Fr. Schuessler Letter 2-5-23

Dear Friends,

On February 11, Bishop Malloy will be with us to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for some 90 young parishioners.

“By the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” (Roman Ritual Rite of Confirmation  Introduction)

“It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of  Pentecost.” (1302 CCC) “From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and  deepening of baptismal grace:

– it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;
– it unites us more firmly to Christ;
– it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
– it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
– it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. (1303 CCC)

These words are most sacred and most serious: more than theological or pious “babble.”

I have to say that for me, celebrations like Confirmation are a  bitter-sweet. “Sweet” because some candidates really take Confirmation seriously for their level of faith and understanding for their age. They commit themselves to Jesus and His Church and the Church’s mission.

 “Bitter” if you will, sad and worrisome, because many candidates seem to see Confirmation as some kind of hoop to be jumped through as a requirement for something else (e.g. a quinceañera), or some kind of graduation from church rather than a commitment to Jesus and His Church. Often then do not even come to Mass. That may be because their parents don’t bring them. All the sadder. (A reminder that parents are the first educators in the Faith.) I don’t know how we can navigate in our world without Jesus as our rock. We risk being lost and without direction.

In any case, let’s pray for our confirmands, their parents, and sponsors. Congratulations to all!


Fr. Schuessler

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL