I have three such letters saved on this blog:
- Confirmation letter to my daughter
- Confirmation letter to my fourth son
- Confirmation 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 thinking about it early, and make sure that godparents, grandparents, friends, coaches and teachers have a chance to know about it so that they can get a head start on writing these letters. Don't wait for the religious ed director to ask for them! If it's a confirmation year, give everyone a heads up!
- Starting early also give you a chance to collect these letters in time for the retreat.
- Ask those writing letters to just write from the heart about the importance of their Catholic/Christian faith, and to encourage the confirmation candidate to continue growing in their faith journey.
- Memories of when the confirmation candidate was a baby or small child.
- Writing about all of the candidate's fine qualities and how they have grown over the years to this point.
- Include challenges they have already overcome or are working very hard on.
- Something about the patron saint they have chosen and how that fits in with their own life or faith journey.
- Reminder that they should ask God to help them for all that is before them in the years ahead.
- Add little family jokes or pet names if you think the candidate would enjoy that.
- Add a special bible verse that you think would be helpful to the candidate or a verse that is a family favorite.
- A few pictures are nice too if you have the time to include them.
I get a lot of hits on my blog for those old letters, but this one from my adult son to one of his brothers doesn't get seen as much since I didn't specifically name it on the blog, but I think it's a good example too, because it was honest and from the heart.
Well Gabe. Look at you. I was there and saw you in the first seconds of your life. I saw you taking your first breaths. Iwas there when you took your first steps. I was the first one to push you over. And now I'm going to see you become a full adult member of the Catholic church.
When mom told me I needed to write a letter for your confirmation retreat, I was like "DANG now I have to write on my day off!" but after thinking about it, I remembered my confirmation retreat and how cool getting all those letters were. Right now I just want you to know a few things. So listen up JD/CF:
You and I both know that I'm not the holiest guy to walk this big green earth. I wouldn't be the first one to tell you that either (Mom would). My faith has always meant a lot to me. Even if I try and drive mom nuts with telling her otherwise.
You remember the time I had to talk to you in my room and made you sit on the floor. You didn't know this but I had to go to church and pray about what I was going to say to you. Now God didn't tell me to make you sit on the floor. When there was a lot of other places you could have sat. That was me. He did however guide me in what needed to be said. the moral of the story is even if you can or can't do something you can always ask the big man's help.
Now I know you want to be a man and "sack up," and someday I hope you do. But being a man isn't just "sacking up" or having guns like mine. Being a man is being someone that other people love and respect. To be loved and respected you need to be nice, trustful, loving and respectful. One might even say to be a man you need to be holy. Case in point, Dad. We both love and honor dad. I have no problem saying that dad is on of the manliest men I know and one of the holiest.
That's in there' something for you to think about. I know you're a good guy. Don't ever change that. Good luck on this time of your life. I know how hard it can be. Cut your hair. And I love you.