Confirmation/First Communion celebrations with Bishop Bolen
Information for parishes
Confirmation/First Communion Celebrations
With Bishop Bolen for 2013
Parking: Please designate and clearly mark a parking spot near the church for the bishop. Due to carrying vestments, mitre and crozier, etc., therefore two or three loads, he greatly appreciates having quick and easy access to the church to prepare for the celebration. The parish may designate a helper to assist the bishop in carrying his items.
Lunches/Meals: Please avoid fish and seafood, or mark them very clearly, as Bishop Bolen has a serious allergy to these foods.
Readings, Intentions: Given the age of the candidates, we strongly encourage having the readings proclaimed by adults. The celebration can be made more special for the candidates by including them in the processional, having them be gift bearers, and reading intentions if they are capable.
- When Confirmation/First Communion is celebrated on Sunday, the readings of the day are used. Readings to be used on weekdays are attached. When the celebration happens on a Sunday after Easter and is a Solemnity such as the Trinity, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, or the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the readings are from that particular Sunday. On other Sundays outside of the Easter season, the attached readings might replace the second reading and Gospel of the day.
- Some suggestions for appropriate psalms are attached. The Psalm may be sung or read with encouragement to cantor the Psalm if possible.
- Suggestions for Prayers of the Faithful (Intentions) are available.
Rehearsal: Rehearsing the rite of both sacraments is essential for the candidates to feel more comfortable and able to enter into the celebration. Candidates need to be familiar with receiving both the bread and the cup if they are to receive under both species.
Procession: Candidates may be included in the processional or be already seated in the front pews. Candidates are too young to be seated as a group without adults, but they should be seated close to one another. Sponsors may be seated directly behind or with the candidates and their families. Because of the ‘dialogue character’ of the homily between Bishop Bolen and the candidates, it is preferred that the candidates be seated on one side of the church.
Sprinkling Rite: The sprinkling rite is particularly appropriate for the Easter Season and the celebration of the sacraments of initiation. It should be used on Sundays in the Easter season, and could also be used on weekdays or during celebrations outside of the Easter Season. Please have holy water and aspergillum (sprinkler) available. An appropriate hymn or musical accompaniment is appropriate at this time.
Lord Have Mercy: The Lord Have Mercy is sung or recited only if there is no sprinkling rite.
Presentation of the Candidates for Anointing: Following the Liturgy of the Word candidates are presented to Bishop Bolen.
- Parishes are requested to use Form C from the Rite of Confirmation. A copy has been attached.
- Have baptismal names clearly visible on the clothing of the candidates so Bishop Bolen can call them by name during the rite.
- Each candidate is to lead his/her sponsor(s) (and family if appropriate) to the front where Bishop Bolen will be waiting to receive them.
- Candidates place their right hand on the staff alongside the Bishop’s hand.
- Sponsors place their right hand on the candidate’s right shoulder. Parents (families) may also come forward and place their hands on the candidates as space permits.
- A reasonable distance will need to be maintained between candidates to emphasize the solemnity of the anointing. Candidates/sponsors and families are to be lined up in an orderly fashion, using the first pew as the starting point for the first candidate.
- It is preferred that there be silence during the anointing when there is a small number of candidates being confirmed to allow for the words of anointing to be heard. When there is a large group of candidates being confirmed, it is appropriate to hear the words of anointing for the first few candidates; then singing or soft music can be considered. An appropriate hymn may follow immediately after the anointing.
Renewal of Baptismal Promises: Catechists will prepare candidates in advance to be familiar with the ‘Renewal of Baptismal Promises’. Candidates should make the responses to the ‘baptismal promises’ with well-articulated voices.
First Communion: The candidates will receive Communion first before the rest of the assembly. Having them receive under both species is according to the preference of the parish. As with the anointing at Confirmation, every effort should be made to honour the solemnity of the moment and to help the candidates enter prayerfully into the celebration. If the seating facilitates it, the candidates can receive with their families and sponsors.
*Some parishes may wish to have first communion candidates join the presiders around the altar, just before the praying of the Our Father. This may not be appropriate for a large group of candidates due to space restrictions, etc.
Recessional: Parish preference will dictate whether candidates are included in the recessional.
Large groups should not be part of the recessional, but should be made ready to gather with Bishop Bolen for the group photo during the recessional hymn.
Eastern Rite Catholics: Children of the Eastern rites will generally have been chrismated (confirmed) as infants. They are not to be confirmed again but may be invited to come forward with their peers to receive a blessing. Please have these children follow after the candidates and indicate, by crossing hands over their chests, that they are being blessed, not confirmed, by Bishop Bolen.
Reaffirmation of Faith: Parishes have or may have a copy of the format used by Bishop Bolen for ‘reaffirming’ the youth. The format has not changed. The format for the “Reaffirmation of Faith” is available from the Diocesan Youth Ministry Office at 306-659-5843, email:email@example.com
Photographs: There is to be one designated photographer who may take pictures discreetly during the liturgical celebration. After the celebration itself all are welcome to take pictures with Bishop Bolen. Cameras without flash are strongly encouraged. Photos may start immediately after the recessional hymn is finished; however Bishop Bolen can stay in the sanctuary during the recessional hymn and during that time the group photo with the Bishop can be taken while the recessional hymn is in progress. The catechist or designated person (s) is to assist in organizing the group for the group photos.
Presentation of Gifts from the Parish: If there is a presentation of gifts to the candidates to take place, it is highly recommended that the presentations take place during the lunch/meal.
Things to Communicate to Bishop Bolen: Bishop Bolen will arrive 15 minutes before the celebration is to begin. The catechist/pastor is to communicate the following before the start of the celebration:
- Identify where the holy oils are located.
- Will there be a sprinkling rite? (highly preferred during the Easter Season)
- When celebrating after the Easter Season and during weekdays, will the Lord Have Mercy be sung or recited?
- The list of readings that have been chosen for the celebration.
- Who will be presenting the candidates to Bishop Bolen?
- Will candidates join the presiders around the altar just before the Our Father?
- Are the candidates receiving First Communion under both species?
- Are there candidates for the “Reaffirmation of Faith”? (If yes, please have a spare copy of the prayers of reaffirmation to give to Bishop Bolen and identify where they will be seated in the church.)
- Inform Bishop Bolen how the group photos will be taken – during the recessional hymn or after the recessional hymn.
NB: the information to the above could be given to Bishop Bolen verbally and in written form.
Registration of Confirmands: Confirmed candidates are to be registered in the parish registers. When there is a cluster of parishes gathered, all candidates from all parishes are entered in the register of the hosting parish. It is still necessary to enter the names of the candidates in each respective parish’s register, even though they will be registered in the register of the hosting parish.
Use Form C-RN and refer to the attached letter from the Chancery for details.