The following story appeared in the May 14 Idaho Catholic Register.
Top Left: Bishop Peter Christensen presides over a Confirmation Mass at St. John Paul II Parish in Idaho Falls. The Mass was at Christ the King Church on April 28. (Photo courtesy of St. John Paul II Parish)
Top Center: Bishop Peter and Father Caleb Vogel with the Confirmation class at St.
Joseph’s in Melba.
Top Right: Bishop Peter is with Father John Kucera and the class from Good Shepherd Parish in Driggs.
Bottom Left: Bishop Peter Christensen and Father Gabriel Morales are with the Confirmation class at Presentation of the Lord Parish in American Falls.
Bottom Center: Bishop Peter and Father Francisco Flores with the class from St. Pius X Parish in Coeur d’Alene. Parishes are welcome to send their Confirmation pictures to the Idaho Catholic Register at firstname.lastname@example.org. (ICR courtesy photos)
Bottom Right: Bishop Peter with the class from St. Therese Little Flower Parish in Burley. Parishes are welcome to send their Confirmation pictures to the Idaho Catholic Register at email@example.com. (ICR courtesy photos)
Parishes throughout the Diocese are once again celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation with Bishop Peter Christensen. Last year, the Bishop delegated authority to parish priests to confer the Sacrament due to the COVID pandemic.
This year with pandemic restrictions somewhat eased, the Bishop began his Confirmation tour the week of April 18 in north Idaho. During the weeks of April 25 and May 2, Bishop Peter was in parishes in east Idaho and in the Magic Valley. During the week of May 9, he was in the Treasure Valley, returning to south-central Idaho the week of May 16 before a final week of Confirmations from May 22 through the end of the month in the Treasure Valley.
Bishop Peter said he’s noticing an attitude that is “very hopeful” among people in the parishes he visits. “I would say we’re about two-thirds back to normal,” he said.
The Bishop said he noticed in several of the letters he received from those being Confirmed that the isolation created by the pandemic provided an opportunity for “a deeper introspection as the young people were searching for the deeper meaning of life and for God’s care within all of this.” The Bishop confirmed mostly teens 15-16 years old, but there are also some young adults and parents in this year’s Confirmation class.
Those seeking Confirmation must write a letter to the Bishop telling him why they want the sacrament. Below are edited excerpts from some of those letters. More will be included in future issues.
“I want to make my Confirmation because; I will be sealed with the Holy Spirit. Just as a soldier puts on Kevlar armour, I want to put on the Holy Spirit.”
– Joseph G., St. Bernard’s, Blackfoot.
“There are many reasons why I would like to be Confirmed. I have been a part of the Catholic faith my entire life, and I have learned a lot through all may religious education programs I really enjoy the stories that the church has to tell. Some of my favorites are Eucharistic miracles because they seem to enforce my belief in the Church.”
– Jake P., St. Bernard’s, Blackfoot.
“Father José has always been a great priest. He and Deacon Powers have played huge vital roles in my church. They have been great influences to me because they are involved; they are always singing and putting smiles on people’s faces. Deacon Powers’ wife is also great at decorating the church, creating little details that feel welcoming as soon as you walk in … My grandma Elia passed away around four years ago, and it was a hard passing to experience. Before she was no longer able to speak, she whispered in my dad’s ear, “Always keep your faith.” That has truly stuck with me because when she passed she was at peace. She had been anointed and had God by her side, and everyone knew it. That experience made me strive to be closer to God. I intend on being Catholic for the rest of my life and devoting my life to Christ. One day I hope to go to heaven and look back on life with no regrets because I kept my faith.”
– Azia M., St. Bernard’s, Blackfoot.
“Confirmation means that I am ready and willing to publicly state that my faith is important to me. I feel I am ready to live out my faith with the help of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
– Mayra A., St. Bernard’s, Blackfoot.
“I want to be Confirmed because I feel like it will make me closer to God and the Catholic community. Being Confirmed is a sign of full membership to my religion. I think this will make me more knowledgeable, and an all-around better Catholic. It is inspiring to learn and be a part of what God created. Confirmation will lead me to grow my faith.”
– Grace N., St. Joseph’s, Melba.
“I would like to be Confirmed because, for one, the intricacies of religion have always fascinated me. Confirmation will allow me to view the faith I have grown up in with a new perspective. As a younger child, Mass for me was always just listening to a bunch of stories and songs that I took at surface level; nothing meaningful or deep. It was not until after I had matured a bit that I began finding warnings and life lessons within the words I had thought were just talk … Faith is a journey and this is another step in the right direction.”
– Theo N., St. Joseph’s, Melba.
“My Grandpa has talked to me a lot about Confirmation and our faith. He and Grandma traveled to Rome, the Holy Land and Lourdes, France. He has shared many stories with me. They have given me many mementos from these travels. My favorite is a crucifix from Bethlehem, which hangs on my wall in my bedroom. I am hoping to continue my faith and one day travel to these places and teach my family like Grandpa has.”
– Drew H., All Saints, Lewiston.
“The importance of the Church is it establishes teaching and authority. Some Christians believe that you only need to have faith in God to gain the gift of heaven. Catholics, on the other hand, believe that both your actions in life and belief in Jesus and God will get you into heaven. You have to live by God’s Word to gain salvation and not just believe in God alone.”
– Hannah S., All Saints, Lewiston.
“The Confirmation classes have helped me learn more about the value of daily prayer, the history of the Church and how my Catholic faith can help me be the best version of myself. I am committed to continue to learn more about my Catholic faith. This process has helped me see more clearly the way my faith helps me in my everyday life.”
– Harper J., St. Mary’s, Genesee
I am seeking the Sacrament of Confirmation be-cause I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit and set the world afire. It is important to me to become close to God and His Church. I want to have the knowledge to change the lives of others and lead them closer to Him through words and actions.”
– Reuben E., All Saints, Lewiston.
“Growing in my faith is the most important thing in my life. … As I continue through this life, my goal is to do everything I can to bring others and my-self closer to God every single day. I wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation to further my relation-ship with God, to have the strength to influence others to either begin or continue their relationship with Him, and to be one step closer to an eternity with God.”
– Kylie N., All Saints, Lewiston.
“God and my faith have played a big role in my life. God has been a big support for me, whether that is when I am sad, anxious, or just feel the need to talk to someone. It is really comforting knowing that I can talk to Him, and that He will listen to anything that is on my mind. My faith has also helped shape who I am as a person, and what my beliefs are in life.”
– Olivia T., St. Mary’s Genesee.
“I have been waiting to get Confirmed for a long time now, and finally it is here! I am so excited to take this huge step in my faith. For years, I would always stress out about what my vocation is: What if I get married, but I’m actually supposed to enter religious life? or, “What if I spend too much time on my career, and I don’t ever settle down?, Occasionally I will still have thoughts like this, but I have realized, through my Confirmation class and hours in Adoration, that as long as I do the next right thing, I will be fine. As long as I do little things with great love and try to live by the Word of God, I won’t be left in the dark. … I have learned that it is a constant battle to keep your innocence and to be courageous; so much in our society seems to be against the values by which I was raised. To be Catholic you must be a warrior. You must know your values and never bend. People today are going to try to get you to compromise, but when you know the truth, you won’t be afraid to live by it. The state of our country today is at a fast decline, so being an unapologetic Catholic is a risk. I am not afraid, I am excited. I am excited to take a stand and be strong in it, to help others do so too.”
– Anna S., All Saints, Lewiston.
“God has gifted me everything I need in life to this point. I am not missing a leg or arm and my brain works perfectly. I have all I need to serve in the Church. I can help others who are not capable. Being Confirmed also means I am a part of something bigger, among all the other Catholics in the world.”
– Sam L., Sts. Peter and Paul, Grangeville.
“When I was looking for my Confirmation saint, I knew that I wanted a saint that paired well with my journey to becoming Confirmed. I read through Saint Rita’s story and felt a deep connection with her, but I also felt the same way about Saint Alice. I wrote both of their names on two separate sticky notes and put them on my wall above my bed. I prayed before I went to sleep. The next morning only Saint Rita’s sticky note was left. This is how I chose my Confirmation saint in my own goofy, special way.”
– Makayla R., Tri-Parish, Greencreek.
“Taking these Confirmation classes has taught me a lot more my faith and about God. Seeing people that have been Confirmed makes me happy because they are happy and makes me feel I should be Confirmed. I want the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
– Isabella W., St. Mary’s, Cottonwood.
“The people who have helped me walk on this journey toward Jesus … have shown me that there is a good person inside of me, and they have encouraged me to do things even when it’s hard!”
– Carter C., St. Mary’s, Cottonwood.
“Some of my darkest moments were during the lockdown. I was scared, isolated and alone. There were no answers to reassure me that this, too, would pass. I wondered if I would ever go back to school and see my friends. I wondered who around me might die. My world had been cracked, and I could not fix it. (Before the lockdown) I usually prayed each night and before meals, but it was usually just a very simple and mind-less prayer. But then I began to really talk to God. I thought about the meaning of each word I was saying and slowly my heart began to open. I began to see a light in the darkness, and I walked toward it. I found peace and steadiness in my life, but above all, I found God. By receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, I hope to further my relationship with God.”
– Julia R., St. Mary’s, Cottonwood.
“God has given me the ability to brighten people’s day by doing things to help them that they sometimes may not notice. I do my best to help people in small ways … like simply giving a pencil, or helping carry books, etc. I do my best to help in those simple situations as much as possible in order to make others’ lives just a little bit easier.”
– Colton S. St. Pius X, Coeur d’Alene.
“Me getting Confirmed this year is so special because it is all that my mom and I have been discussing and counting down for years. So, for it too finally happen means so much to me. It is so hard to explain how blessed I am to be in such a wonderful parish and family. I am so thankful to be where I am right now. It is such an honor to receive this sacrament … ”
– Kaci R., St. Pius X, Coeur d’Alene.
“I want to be Confirmed because it will bring me closer to God. Being Confirmed will help me next year as I go off to college. It will be my first time away from home by myself, and I would like that extra closeness to God that Confirmation brings. Through the classes for Confirmation I have learned a lot about the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit helps guide you through life. I believe this will be important to me next year by helping me stay true to my beliefs.”
– Mackenzie S., St. Thomas, Coeur d’Alene.
“God has played a huge role in my life. When-ever I am feeling like I do not know what I am doing or feel like I am not on the right path, I pray to Him and ask, “What do you want from me Lord?” Then I wait for Him to guide me. Whenever I pray to Him, I feel relieved … God is my Rock, my King, and my salvation. God is love.”
– Owen R., St. Pius X, Coeur d’Alene.
“Without the Church, I would be a much different person. I would be much worse off had I not been around people hat shared common beliefs and morals. God has always kept my morals grounded, and all of my life choices were influenced by my beliefs from the little things to the big things.”
– Eugene B., St. Pius X, Coeur d’Alene.
“The sacraments of the Catholic Church bring me closer to God and have helped get me through some tough times especially over this last year. I am joining the military in a few months and want to be Confirmed before I leave home.”
– Jacob S., St. Pius X, Coeur d’Alene.
“After I am Confirmed, I will be able to help the parish out in so many more ways than I already can. I am most excited about the fact that I can become a godmother. I always knew you had to be Confirmed to become a godparent, but I never knew that it was as early as the age of 16! I am getting pretty close to that age. I am also excited to be a Eucharistic Minister because I have always felt it was special when someone I knew from the high school was able to give people the Body or Blood of Christ.”
– Katelyn S., St. Augustine’s, Moscow.
“I want to be Confirmed because I want to be successful in my life and I can’t be successful unless I receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. … For me, something was missing in my understanding of what being Confirmed is about. I found that being Confirmed is greater than any other miracle that Jesus ever did. This was the verse that filled in that missing piece for me: “I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father.’ (John 14:12).
– Sadie N., St. Mary’s, Moscow.
“A few years ago, I was not a strong believer. In fact, I didn’t enjoy being a Catholic. However, ever since I started college I have dived into my faith. I have done this through personal prayer, Bible study, daily Mass, Adoration, and events such as SEEK I have learned that God wants me to trust in Him and to not rely on my own understanding, which is something I have struggled with throughout my life. I have learned that God wants me to be my happiest and best self, loving others through Him. The only way to do this is by trusting Him. I have learned that through prayer and thanksgiving, I can be the best version of myself because I am fully trusting Him and letting go of my fears.”
– Sandra B., St. Augustine’s, Moscow.
“At about 5th and 6th Grade, I was wanting to leave my faith behind and live my life the way I wanted. I did not like going to church. I thought it was a waste of time. Then I moved here to Moscow, and I lost all of my old friends. It was really hard for me. I started to hate my body and the way I looked. I felt the need to look ‘perfect’ like all the others girls I saw online. … When quarantine started, I began realizing that I did not need to change the way I looked every day. I did not need to look perfect. That is when I turned to God. I started to pray more and talk to Him about my struggles. I started to talk about my faith and love my faith instead of hate it. That is when I figured out that the only way to be truly happy is through God.”
– Anna R., St. Augustine’s, Moscow.
“I would like to be Confirmed because I want to have a closer bond to Jesus Christ and have a deeper relationship with Him. I also want to show my children the value in living life with grace through their Catholic faith. I know that Confirmation will give me the grace that I need to help guide myself and my family and to ensure we are fully equipped to face the changes the future may hold.”
– Samantha M., St. Mary’s, Potlatch.
“This Confirmation is very important to me. Most people my age are simply religious because their parents are, but I would like to show my full commitment to the Church independently. I have prepared or this Confirmation by attending all of our Confirmation classes this year as well as taking extra time to really think about my faith, trying to understand as much as I can and praying whenever I can.”
– Joseph D., St. Mary’s, Moscow.
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