Fr. Tom’s Letters

 

Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the faith life of our Parish.

 

 

 

 

April 30, 2017

This week I would like to share my letter to our students who will receive Confirmation this Monday, May 1st.  Bishop Brennan will confirm them.

Dear Confirmation Candidates,

Tomorrow, May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker is your Confirmation Day.  The celebration of this sacrament completes your initiation in the Catholic Church and gives you all the responsibilities and privileges that you will enjoy as practicing Catholics for the rest of your life.  Confirmation is about so much more than full initiation, responsibilities and privileges.

Confirmation is about the Holy Spirit, you, and the Church.  As you know, the Holy Spirit is often referred to as the third person in the Trinity.  This past Sunday’s gospel told us how the Risen Jesus breathed on the disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  I like to say that the Holy Spirit is the very “life breath” of God.  The Holy Spirit gives life, shares energy, empowers us.  Often the Holy Spirit is symbolized by wind, fire, a dove.  Your Confirmation brings you greater life.  The Holy Spirit energizes you to live a more active faith.  The Holy Spirit guides you sharing with you the seven gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (wonder).  The Holy Spirit helps us to think as a Christian and to act as a Christian, even when it is difficult.

As part of your preparation for this important day, you have chosen a name.  Some chose a family name.  Some chose a name they desire to have part of their full name.  Some have chosen a name because of a particular saint or Christian virtue.  The names you have selected are beautiful and meaningful.  For many of you, the name or person associated with the name inspires you.  Perhaps your grandmother Catherine is a person whose strong faith inspires you.  Maybe your grandfather Sebastian was a very hard worker.  For some, you chose Francis because you feel inspired by St. Francis of Assisi’s love for the poor or by Pope Francis’ leadership in our world.  St. Therese of the Little Flower has been a favorite saint of many in recent years.  Always remember and honor the name you have chosen for yourself.

You are accompanied to Confirmation by your sponsor.  Your sponsor feels honored to be in this role.  Your sponsor might be a sibling, godparent, relative, or family friend.  One of you has chosen your teacher.  Along with the saint you have chosen, look to your sponsor for guidance, friendship, and example.  I was the sponsor for my nephew and only godson.  I treasure my relationship with Michael.

Today is an important day for your parents and family as well as for you.  I am very grateful to your parents who participated in all our meetings preparing for today.  Confirmation is one of those days your parents are very proud of you and realize what a great blessing from God you are to them.  Thank your parents on your Confirmation Day.  Be happy with them today.

Along with your parents, teachers and catechists have been a big part of bringing you to this day.  In our Faith Formation program and in our school, we have very dedicated women and men who share their faith with you.  Hopefully, at some time, you will share in a helpful way your faith with a young person.  Ms. Lyn Beck and Mrs. Vivian Flood, Dr. O’Sullivan and Mr. Fennell have led you with your teachers and catechists, school, faith formation, and parish staffs.  All these persons are very happy for you today and we have all enjoyed working with you and your parents and sponsors.

You are now moving on to high school.  You are attending more than fourteen different high schools.  They are all good schools.  We wish you well.  No matter what school you are attending, bring your faith to your high school experience - allow your faith and Holy Spirit to guide you in giving your best effort and making good decisions.  Teenage years bring new experiences.  Most will help you grow as a mature Christian.  Some will provide temptation.  Be strong.  Turn to your faith and the Holy Spirit.

Friendship is an important part of high school.  Make good friends.  Enjoy the diversity of persons in your school.  Have friends who share your values and beliefs.  Look into our teen youth ministry at St. Anne’s where you can enjoy friendship with other teenagers who take seriously their faith.  Be cautious about friendship that leads to trouble.  Friendship is meant to be a blessing.  Jesus had close friends.

Respect is an important issue today.  We need to respect other people and their property.  We need to respect differences among us.  The lack of respect leads to some of the most significant problems in our schools.  Respect is essential for the proper use of technology and social media.  If you find yourself being disrespectful, stop!  If you find yourself in patterns of disrespectful treatment of others, seek assistance.  Most of us respect others most of the time and we do well.  Respect promotes peace and good relationships.

Confirmation completes your Christian Initiation.  It adds to your life here at St. Anne’s.  In no way are you leaving or graduating from St. Anne’s.  We hope to see you every Sunday.  We hope you become involved in youth ministry, as a catechist, as a volunteer, in the liturgical ministries as altar server, lector, eucharistic minister.  We hope you see St. Anne’s as a home.  You and your family are always welcome here.  Maybe you need to be a source of encouragement and reminder to others in your family that we need to get to Mass on Sunday.

As you know, Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments.  It is celebrated only once.  The Eucharist is celebrated and received all during a person’s life.  My prayer and hope for you is that you remain close to the Eucharist.  Come to Sunday Mass. Holy Communion will give you strength.  The Word of God will guide you and inspire you.  The Sacraments are Jesus’ gifts to us.  Receive this gift.

Finally, remember you are never alone.  The Holy Spirit is with you.  Your family loves you.  Your sponsor wants to help you.  St. Anne’s is here for you.  Your new teachers want to see you grow.  Your friends will support you.  On your Confirmation Day, you are in a very good place, right where God wants you to be.  You are never alone.  Remember this if you are ever in difficulty.

Congratulations!  God Bless You!  Peace be with you!

Fr. Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.