For youths in grades 7 or 8.
Question. What is required of those to be confirmed?
Answer. It is required of those to be confirmed that they have been baptized, are sufficiently instructed in the Christian Faith, are penitent for their sins, and are ready to affirm their confession of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
An Outline of the Faith (commonly called the Catechism), page 860
Preparation to receive the sacramental rite of Confirmation begins in September for the youth confirmands in grades 7 and 8. During the first semester (September through December), the youth confirmands meet on Sunday mornings for 75 minutes to discuss readings from the Old Testament. These readings have a theme of Making Choices, Dealing with Difficult Times, or Being Called to be God’s Servants. In most cases, this is the first time that the students themselves have read from Books in the Old Testament. In addition, the youth confirmands train to become Acolytes and serve at the 10:30 Sunday service and major holidays.
At the end of the semester, they receive a written test based on their readings and class participation.
From January until the Bishop’s visit, the youth confirmands read and discuss the entire Gospel of Mark in the New Testament. In addition, they are required to do written homework that relates to their reading, develop a time line of the Holy Week based on the Gospel of Mark, role play on several ethical issues, and present a report on one of the Saints in the stained glass windows. Other topics during the semester include the Catechism from the Book of Common Prayer, Prayer, the Sacraments, the Church, the Prayer Book, and Christian Symbolism. They define how they intend to live as Christians by developing a Rule of Life based on the Five Promises they make when they are confirmed by the Bishop. Finally, the semester ends with a written test.
The traditional pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City (“NightWatch”) occurs in the second semester beginning on a Friday afternoon when they leave Newark for New York City. The youth confirmands and chaperons participate in planned programs with the Cathedral Staff. This includes singing, meditation, walking a labyrinth in the Cathedral’s nave, and a tour of the world’s largest Gothic cathedral at night and also during Saturday’s daylight. At midnight we have a Eucharistic Service at the Cathedral’s high altar. At the end of the “NightWatch” program on Saturday morning, the youth confirmands and chaperons do some sightseeing in the “Big Apple” and return to St. Thomas Saturday night.