November 28 Confirmation Ceremonies

We are now in the home stretch, with less than a week until Confirmation day at St. Bridget and Our Lady of Fatima! We have over 100 Conformandi that will receive the Sacrament on November 28. Please utilize this post to help with loose ends and questions that you may have.

PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS AND DISCLAIMER
The unfortunate trade off of being Confirmed during the pandemic is the heightened restrictions and adjustments to the ceremony. In comparison to Confirmation events that you may have attended in the past, the November 28 ceremonies will be restricted to smaller levels of guests and shorter runtimes for safety. Additionally, shifting levels of COVID-19 infections being reported across the country may have some families rethinking their Confirmation plans. The parish will have additional ceremonies available down the road if families would prefer to wait. We are hopeful for a time when candidates are not limited to a certain number of guests and when there are less risks involved with travel and contact. If families wish to wait until that time for Confirmation, we understand and look forward to celebrating with you then. In this current time, however, we will continue to prioritize safety and uphold the Archdiocesan ceremony policies. We will not be able to allow Confirmation candidates to bring additional guests other than their three guests (including their sponsor) which they registered ahead of time.   

COVID-19 Recommendations Compliance

The parish will be following the safety guidelines of the CDC and the Archdiocese. This includes the ceremonies being socially distant, using registration to limit group sizes, and collecting contacts for contact tracing. Even with such practices, the parish will not have a way to verify if guests were compliant with such recommendations leading up to, or during, Thanksgiving. We ask in your celebrations and travels, you take the upcoming Confirmation ceremony into mind. There will be other Confirmation ceremonies available later on if your plans don’t fully align with the post-Thanksgiving ceremonies. It is the intention of the parish to have more ceremonies available, particularly in the spring/summer. We will hopefully be in a post-pandemic world by then but will have the flexibility of perhaps having outdoor ceremonies with room for more guests and movement if we are still limited by social distancing.

Arrival Time, Ceremony Length

The church will be opened approximately 15-20 minutes prior to the posted start time of the ceremony. At this time, please begin to enter the church. Weather permitting, please attempt to wait for everyone sitting in your party before entering the church. This will make the seating process more efficient. 

To safely implement social distancing protocols, all seating will be assigned. Upon entering the church candidates and their guests will be guided to their assigned seats. Candidates are asked to sit closest to the center aisle of the the church.

The ceremony will last approximately 40 minutes after the posted start time. Please remember to factor time for post-ceremony photos into your planning. The church will not be open after the ceremony and all attendees are asked to utilize the church’s outdoor spaces for post-ceremony prayer and photos. Unfortunately, the Bishop will not be able to be a part of post-ceremony photos. 

Anointing with Oils and Responses, Rehearsal Alternative

Since we are not able to have a rehearsal session. Please use this information as a refresher:

During the ceremony, the candidates will be prompted to move forward to the altar for an anointing and blessing. The candidate’s sponsors will remain in the pew and will not go forward to the altar with the candidates. The candidates and Bishop Reed will have the following dialogue during the anointing, please note the responses (candidate’s will have a card with this information on it as well):

BISHOP REED: (your confirmation name), be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
CANDIDATE: Amen!
BISHOP REED: Peace be with you.
CANDIDATE: And with your spirit!

The anointing process will be mindful of social distancing and pandemic safety.

Sponsor Roles and Proxy Sponsors

To minimize movement and contact in the ceremony the candidate’s sponsors will not go with them to the altar for their Confirmation blessing. Sponsors are not required to be present for the ceremony. If a teen’s sponsor is unable to attend the ceremony, they can still be the teen’s sponsor. A proxy will be available at the ceremony to stand in for the sponsor but the sponsor on the teen’s paperwork will still be their official sponsor. A parent or relative can stand-in as the teen’s proxy sponsor. The Archdiocesan allowance of the use of proxy-sponsors is aimed at reducing unecessary travel and reducing COVID-19 risks. Utilizing the flexibility of sponsors in the ceremony, please do not risk breaking travel protocols. It is not necessary to notify the parish that you’ll be using a proxy-sponsor ahead of time.  Sponsors are not required to submit any additional paperwork for the Confirmation ceremony.

Guest Registration

After reserving a spot at a Confirmation ceremony, you will receive a notification email at the submitted email address with a link to a form you can use to submit the names of your guests for reservation and contact tracing purposes. In accordance with Archdiocesan safety guidelines, each Confirmation candidate will be limited to three guests (their sponsor and two other guests). If you have not yet registered your guests, you can use the following links to submit the names of your guests. For St. Bridget Confirmation candidates, click here. For Our Lady of Fatima, Confirmation candidates, click here. You will receive a notification email after submitting.

Postponed Candidates from May 2020

For candidates who were scheduled to be Confirmed this past May, there should be no additional paperwork needed on your end. Parish staff will be reaching out to you over the next week if there are any loose ends.

Action Items and Paperwork for Current Students

In addition to reserving a spot for Confirmation, currently enrolled candidates (typically grade 10 students) have a few action items which must be completed. These are the submission of previous sacrament details, selection of a sponsor, and selection of a Confirmation name. Candidates who have not done so may complete these action items electronically using the grade 10 action item links at https://lifeteenfatima.com/actionitems/. After submission, the email address used will receive a notification email. Please note, writing your Conformation name and sponsor name into one of your modules instead of filling out the forms means that that you have not yet submitted the forms. Some candidates at St. Bridget may have submitted these items on a paper form instead of electronically. Parish staff will be reaching out over the next week to candidates that are missing these items. 

Confirmation Check-In Meetings

If you were not able to schedule a Confirmation check-in meeting with JT due to timing, please thoroughly review the other information on this post. The check-in meetings are generally the time for candidates to have their paperwork reviewed and be given the “all clear” for being on track for Confirmation. This year’s meetings also included discussions of program changes due to the pandemic. This included that the current 10th grade students would not be having a Confirmation project this year.

Ceremony Live-Streaming

The Confirmation ceremonies at Our Lady of Fatima will be livestreamed on the parish website for those who wish to tune in. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not have the technology for live-streaming at St. Bridget. 

Confirmation Attire & Weather Conditions

Please note, there are no particular colors that must be worn in the ceremony. A white or red outfit is not required for Confirmation. The only part of dress code required is a mask or facial covering. Additionally, be mindful that some windows may be open during the ceremony, due to the pandemic, for proper air circulation. Please dress accordingly.

Ceremony Lector/Reader

Any candidates interested in being a lector and reading during their Confirmation ceremony should contact JT at jt@fatimasudbury.org.