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…

The dilemma

Maybe it's because we have a lot of kids, but from time to time, one date on the calendar that is big and beautiful and BLANK suddenly becomes the target of every possible activity or scenario possible - meaning that hard choices have to be made.

One such date is this Saturday.

One of our friends for church, one of us choir folk, died after a very long illness, and her funeral is Saturday. She was a fellow medical transcriptionist as well so I'll refer to her by her transcribing identification, MAH. MAH had deep roots in our church; her uncle was the second pastor in our parish's 80+ year history. The parish gymnasium is in a hall named for him! For 35 years MAH has been involved in the music ministry of that church and helped to keep the music and the musicians on their toes and in line. She was a bit of a curmudgeon, but she was our curmudgeon and we accepted that and even liked her for it.

I don't think she liked me a whole lot when I started playing with the group about 10 years ago, but she eventually warmed up and last year we had quite a few nice conversations in the time between masses - that special time when folks are stilling lingering from the last mass and the early birds are coming for the next one. She smiled at my kids and I think she sort of took me under her wing  after mom died.

She wasn't feeling well the second week of Advent.  I asked her what  was wrong and she said she thought she was having a gout attack.  But she went ahead and cantored the mass. Later that week she  went to the doctor and found out she had terminal cancer. It was quite a blow. Our musical group went to serenade her twice. The first time she came and sang with us. The second time she was bed ridden. I know smaller groups of people have come to sing to her and be with her. And then she declined severely last week and died on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

So our group is grieving. Happy that she is free and not suffering, but sad for our loss and how much we will miss her.

But down the road, literally within view of the church, are the soccer fields and Saturday is the last day of soccer. And not just the last day, but Sam's last soccer time EVER with this group.  When it is over he will be honored as a senior. It's just a small thing, but you know, after watching the senior recognition for the past three years, you just kind of know that this year it will be my kid's turn - and I won't be there? Mr. Pete's team also has a game and then there's Rosie- does she play Saturday or do I put her in church clothes and bring her with me?

I've thought out the different options - go to the funeral, play with the group, don't worry about soccer. Go to soccer, and don't worry about the funeral.  Wear my funeral clothes to the soccer field, cut out early to go to the funeral - the worst of both worlds.

Interestingly that evening the boys have to play for mass and then we have to hurry across town for the homeschool dance.  Which will be good practice for Sam who has to do Prom and Battle of the Bands a week from Friday! 

At this point I am looking longingly at the calendar pages of  July and August - which are looking beautiful and sparse right now!

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