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…

On losing a former pastor - Father McDonough

My former pastor, Father McDonough, passed away last evening. I'm not sure how old he was but the diocese web sites says he started his first assignment as parochial vicar in 1950. He was the pastor of the parish I have been in for the last 30 years, during the crucial time Mr. Pete and I were reverting back to our Catholic faith and having babies. He was always friendly and gentle with us and he made it easy for us to start coming to church every Sunday as a couple, and then with little babies and toddlers. By the time he left, I was the mother of three little boys, ages 6, 3 and newborn.

It's funny how little things stay in your mind about someone, but my favorite memory of Father McDonough involves a very small gesture.

At his farewell mass, someone (I think it was the parish school) gave him a beautiful stole vestment. They presented it to him after the final blessing and he promptly put it on and wore it as he joined the procession recessing back down the aisle.

I was standing in the cry room with my little boys, holding the 3 year old up so that he could witness everything, and when Father McDonough passed by the glass, he stopped and held up his stole for me to see it. He stopped for ME to see it. He stopped for ME - the mother in the cry room with three noisy little boys - as if it was important that I see that stole and nod my appreciation and approval. I don't know why that meant so much to me, but that little acknowledgement certainly did.

I look forward to listening to every one else's memories of this kind priest at his funeral next week.