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…

Our All Saints/All Souls

Thanks for all of the prayers for us yesterday on the anniversary of our own little saint, Raphael.

Last weekend our kids did all of the "Halloween" kinds of things with trick or treating twice! They each got about 5 pounds of candy each and in true big family fashion have their candy stashed away, protected from each other. I must say though they have been very generous with their suckers for the baby and they gave me most of their PayDay candy bars, so I can't complain too much. The only candy stash I am aware of for certain is Isadora's as she hid hers in the fireplace. I discovered that as I contemplated starting a fire yesterday. The others are so well hidden that I don't have a clue.

Our parish usually has the PSR kids dress up as saints and sing for the vigil mass. This year the powers that be decided not to have them dress up and there was no party either. I was a little ticked about that. Nonetheless, we showed up and my children sang for the mass and Sam played a piece on the piano after communion. It was good to hear the readings and to focus on the feast, even without the festivities.

Mr. Pete came home for lunch yesterday and I had a chicken dinner waiting for him. We usually have our big meal at night, but since it was a special day and I didn't want to rush dinner, we had our big meal at noon. Afterwards Mr. Pete, Izzy and I went out to the cemetery with some balloons for the baby's grave. Izzy was still wearing her costume from the other day. It's very velvety soft and she loves to dance around in it. As it was actually All Saints Day, and she was Blessed Imelda, I let her wear it, even out to the cemetery.

There were five more babies buried there last month. It's so peculiar how that waxes and wanes. Sometimes we go for months without any new babies, and then we have a flurry of baby burials. I think it's so sad to see them close to Thanksgiving and Christmas though. I hope there are no more until after the new year.

The geese that live at Holy Cross, had left droppings on the head stone, so we filled up a 2 liter container with water and Mr. Pete had some rags in the truck. We washed it off and it looked a lot better. I'd like to remember next spring to get some stone polish. I keep meaning to do that, but I keep forgetting. Next year our stone will be four years old and it could use a good shining.

I bought a Happy Halloween balloon and a Happy Birthday balloon. We secured them to the in-ground vase so the won't be blown away. An added benefit of having something that moves around on the grave is it keeps the geese away! I wonder why they don't fly south for the winter?

Mr. Pete has become much better at spontaneous prayer. I use to complain and tease him about that. He got perturbed at me once and said that I should just say the prayer myself, but I can't pray out loud at my baby's grave site without crying, even now. So it falls to him and I should just shut up and let him do his best. But he was good yesterday and said everything I wanted to here. He said how much we miss him (and we do. Sometimes I wonder how that six year gap beween Isadora and Rosie will ever be bridged.) He said we were happy he was in heaven and then he asked him to pray for all of us, but in particular to look after his little sister. It was perfect.

Another parish about 30 minutes away WAS having kids dress as saints and process in. So we went to that mass too last night. Izzy was lovin it. She got to wear her pretty costume again! But by this time St. Tarcisius and Father Damien (Noah and Gabe) were getting tired of the makeup and costumes. Nonetheless, because I still think it was important, they were troopers and processed in with Father, and even told what saint they were at the intercessions. Well.. kind of. After portraying St. Tarcisius for five days, Noah had a brain freeze and could not remember who he was supposed to be, and Gabriel just let him stand there and stew without reminding him!! It was a touch of humor for the congregation though and Noah made sure father knew who he was before we went home.

Today we solemnly remember our beloved dead. Another bittersweet kind of day I suppose. As I was putting out pictures of our loved ones it dawned on me that I know quite a few dead people now!! I look at each picture and remember how many of them were at my wedding 27 years ago. It was rather stunning when I stood back to take it all in. To my children, many of these picures are just pictures with stories, but not really many that they remember. But the point I suppose is that we do remember and pray, and then someday my kids will put my picture up and remember me!

Then I think about the people with no one to pray for them, because they didn't have family, or worse, because they didn't believe in praying for the dead when they were alive, so they didn't teach their children to do that. Suddenly the burden of praying for so many people feels a lot heavier, certainly a lot heavier than it did when I was a bride.

Anyway, there's an indulgence for visiting the cemetery in November for eight days and I started out right and hope to keep it up for seven more days. I wish we partied in the cemetery like the do in other countries. It sure would seem more like "community" if it wasn't so solitary. The closest we come is a mass at the cemetery on the 5th in one of the mausoleums. Still, in an odd way I feel fortunate as I do have access to the holiest part of the cemetery, where I am certain every one of the deceases is a little saint - babyland.

I hope you all have a very holy, All Souls Day.




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