Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Faith Frustrations

Big, BIG sigh....

Just feeling very frustrated, sad, shocked.  And trying to find more compassion at the same time.

Out of about 90 Confirmation candidates, I'd say  (with a heavy heart)  that  only 30% of the candidates (age 8th grade - 12th grade) actually wanted to be there....knew why they were there...desired a closeness with Our Lord.

Very sad.

Very frustrating.

Based on their actions, the others HAD!  NO! CLUE!

They gave the impression that it was a total joke to  them.  A free meal.  A chance to get away from their home life.  A chance to spend time with their peers.

So, I ask myself why is this sacrament given away on a silver platter?  Why shouldn't it be earned through growth in faith, maturity, understanding?

It may not be given away, but it sure as hell feels that way.

It feels that way especially when I have spent more than 13 years teaching my daughter her faith....investing myself in her faith as her primary teacher because I am her mother and it is my duty.

And I'm not talking about home school vs traditional school

I am talking about investing in our child's soul.

She has earned her right to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

At the same time, she is mandated to attend one Confirmation class a month.

Okay.  Fine.  If they just want her to have face time with the class.

Yet, her teacher has that audacity to tell me he wishes my daughter would come each week to experience "the real world"!!!!

The "real world"???  By whose flippin standards I dare ask???  After what I witnessed this weekend?

No, thank you, sir.

Last Saturday evening, you could have knocked me over with a feather when a parent/ chaperone said to me ::

"Why aren't there more than two priests here for reconciliation?  They should let deacons give absolution in times like this."

What the hell?

I couldn't respond to that parent.  I was SHOCKED at her suggestion.

Shoot!  Why not bring in the damn mayor of the town we were staying in and let him just throw out a few absolutions while we are at it...for crying out loud!

(I pray that parent is not a catechist at church.)

Deep breathe.

Trying to be compassionate now... I know it isn't the kids' fault.

I completely and utterly realize that the parents of those teens have failed their children MISERABLY by not bringing them to Mass...not bringing them to faith formation class...not bringing them to receive the sacraments....not studying their faith...not practicing their faith.  At all!

Some kids had never heard the rosary - ever.  How terribly sad.

Some kids had not been to confession since their First Holy Communion - 10 years.  How scary.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your child about God.  To have that child know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world.

At the same time, these were High Schoolers.  When are they mandated to take on responsibility?

I say it's time to put the big girl panties on!  Take responsibility for your actions.

The team that presented the retreat did a good job.  They worked hard.  They remained compassionate toward this group.

It was much harder for me.  I was too sickened and saddened by what I witnessed.

Irreverence.  Disrespect.  Clueless.  Laziness.  I could go on and on.

I'm still struggling with it....as though you cannot tell.

And then there is hope.  Praise God for hope!

I witnessed (just a handful) of young men and women who were   so in love with God.  Their actions showed the rest of the group what was written on their hearts.  I will pray that these candidates will remain strong and true to their faith, and that maybe, they'll bring some of the others into a deeper relationship with Christ.

I will pray for all the candidates, of course.  I will pray for their families.

I pray that the sacramental grace they will be receiving will be used, and these candidates will grow in their faith, eventually. 

And most importantly, I need to pray for more understanding and compassion on my part.  I know I have certainly lost track of it since this weekend, and that I must keep representing Christ the way He would want me to.

And that is hard to do at times like this.

~  Patty  ~


  1. Thankfully, a long time family friend stepped up to teach the confirmation group this year. It has been a blessing. And they are only about once a month. But I completely understand where you are coming from- I think our retreat experiences must have been similar. A good thing to keep in mind is that those children will be receiving the sacramental graces from confirmation. It may make a difference in their lives!!

  2. My husband teaches Confirmation...I hear ya! It is a universal problem that we constantly pray about. We always find hope in the fact that The Holy Spirit leaves an indelible mark that can outdo us all:-)

  3. I know what you're talking about. In fact, when one of the boys went through classes, they were told that it's okay to not want to be confirmed at that point; If they weren't ready, it was okay.
    It is really unbelievable at how lax some parents have gotten with the Faith.

  4. Oh Patty...I hear you... On a smaller scale, it reminds me how often we have a friend over for supper and they don't know or try to say grace...my kids always give me " the look"! I only hope that by seeing us live our faith, they will somehow be touched...

  5. Isn't it devasting when you see that? And hard to be compassionate and not judgemental? Yes, lax parents who barely even bother to warm the pews with their families. And yet, they dare think that their child should receive these sacraments because it's just expected at a certain age. And again, these same kids come to marriage prep wanting a Catholic church wedding and pretty much tell you that they aren't going to Mass now nor will they when they are married. What??!! As someone who loves our beautiful faith, it most certainly is devastating to see such disregard for the sacramental life. So much misunderstanding. Heartbreaking.

    All we can do is pray and hope to be guided in compassion by the Holy Spirit. And hope that our children will help lead a new evangelization in the Church. If only all of our hearts would be set ablaze for our Catholic Church!!

  6. We haven't gotten to that point yet, our oldest is only turning 12, but just from some of the things I have observed at our parish, it will be similar. I'm sorry you had to witness this although it probably helps to inspire us to continue even more with our own children and to pray more for the families that are missing out. Because they really are missing out!! It makes me sad to see parents dropping their kids off for CCD and then not staying for mass. What do we expect our children to do if we are taking mass so lightly? Hang in there!

  7. Interesting, I was just mulling over my own thinking about Confirmation...what we need to create is an understanding of What is an Experience with the Holy Spirit, but bear in mind, the apostles included a tax collectors, cowards, liars, doubters, ambitious attention seekers (James and John), and all of us when we received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, were our hearts prepared? Were we ready? Did we understand the great gift we were given? No. We spend much of our lives, not getting or fully comprehending the gifts God pours out into our lives. We are like children who receive hand made toys and do not understand the sacrifice in what we have received because we wanted electronic toys.

  8. OH, Gosh Patty...it's so hard and sad. For what they don't know. I wish our kids could actually get Confirmed when they receive their First Holy Communion, the Fargo Diocese does this. (not here in MN though) I think they are so innocent and ready for those graces. By High School, without that grace and family to keep it up/no good examples, they've fallen before they even have a chance to receive the grace. You are blessed your kids are only required to go once/month, ours are required to go every time. I'm regretting it already,(I've got 2 years to go) my innocent kids being with public school kids--it's the things they say and will hear that I'm worried about, I've heard awful things.

    All we can do is pray.

    1. My husband handles it with more grace than I do. He is a group leader for Jr. High night each Wednesday. He has his own class of 8th graders. Because of his personality and his size (he's tall), he commands and receives respect from his kids. He knows when to have fun and when to be serious with them. He sat our daughter down before she left for the retreat and told her in so many words that she may be hearing things or seeings things that are so very wrong and upsetting. He suggested she close her eyes at times like that and pray hard. Pray for her relationship with Christ and for the other kids. I homeschool the kids, and I didn't even think to say that. He told her that all these years of faith building has set a strong foundation for her and it is at those troubling times that she can start putting into practice what she has been taught. I felt so comfortable with those suggestions.

      Volunteers are desperately needed. Sadly, not all adults make great teachers. Kids pick up on this and walk all over them. Which is SO TERRIBLY SAD since they are there to receive faith formation classes.

      At the same time, I have seen a few amazing PS kids. Unfortunately, the overwhelming lazy attitude of the majority in this particular group made it VERY difficult for the faith-filled PS kids to show their love without being persecuted because of it. It definitely was a test for these faith-filled (for lack of better terms) kids that were present. But in the end, they really shined!!

      I'm not for certain, but I they age for receiving the sacrament of Confirmation depends on the priest?? There is another parish about 25 miles away, in our diocese, that the priest will allow for the sacrament of Confirmation to be received very early. (For a Latin Rite).

  9. i'm joining you in prayer for these children and their families.

  10. I saw this blog title in my reader while in St. Louis and saved it to read until I got back to KC! I knew it would probably be an emotional one!

    Jamie Jo's thoughts were interesting...but I'm not sure I agree. I was 10 and in the 5th grade when I was confirmed. You know what I remember (and I attended Catholic school) about that day...the sheer terror of the Archbishop calling on me with a Catechism Question...and not knowing the answer! I spent countless hours (both in school and out) memorizing the answers to the Faith Questions and still felt sick with worry/anxiety on that very special day. I feel like my parents (who are very devout and faithful Catholics) did the best they could to prepare me (as well as the Nuns), but I'm still not sure I understood the gift I was receiving at age 10.

    *side note* As I was the FIRST confirmation class ever for our newly-installed Archbishop that night...I'm thinking he might have been as nervous as we were! LOL

    Now, fast forward to 2010...I was asked to be a confirmation sponsor for the 8th grader of family friends. We are sitting at practice...and many middle/high schoolers DIDN'T EVEN REMEMBER THEIR CONFIRMATION NAME. I thought Molly, Youth Services Leader for our Parish) was going to come unglued. Some how, the Holy Spirit helped her to remain under control! Father was UNHAPPY! And these kids had to write a research paper on the Saint that they had chosen. Clearly, this meant nothing to them!!! But the saddest part to the whole event...the Confirmation Candidate's grandfather spent the entire service playing with his iphone on mute. SERIOUSLY???

    How can these kids win...when these adults are their role models...

    ...when they only received PSR/CCD/SOR 1 night a week and don't attend Sunday mass...

    The best we can do is pray for these kiddos...

    ...and remember...our Faith Life is a journey...one that doesn't end with Confirmation. Hopefully, they will "get it" down the road...by either marrying a spouse with strong faith...or a co-worker that evangelizes Catholicisim...or a life crisis that brings them back home. God saves...these children aren't lost causes!!!


  11. Patty, great post. And sadly - true. You made me mad, sad and happy all in the same post.

  12. It is when I hear things like this that I am once again reminded how much we need to include holy marriages when we pray for an increase in religious vocations. Sure tons of people get married but how many really realize the sacrament that they are entering into and their promise to welcome children and raise them in the faith. Thank you for raising up another generation of faithful and I pray that more of your daughters peers can be counted among the faithful that profess the Truth of the Church.


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