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CURRENT ISSUE:  July 5, 2010
VOL. 48, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine explains difference between direct, indirect abortion
 
Heart of St. John Vianney to visit diocese
New guidelines
for Confirmation
 

Youth ministers and other pastoral leaders responsible for preparing teens to receive the sacrament of Confirmation now have a comprehensive set of guidelines for their work.

Promulgated last month by Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, the guidelines provide a “framework for preparation for the sacrament,” he wrote in a letter to pastors, Confirmation directors and youth ministers. The goal, he wrote, is to have those being confirmed “fully equipped to pursue a holy, sacramental life acting as ambassadors of Christ in the world in which they live.”

Regional meetings

Patti Collyer will host a series of regional meetings through September to familiarize Con-firmation leaders with the new guidelines and to provide them with resources for implementation. The meetings, which begin at 10:30 a.m.,
are scheduled as follows:

July 14: Christ the Light Parish hall, Oakland

July 27: St. Anne, Union City

July 28: Good Shepherd, Pittsburg

July 29: St. John Vianney, Walnut Creek

Aug. 3: St. Isidore, Danville

Sept. 7: Holy Spirit, Fremont

Sept. 8: Good Shepherd, Pittsburg

Sept. 9: St. John Vianney, Walnut Creek

Sept. 10: Christ the Light Parish hall, Oakland

The guidelines, in development for the past three years, have the approval of the Presbyteral Council which discussed them at length and suggested modifications that were incorporated into the final document with input from the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Catechesis.

They are based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997), the U.S. bishops’ National Directory for Catechesis (2005) and their Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework (2008) along with the documents of Vatican II.

Contained in a 24-page document (www.oakdiocese.org/pastoral), the guidelines set forth objectives and standards for Confirmation preparation, a curriculum for teaching aspects of the faith, catechesis on the Rite of Confirmation, and ways to foster spiritual growth through prayer, worship and community service.

The purpose of the program is to “lead the Christian towards a more intimate union with Christ and a deepened familiarity with the Holy Spirit in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibility of a Christian Life,” according to the Preface.

To that end, the youth will learn the principal elements of the Catholic faith, attend at least one retreat, participate in the sacramental and liturgical life of their parish, and be encouraged to perform service hours.

Each parish will use the guidelines to design a program according to its needs, said Patti Collyer, diocesan director of youth and young adult ministry.

The guidelines also contain a section on the role and responsibility of parents/guardians as the primary educators of their children, the requirements of those adults selected as Confirmation sponsors, and recommendations on ways parish priests can support the formation process.

The new guidelines expand on a pastoral directive by Bishop John Cummins in 1980, outlining a Confirmation policy that emphasized the spiritual maturity of Confirmation candidates and the role of parents, sponsors and parish community in that maturation process. The age for Confirmation was moved from junior high to high school.

In 1982, diocesan guidelines set forth in more detail the various components required for a comprehensive preparation program, but did not contain the extensive details now available through the new Catechism and Church documents released in the past decade, said Collyer, a youth minister and Confirmation director at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord for many years.

The recently promulgated guidelines expand on the earlier work of the Department of Catechetical Ministries, she said. A Spanish translation of the guidelines will be available online, beginning July 12.

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