group was also baptized at Christ the Redeemer, completing their journey to full initiation which had begun many years ago at this same parish.
Bishop Loverde continued his tradition to pass out Prayer Cards to each of the newly confirmed at the conclusion of the mass before posing for pictures with individuals and families in Atonement Hall, the parish's reception area. Also available for pictures were the newest group of priests: Fr. Patrick Cogan, S.A.in his first year as the new pastor and Fr. Kenneth Cienik, S.A. also new this past year (Fr. Patrick and Fr. Ken continue the tradition of the Friars of the Atonement leading the Christ the Redeemer Community); and Fr. Jaime Villalobos who was just recently appointed as the Priest-in-Residence for the Spanish community.
Christ the Redeemer is on the Fall list for Confirmation Celebrations. Typically the celebration happens between October and November before Thanksgiving. It is a bit unusual to have a celebration so late in the Fall, let alone during the Advent Season. However, it was Christ the Redeemer's "turn" for Bishop Loverde and despite how busy this season can be amidst the holiday rush, the parish welcomed the Bishop joyfully.
Most of the celebration went off without a hitch. The fire alarm did go off by mistake right at the moment Fr. Patrick presented the candidates to the Bishop. But all things considered, the Saturday celebration was in many ways the best part of the weekend. The following day, the Rite of Acceptance was celebrated in both the English and Spanish Masses, but evening Religious Education classes were canceled due to an ice storm. The two days that followed included meetings for next year's group of Confirmation Candidates and a Mass for the Immaculate Conception, but both Religious Education and public schools were closed both days due to snow and ice.
Nevertheless, these weather events simply underscore the special circumstances of this memorable occasion. As it said in the worship aide and in the upcoming bulletin: "Christ the Redeemer offers our warmest welcome to our newly confirmed."