Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Alessandro Serenelli and Scott Peterson

Alessandro Serenelli was the young man who brutally murdered St. Maria Goretti. After years of defiance and hard heartedness, he eventually repented, and was even present at Maria's canonization many years later. In fact he sat next to Maria's mother!

In old age Alessandro wrote:

"I'm nearly 80 years old. I'm about to depart.
"Looking back at my past, I can see that in my early youth, I chose a bad path which led me to ruin myself.

"My behavior was influenced by print, mass-media and bad examples which are followed by the majority of young people without even thinking. And I did the same. I was not worried.

"There were a lot of generous and devoted people who surrounded me, but I paid no attention to them because a violent force blinded me and pushed me toward a wrong way of life.

"When I was 20 years-old, I committed a crime of passion. Now, that memory represents something horrible for me. Maria Goretti, now a Saint, was my good Angel, sent to me through Providence to guide and save me. I still have impressed upon my heart her words of rebuke and of pardon. She prayed for me, she interceded for her murderer. Thirty years of prison followed.

"If I had been of age, I would have spent all my life in prison. I accepted to be condemned because it was my own fault.

"Little Maria was really my light, my protectress; with her help, I behaved well during the 27 years of prison and tried to live honestly when I was again accepted among the members of society. The Brothers of St. Francis, Capuchins from Marche, welcomed me with angelic charity into their monastery as a brother, not as a servant. I've been living with their community for 24 years, and now I am serenely waiting to witness the vision of God, to hug my loved ones again, and to be next to my Guardian Angel and her dear mother, Assunta.

"I hope this letter that I wrote can teach others the happy lesson of avoiding evil and of always following the right path, like little children. I feel that religion with its precepts is not something we can live without, but rather it is the real comfort, the real strength in life and the only safe way in every circumstance, even the most painful ones of life."

Signature, Alessandro Serenelli

Julie, the Happy Catholic, was absolutely right about that. That is why JPII advocates for life sentences, so that every second possible is available for repentence.

I remember listening to Kim Hahn's story once. Her father asked her to pray the prayer, "Lord, I will do anything you want to do, say anything you want me to say, go anywhere you want me to go." And Kim couldn't pray that prayer. For her it was too scary at that time. So instead she prayed for the strength to be able to pray the prayer!! Until one day she eventually could say it.

That's kinda where I'm at with the Scott Peterson thing right now. But I think on looking at Mr. Serenelli's life, he might be a good intercessor for me, and for Scot Peterson! Maria Goretti, the forgiving victim would be a good intercessor as well, since she just naturally and openly poured out her forgiveness for the wrong that was done to her. Two good examples I think.