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by Catherine Frakas 17 Oct 2001

Confirmation and other questions QUESTION from Ben September 21, 2000 I am presently 21 years old. I was born and raised Catholic all my life. In 1994 my parents separated and in 1995 became divorced. During that time many difficult things happened in my life, my only living grandfather passed away, my mother had [but thankfully recovered from] a form of cancer. My family was divided on issues of my parents divorce. There had been a history of some phsyical abuse from my father to myself and my two younger siblings, and my mother. My father and his mother, my grandmother, are both Catholics. Unfortuantely, they crammed so to speak, certain things about Catholicism down my throat to such an extent that despite my being almost ready to have my holy Confirmation, I did not do so because I felt so pressured. It was not simply to the level of suggestions or encouragement, but almost a demand. I, as a result of these things, did not ever become Confirmed. It left such a bad taste in my mouth [the experiences I had around that time] that I in fact seldomly visited church until the end of 1999. I was at least able to get what I wanted for Christmas 1999, my mother, both siblings and myself attended mass at the local Catholic parish. Sadly my mother is not raising my siblings in the Catholic faith and she is not herself practicing it [although I do remind her of it whenever I can, and I have taken my brother to mass with me a few times recently and taught him much of what I know about the Catholic Church] because she too was pressured and in some cases indirectly threatened if she did not submit to the demands of my grandmother and my father [both of whom I love very much, despite all that's happened]. Luckily, through the mercy of God and the Blessed Mother Mary, I have come back to my faith more than ever before. I pray more often, and I have attended mass a few times in just the past month alone. This amounts to more visits to my local parish than in the past five or so years combined. I feel much better since returning to the church on a semi-regular basis [which I intend to make firm and more regular]. I believe in the Church and I adore the Pope. I feel badly for leaving the church for such a long time. During these years I have of course continued to pray and think of God often. I always make the sign of the cross when I am at or drive past a Catholic Church. I wear the brown scapular and have for years. I say the Hail Mary and the Our Father as well as other prayers, like the prayer to Saint Michael and others too. I would very much like to be Confirmed in the Catholic church but I am not sure how I should go about doing this. Is it unusual for a young man my age to be Confirmed so late, if not a convert from another religion to Catholicism? What does this entail and will I need anyone to sponsor me? I have no Catholic friends or relatives within many hundreds of miles of me and I do not know how I would go about this. I feel somewhat embarassed to ask these questions to a local priest because I feel as if most people already know these things. I woul
Back to the issue of Confirmation for a moment. Once I am Confirmed, what else am I to do, or what is the next step in my path as a Catholic?
I am sorry for all the questions I have asked, but I am hopeful you will have answers for me so that I can use that information to guide me in the right path. I am so glad I have found this site on the Internet, I read many of the other questions and they were very informative [the answers]. Some of the questions posed were ones I had also had. For the time being, the questions I have asked in this message are all I have. Thank you very much.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on November 20, 2000 Dear Mr. Ben:
No it is not unusual to be confirmed late. There are many people baptized Catholic as babies who did not get confirmed at the usual time and then left the Church to come back later.
Praise God that you have returned. We will pray for you.
You need to go to your pastor and tell him that you were baptized Catholic but never confirmed and you now wish to come into full communion with the Church and be confirmed. He will instruct you on what is needed.
Once confirmed you need to follow Christ and obey His commandments. That means obeying the Church which means going to Sunday Mass EVERY Sunday, and doing all the other things that are minimally required of a Catholic, believe all that is required of a Catholic. Then in addition begin to live a devotional life. Go to Confession once a month at least, spend time in adoration of the blessed sacrament, study the Bible, pray the rosary, develop a devotion to one of the saints that you admire, give to the poor, live a good Christian life.
In doing these sorts of things you will come close to God and He to you and you will enjoy the thrill of living the Christ-life.
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