Arrangements for the remaining celebrations of Confirmation in 2020
As the restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been lifted, the Diocese has been considering how to move towards a renewal of parish life. The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation was one of the most pressing issues to emerge. As a result of discussions Archbishop Martin decided to allow Confirmations to take place from the 1st of August and to give parish priests flexibility in when and how they will be arranged. Faculties will be granted to all priests in the diocese to administer the sacrament as required.
Parishes vary significantly in the numbers of children to be confirmed and in the size of their churches. The parish COVID-19 Support Team will have worked out the maximum capacity allowed in each church considering social distancing. We will abide by public health authority limits for all services and work out how many confirmation ceremonies can be organised in August and early September. Our aim is to complete the confirmation of all our P7 children before they commence post-primary education.
To enable this, the use the Rite of Confirmation outside of Mass is recommended. This will help to reduce the amount of movement within the church especially if many of those attending are not familiar with the layout of the building or the protocols regarding reception of the Eucharist.
Finally, to support school and parental preparation for the sacrament, a series of resources will be made available.
You Shall be my Witnesses
The Armagh Diocesan Pastoral Team has adapted the five-session parish preparation programme ‘You Shall be my Witnesses’ for use by parents in the home or by teachers in the coming weeks. The resource can be found at the following web address: https://www.armaghprays.com/confirmation-programme.
A set of three videos has been produced by iCatholic and are available on its website and on the diocesan website. The three videos cover the following content.
Video 1 – Holy Spirit, Trinity, Power of the Spirit and Symbols of the Holy Spirit
Insights gained from every day use of the word Spirit (Community, team, Christmas, inspired etc)
Who the Holy Spirit is and the Holy Spirit as a Person of the Trinity – reflection on the Trinity.
The difference the Holy Spirit makes in the life of Jesus and the disciples.
Symbols of the Holy Spirit – Fire, Wind, Dove. Insights gained from these symbols.
Video 2 – Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Begins with a quick fire quiz revising what was learned in previous lesson.
Explore what fruits and a gifts of the Holy Spirit are. Reflection on how we all have the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – a game is played where the children guess what gift of the Spirit each picture represents and these gifts are explored. Children are asked to think about what gift of the Holy Spirit they feel that they need to strengthen.
The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – a game where the children are invited to guess what fruit of the Holy Spirit is being described.
A final game whereby the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are combined and explored further.
Video 3 – The Confirmation Ceremony
Begins with a quick fire quiz revisiting what was learned in a previous lesson.
A name identification game is played and leads into a discussion on the significance of names and the importance of putting time and effort into choosing a confirmation name. Children are encouraged to choose a saint’s name and some saints are referenced.
The significance of a sponsor is explored.
The four parts of the Confirmation Ceremony are explored
A reflection is given on how the ceremony might be different during the current pandemic.
A reminder that confirmation is not an ‘end’ but should be a new beginning.