Confirmands Get Creative
What do you do when the essential nature of a sacramental rite (the laying on of hands by a bishop) is problematic due to a highly contagious virus that is sweeping the globe? You wait to get confirmed until it’s safe! That didn’t stop the St. Matthew’s, Bedford eighth grade confirmation classes of 2020 and 2021, however, from continuing their program of preparation for this important rite. From online, to outdoor, to hybrid, to online again, and finally back to outdoor, we pivoted and found a way to duly prepare these 24 youth, patiently waiting all the while to hear when our confirmation date would be.
The blessing of these two COVID confirmation classes is that the confirmands were able to see in real-time how faith in God is essential for navigating life’s difficulties. What, in other times, might be considered boring or inconsequential—like the relationship between our parish and the wider diocese and Church—suddenly became vitally important as we all weathered this storm together, under the guidance and leadership of our devoted bishops. The confirmands also got to witness the rest of the parish (many of whom were, of course, confirmed in their own day), live out their faith in new and creative ways, which inspired them all the more to confirm their commitment to their baptismal vows.
The greatest gift from this time, however, was what came out of the loss of our traditional Youth Sunday service. Instead of hearing from just two or three youth who typically share the sermon that Sunday, COVID provided a chance for each of our confirmands to submit their own video reflection about their time in the class. The two videosat the top and bottom of this article offered a closer look at the future (and present!) of the Church in the faces and faith of these young people. Many of our older members felt encouraged in their faith after having witnessed the reflections and resilience of these younger members. Even if our Youth Sunday service returns, the COVID-inspired video reflections will certainly remain a cherished capstone of the whole program. Most importantly, the confirmands themselves appreciated the chance to share what they had learned about God, the Church, and themselves–which in this COVID Confirmation Class was quite a lot!