My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II




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Confirmation

St. Sebastian's Confirmation 2007

Sam is now confirmed. An adult in the Catholic Church.

His confirmation year was so different from Calvin's three years ago. We did not have a Director of Religious Education this year. There were some political and personal clashes between our pastor, the business manager, some of the parents in the school etc. and she was fired. I have no idea what their rationale was. It did seem to me though that the parish continued to use many of her ideas and programs that she instituted when she came to our church six years ago or so. One thing that fell by the wayside though were the monthly meetings to prepare the candidates for confirmation.

Now we have a big, busy family. When you have two children preparing for sacraments, those meetings are indeed very burdensome. But there was some merit to them. I had hoped, for example, that through the meetings with his sponsor, Sam and Aunt Kay would have more time to build a bond and talk about their spirituality together. The two meetings that were the most conducive to that, got cancelled. One of those included a meeting with the bishop where the kids had a question and answer session. We lost our auxiliary bishop this year when he got reassigned to his own diocese, so maybe it was too difficult to get one of the other auxiliaries or Bishop Lennon to fill in. I have met Bishop Lennon. I think he would rather enjoy talking to the young 13 and 14 year olds. Maybe he's too busy, but I wonder if he was asked. Whatever happened, the kids did not have those opportunities that other classes had.

Sam does go to PSR every week and he has a wonderful teacher. His instructor is a United States prosecutor and he developed his class and syllabus to cover church history from the time of Christ to the present day, with a very special emphasis on the church and Islam. Really, this class should be available for high school or college credit - it's that good! So Sam is getting that. He has also studied religion through the Faith and Life Books and Image of God with his grandmother since he was in kindergarten. Last year they worked their way through the Acts of the Apostles. This year they are doing the Gospels with a study guide. So Sam knows the nuts and bolts of his faith.

Aunt Kay did take Sam out to lunch last Monday to share her faith journey with him and to give him an opportunity to share with her. I think they both had a special time getting to know each other better.

I started having him read through this confirmation book list. So far he has not finished the Philadelphia Catholic in St. James' Court. (Sam can procrastinate at times) so he and his dad are going to finish it as soon as Pete can read up to where Sam is and then they can continue together. I think that book gives a pretty clear look at what Catholic Christians face as far as attitudes and prejudice as well as misunderstandings by other fellow Christians.

By this spring though, I will insist that he get through Amy Welborn's Prove it Series. Those are easy reads and give you a lot of food for thought. If confirmation was in the spring, I think we could have accomplished all of that before hand, but maybe now that he has the graces of the sacrament, it will help him digest all that I want him to get from this material.

I was pleased that Sam chose St. Tarcisius for his patron Tarcisius was brave and grounded in his sense of right and wrong with a strong faith in Jesus Christ. His belief in Christ, and what Christ taught was something he could stake his life on. That gave his life meaning and purpose. Sam admired that about the saint and he told me several times that he hopes to emulate it. It's not that Sam wants to die a martyr, but even at this young age Sam realizes that one can make choices to follow or not follow Christ everyday and that some of those choices require courage.

A tradition in our parish is to have the candidates participate as much as possible in their confirmation mass. Sam plays the piano and he had a chance to accompany a group of his peers on the piano for the offertory hymn. He had several practices with the musical director. Playing with a group of musicians is a new skill for Sam. You can't stop when you mess up, you have to keep going (a good metaphor for life actually) and that's what Sam did on Friday, although his mistakes if any were minor as he was very well prepared! (I suppose another good metaphor!) As Monday is also Sam's birthday, he received a card from his piano teacher and she expressed how much it blessed her to know that Sam was using his musical ability to praise and glorify God. That was a very special thing for Sam to read, and a keepsake to cherish.

Sam at the piano

When it was Sam's time to go up to be confirmed, Aunt Kay was beside him, Mr. Pete and I were behind him. My sister very pleasantly presented "Tarcisius!" The bishop smiled and said to the deacon next to him. "Tarcisius? Say, I don't get too many of those!" I thought his eyes twinkled. I'll bet he was trying to remember Tarcisius' story and what lessons were learned from that saint. He confirmed Sam and shook his hand and we went back to our seats. In an instant it was over, although Sam said he enjoyed the sweet smell of the confirming oils the rest of the evening.

The moment of Confirmation

And when it was over we did what Catholics do best - we feasted and celebrated with the newly confirmed as a community! As we usually have big home parties for baptisms and first communions, Mr. Pete and I decided to take our newly confirmed out to dinner - something more grown up! A group of other families joined us and one mom even had a cake made with everyone's name on it! Sweet Sam, looked at all the possible menu choices, and got a cheeseburger and fries - something familiar afterall.

Overall it was a very nice evening. I hope Sam will remember it. I reminded him that it isn't the end of his education as a Catholic, and that in a way the hard part starts now. At least he can face the times to come with a firm foundation.


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