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…

Feast of St. Sebastian

St Sebastian
Father Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr, licensed cc.

Today is the feast of St. Sebastian, who is also the patron of the church I attend. In honor of our patron saint, our parish commissioned a hymn which premiered at mass last year. After all, it's not like there are lots of St. Sebastian hymns to choose from!

A few years ago our parish's contemporary music group sang a song about the saints and I wrote a verse specifically about St. Sebastian:

St. Sebastian the soldier who bravely lead
The people to Jesus until his heart bled
From arrows that pierced it and left him for dead
On the feast of our patron martyr, the vestments are red

St. Sebastian was born in Gaul (a piece of land near modern day France and Belgium).  He traveled to Rome to be a soldier and became a captain under the Emperor Diocletian. He was responsible for converting many to Christianity and many miracles were attributed to the saint.

He is most often pictured bound with arrows poking out of his body.
st. sebastian

He was seriously injured and left for dead. I have heard that the reason he wasn't killed was that his fellow soldiers couldn't bring themselves to make an absolute kill shot on a fellow soldier. 

Nonetheless, St. Irene found him barely alive and carefully tended him back to health, and I might add, without the help of antibiotics! She must have been extraordinarily gifted.

Nonetheless, he recovered his health and went back to persuade/confront Diocletian again - and was successfully murdered for his trouble.  I often ponder how St. Irene must have felt about that!

Personally, I think I would have knocked him over the head to keep him away from the evil emperor - which is probably why she is a great saint and I'm not.

He is the patron of soldiers, athletes, the dying and police officers. He is also the patron against the Plague

Usually, my parish hands out chocolate arrows to the school children and PSR students. But as a family, red velvet cake is always a nice way to celebrate a martyr.

My girls and I decided that Diocletian got too much mention in the parish hymn, so we came up with a verse to honor St. Irene

There once was a lady whose name was Irene.
She was as nice as Diocletian was mean
She found St. Sebastian and made his wounds clean.
She lives now in heaven with Mary our Queen.

Mr. Pete scoffs at this - I challenged him to make up one of his own, which he has yet to do!  It's not as easy as it seems.

The artwork above was commissioned by my parish and is displayed for St. Sebastian's feast day every year. 

The Basilica of St. Sebastian on the Apian Way. 
Images of St. Sebastian in art and iconography.