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…

Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday

St. Valentine

For the first time in 73 years, Ash Wednesday is falling on Valentine's Day. When this occurred in 1945, the United States was still fighting World War II. I am keeping in mind the somber hope and sacrifice my parents and grandparents must have experienced on that first day of Lent as the nation rationed its goods and waited for the men and women in our armed forces to come home. In most ways, we have it much easier this time around than they did!

Lavictoire brothers world war 2

But the 1945 lovers had it much better off than the folks who lived during St. Valentine's time. 


St. Valentine lived in the third century, during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It seems the Emperor was having some difficulty recruiting and keeping men for his army, and so he banned marriages and engagements. Valentine, a Roman Catholic priest, was arrested, beaten and beheaded for performing wedding ceremonies in secret. February 14 is celebrated as his feast day because that is the day he was martyred!

So maybe this very rare juxtaposition of Valentine's Day with Lent is very significant because it causes to see past the hearts, flowers and greeting cards and see the great importance of marriage - so important that it was worth a mighty sacrifice for some like Valentine- a sacrifice of his own life. 

So while we fast this Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day, let us do it with the intention of offering our small sacrifice for our spouse, or for our children's future spouse, and for the sanctity of marriage to be preserved during this time when so many forces working to undermine that institution. Let us also remember the sacrifice of our priests, who like St. Valentine, suffer and sacrifice for all of us and minister to us with the sacraments every day of the year.