If you have read my blog for very long-esp in the early days-you know me to be passionate about Confirmation formation. Well, the sponsors are part of that formation.
Let me vent first: Why, kid of all of 15 years old, are you picking your cousin who is barely older than you? Why are you asking your brother who lives an alternative lifestyle in LA? Why are you asking someone who lives 10 hours by plane away? This person should be an active and faithful Catholic, someone who knows their faith-or at least is willing to learn-and is highly concerned about the state of your soul and how you life and how you are getting to heaven. Do you get that?
Ok, now that that's off my chest.
I think we struggle so much with the spiritual poverty that is in most of our Confirmation programs that it's just enough to get the kids to some sort of place to be ready for a Sacrament. I have formed programs and I get that. However we can't over look the role that the Sponsor has. If we start making them be more active than just showing up for the rehearsal (maybe) and the actual Mass we show both them and the kids that this is serious business.
I would tell the kids that their sponsor need to be in town, or can travel for meetings. When I got the groans and phone calls from parents I explained that this person should be an integral part of the kids lives, someone that they look up to and can learn from, so yes, someone in their lives on a regular basis. I'm sure Aunt Susie is great, but 1000 miles away??
As for the meetings themselves make them substantive. We do everyone a massive massive disservice if we think that they can't handle the truth. If for nothing else, God will ask you about that when you get to heaven and I'm not sure "I was afraid" is going to cut it. No, plan times where the sponsors come with the student and do an evening of Bible study or an interactive night on the Virtues or Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Have the sponsors come to service events with their Confirmandi. Give them a list of ideas of how to interact with a teenager. We do if for a living, they may be a little afraid of them sometimes. Give them materials to go over with the teen -maybe go see a movie together and have questions about how the movie brought out some aspect of the faith. Or read a particular book together. Or go to Adoration together.
This is an excellent time where you can, to some extent, assist in the formation of the Sponsor. We all know that sometimes we get really great sponsors for the kids and other times you are thinking "What??? Why did your parent allow this???"
So take advantage of the time to minister to the adults. If you have a solid core team, you could even consider inviting the sponsors to go on retreat and your team could pray over them. Most sponsors would be blessed by it- (after they got to the retreat, I know getting them there might seem overwhelming at first.)
And lastly, pray for them. Pray for their deepening conversion so that they can be strong witnesses of Faith to the teens that we are working with. Pray for the needs of their lives, for grace and mercy to be poured out upon them and for their active response to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Labels: Confirmation Sponsors