Last night was our Parish's annual Confirmation Mass. 29 young men and women (around age 16) were confirmed.
Yesterday was nasty - winter nasty. It snowed all day. Just didn't stop. Not a hard snow, just enough to make you think you didn't have to shovel and then when you needed to go out, you realize you should have. You have to brush your car off everytime. And because we're on the coast, there's always some form of rain involved- freezing or regular, it doesn't seem to matter. And lots of winds. Just the type of day you'd rather stay home, not really a storm, just stormy.
However, I pick up Marly from school at 2:00, head over the bridge to her 3:00 physio appt, the physiotherapist is overbooked and running late so we don't get home to nearly to 5:00 pm. On the way home, the radio people are announcing the evening activities that are cancelled. Please cancel confirmation - Marly is an altar server and has to be there for 6:30 pm and supper will now be late. And she can't be late, the Bishop will be there and on and on I ramble in my head.
When I get home, I call my friend Janet who is in the choir. No, it's not canceled. They can't really cancel it because it would be hard to reschedule the Bishop with Lent practically upon us.
So we charge through supper which everyone liked (what's up with that?) and we had a nice family visit because, of course, the Lord is watching over us - Sandy when will you get that?!
We go to confirmation. It is freezing and snowy and I have to wear my nice boots but they are making my sore foot and ankle hurt, Marly is cranky because she was invited at the last minute to go outdoor skating in the neighbourhood but can't because "she has to go to church!".
Not a good start.
I walk in. Everyone is dressed in their very best. Extended families have gathered for this important occasion. The church looks wonderful. The Bishop is chatting about - he's a great chatter. The confirmation candidates are in their robes, ready. The choir is huge (our two choirs combined) and a full complement of altar servers. I'm glad I wore my nice boots :)
A peace comes over me. The Holy Spirit is there already. It's not waiting for the Bishop to invoke it upon the candidates, it is there in our community. I always envision the Holy Spirit like a wave flowing in and round the people, touching us all, making us one and making us better.
The service was lovely. The choir was fabulous. I always sit close because I used to sing with them, so I sing along and pretend I'm sitting with them. The candidates are ready.
I look at those boys and girls HARD. When you are 16, do you know what you are doing? Can you make these decisions about your life? Do they know what they are saying? Do they believe it? Will they live it? Time will tell. They have their lifetime to live their faith, to make their own journey.
I made the decision to be baptized when I was in grade 8, younger than them. (Yes, I am a Catholic covert from a whole life of being Baptist.) I was ready, I knew I was. But did the community of adults wonder the same thing for me? I'm sure they did.
This year, after the service, the Bishop had invited one of the young people in our parish who was confirmed a couple of years ago to speak to his peers about what it has been like for him since his confirmation. I thought it was a great idea. Kids are more likely to listen to kids.
When all was said and done and I watched the 29 have their pictures taken with the Bishop, our Priest, Sister and Deacon and the leaders of the Confirmation Classes, my heart warmed my toes and soothed my ankle, and I thought about the confirmation in my daughter's future. I prayed that she would know what she was doing, or at least be open to learn and experience all that God has to offer her.
Happy Shrove Tuesday - gotta love them pancakes!!