CONFIRMATION PROGRAM OUTLINE – 2023/24 YEAR
- Confirmation is part of a three-step process, starting with Baptism, whereby we are fully initiated into Christ and the Church and our Catholic Faith. Young people in the Archdiocese of Toronto are ordinarily confirmed in their grade seven year.
- “...by the Sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285).
B. WHERE THE SACRAMENT IS TO BE RECEIVED
- Please note that sacraments are to be celebrated in the family’s home parish where the family attends church each Sunday or the parish within whose boundaries they live.
- If you live outside the Parish Boundaries, then you must have been registered and attending the Church for at least one year to register for receiving the sacrament at St. Gertrudes; otherwise, your child will have to receive this sacrament at the parish within whose boundaries you live.
- Please note that the sacraments are not school celebrations like graduation or prom, but they are parish celebrations. So please do not think that all the children of your child’s school will receive their sacraments from one particular church. Rather, as stated, each child will receive the sacrament at their family home parish. The sacraments have been celebrated by the local church communities from the very beginning of the Church.
- Click on the link see the Map of St. Gertrude’s Parish Boundaries on our website: https://stgertrudesos.archtoronto.org/en/contact-us/parish-information/
C. CONFIRMATION CELEBRANT – BISHOP NGUYEN
- Every two to three years, we are blessed to have the Bishop, who is the Ordinary Minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation, come and confer the Sacrament of Confirmation upon our candidates. This coming year, Bishop Nguyen will be administering the Sacrament of Confirmation for us on two dates next spring:
- Wednesday April 17 at 7:00 pm
- Wednesday May 1 at 7:00 pm
D. CAPACITY LIMITS FOR THIS YEAR’S PROGRAM
- This therefore, limits the number of candidates whom we can prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation next spring.
- In order to secure a spot in the program, you will need to fill out the online registration form AND attend the Parent Information Meeting (details below).
E. COVID CONTINGENCY PLANNING – BE PREPARED
- However, with concerns over the possible return of COVID, should social distancing restrictions be imposed again, we may find ourselves only having access to every other pew. This would mean we would need to have two additional celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation, probably without the Bishop.
- Should this happen then, the latter half of those who registered for each of the two Masses with the Bishop, would have to be moved into one of the two other added Confirmation celebrations that would likely be celebrated by Fr. Michael Hughes. The two dates for the possible add-on Confirmation Masses next spring are:
- Wednesday May 15 at 7:00 pm
- Wednesday May 29 at 7:00 pm
- Therefore, when we open up registration for the two Confirmation celebrations with the Bishop, it will be on a first come, first served basis and the latter half of the registrations for each Mass will have to also choose one of the alternative add-on dates as a precaution, at the time of registration.
F. CONFIRMATION MASS DATES
(The link to register for the Confirmation Masses will be provided later on)
A. Masses with the Bishop
- Wednesday April 17 @ 7:00 pm (celebrated by Bishop Vincent Nguyen)
- Rehearsal for above Mass will be on the prior Friday evening, April 12 @ 7 pm
- Wednesday May 1 @ 7:00 pm (celebrated by Bishop Vincent Nguyen)
- Rehearsal for above Mass will be on the prior Friday evening, April 26 @ 7 pm
B. Possible Masses with Fr. Michael Hughes, if social distancing restrictions are reimposed.
- Wednesday May 15 @ 7:00 pm (celebrated by Fr. Michael Hughes)
- Rehearsal for above Mass will be on the prior Friday evening, May 10 @ 7 pm
- Wednesday May 29 @ 7:00 pm (celebrated by Fr. Michael Hughes)
- Rehearsal for above Mass will be on the prior Friday evening, May 24 @ 7 pm
G. CONFIRMATION MASS ATTIRE
- Rental gowns will be provided for the candidates to wear during the Confirmation Mass.
- The cost of renting the gowns is included in the $125 registration fee.
H. EXPECTATION AND COMMITMENT REQUIREMENTS
- Please also note that except in genuine cases of sickness, illness or hospitalization, attendance at the Sunday Mass (or Sunday vigil Mass on Saturday evenings) will be a real requirement and expectation in order for your son/daughter to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
- Activities such as sports, or dance or other such commitments will not constitute a valid reason for failing to come and worship God each Sunday at the Holy Mass. This is one of the Ten Commandments.
- Please keep this in mind as you come to your decision to commit to our parish preparation program and Mass expectation. Do not take it on if you are not ready to do so, otherwise it is going to cause a lot of stress and tension for all of us.
I. PARENT VOLUNTEERS ESSENTIAL
- The preparation sessions will be held in-person, which will only be possible if parents step up to volunteer as leader table facilitators, with the help of professional teacher leaders who will do the actual teaching. The volunteer leaders do not have to teach anything, they just ensure that the children are participating and they facilitate table discussion groups. It is also a great opportunity for the parent volunteer to journey with their child who is preparing to receive the sacrament.
J. REQUIREMENTS FOR PROGRAM REGISTRATION
- Completed Registration Form
- Opening on the parish website from Saturday morning at 8 am on September 9, 2023.
- Registration for Confirmation will remain open until Friday evening at 8 pm on September 30.
2. Parishioner of St. Gertrude’s Parish and Proof of Residency
- Sacraments are celebrated in the family’s home parish where the family attends church each Sunday or the parish within whose boundaries they live.
- Therefore, in order to participate in the sacramental preparation program for Confirmation, the candidate must be living in the parish boundaries or the family must have been registered and attending Sunday Mass at the parish for at least a year.
- Click on the link to see the Map of St. Gertrude’s Parish Boundaries on our website: https://stgertrudesos.archtoronto.org/en/contact-us/parish-information/
- During the process of filling out the online registration form, you will be required to provide a copy of your proof of residency by uploading a copy of your Driver’s License or Ontario Identity Photo Card.
- You can also bring a copy of your proof of residency in an envelope with the Confirmation Candidate's name written on the envelope, along with a note indicating that it is for the Sacrament of Confirmation, to the Parent Information Meeting.
- We will not be able to photocopy your proof of residency on that day, so please make sure to photocopy it before attending the Parent Information Meeting.
3. Baptism Certificate for the one seeking to receive Confirmation.
- A scanned copy or picture of the Baptism Certificate can be uploaded at the time you register your son/daughter for the program through the website.
- You can also bring a copy of the Baptismal Certificate to the Parent Information Meeting. Please do not bring the original document as we will not be able to make photocopies for you at that time.
4. Payment of $125 fee, plus additional fees for the retreat.
- Payment is to be made at the Parent Information Meeting and can be made in cash or by cheque, payable to “St. Gertrude Catholic Church”. Place the payment in an envelope with the Confirmation Candidate's name written on it, along with a note indicating that it is for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
- Due to limited space, payment on the day of the Parent Information Meeting will be required, in order to secure a place for your son/daughter in the program.
- Please let us know if you have more than one child registering for the program. Also, please let us know in advance of the Parent Information Meeting, if you are unable to pay the full fee, so that we can work something out that is manageable for you.
- PLEASE NOTE: Should any family be experiencing financial hardships in these very challenging times, please do not let this prevent your child from proceeding to prepare for and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Church will do whatever needs to be done to make this happen. Let the family do what it can do withing it’s means at this time.
5. Attendance at one of the Parent Information Meetings
- Attendance at the Parent Information Meeting will be required in order to secure a spot for your son/daughter in the program.
- There will be two choices for the one-hour Parent Information Meeting.
- Friday September 22 at 7 pm
- Saturday September 23 at 11:00 am
- Only one parent or guardian is required to attend one of the meetings listed above, along with the Confirmation Candidate.
6. Reception of the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion
- If your son/daughter has not yet received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion, contact us immediately, as these sacraments must be received before he/she can receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and the appropriate preparations must take place for him/her to receive these two sacraments, during the course of this year’s preparation for Confirmation.
7. Attendance at all 9 in-person sessions and completion of assigned work
- Attendance is mandatory but if a session is missed due to serious reasons such as illness, then make up work must be done.
- Sessions will run from 7:15 to 9:00 pm on Friday evenings on the following dates:
- October 13, 2023
- October 27, 2023
- November 10, 2023
- November 24, 2023
- December 8, 2023
- January 12, 2024
- January 26, 2024
- February 9, 2024
- February 23, 2024
8. Weekly attendance at Mass on Sundays or at the Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday evenings except for serious reasons, such as illness.
- Sports and other similar activities do not qualify as reasons to miss the Sunday or Saturday evening Mass).
- St. Gertrude Sunday Masses are at the following times: Saturdays at 5 pm, Sundays at 9 am, 11 am, and 6:15 pm.
- Red Passports will be given to the children, which must be stamped after each weekend that they attend Mass.
9. Attendance at the Confirmation Retreat
- This year, we plan to attend the “Lift Jesus Higher Rally” – Youth Section, on Saturday March 2, 2024, at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre – North Building
- The Lift Jesus Higher Rally is an annual all-day event for Youth and Adults that includes uplifting music, testimonials, reflections, Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and more.
- As mentioned above, the cost of the Confirmation Retreat/Lift Jesus Higher Rally is in addition to the $125 fee for the Confirmation Program.
- The additional fee for the Confirmation Retreat will include:
- A ticket for entrance into the Lift Jesus Higher Youth Rally.
- Transportation from St. Gertrude’s Church to the event and back.
- Please note that meals will not be provided. The Confirmation Candidate can bring their own bagged lunch or purchase meals at the Metro Convention Centre
- Further details regarding permission forms, cost, meals, transportation, and departure time will be provided later.
10. Completion of Saint Project
- Your son/daughter will be asked to research the life of a Saint whom they will like to be their mentor and companion on their journey of faith and to complete a project based on their findings. Details will be given later.
11. Completion of Sponsor Form
- Details about where to fill out the form and how to submit the form along with the required documentation listed below, will be given later.
- Please prayerfully consider whom you would like as your sponsor, noting that a Sponsor for Confirmation is a role model in living the faith for the candidate.
- Obtain evidence of the sponsor having received the Sacrament of Confirmation so that it can be uploaded as you fill out the form. This can be a copy of the sponsor’s Confirmation Certificate or the sponsor’s updated Sacramental Record. A copy of the sponsor’s updated Sacramental Record can be obtained from the Church at which he or she was Baptized even if it was in another country. Alternatively, we can accept a photo of the Sponsor’s Confirmation or a written and signed eyewitness testimony.
- Requirements for Confirmation Sponsors:
- Is at least 16 years of age
- Is a practicing Catholic
- Has received the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation (Sponsor is required to provide a Copy of his/her Sacramental Record including Confirmation Date — this is obtained from the Parish where one was baptized)
- Leads a life in harmony with the Roman Catholic faith
If you have any questions please email our Lay Pastoral Associate, Lisette Romero at: LiRomero@archtoronto.org.
Click here to register for the Confirmation Preparation Program