Adult Confirmation - A Special Note
We get a lot of calls from people asking if we offer adult Confirmation "classes," many of whom are not members of Our Lady of Refuge parish. What they, and many other people don't realize is that this type of "shopping around" for Confirmation preparation sessions is highly inappropriate. While the Catholic Church is Universal, and you may attend Mass at any (official) Catholic Church, receiving of the Sacraments must be done through your local or "home" parish.
The Sacramental life of a Catholic is lived through their local parish. There's no such thing as being a "lone wolf" when you are a Catholic. To be truly Catholic, you need to belong to a community, and typically that is the parish nearest to your home.
Below are some common questions that I hope will help you better understand the process.
Who should I call about preparing for Confirmation?
As with all the Sacraments, your first call is to your LOCAL PARISH office.
Why do I have to call my local parish?
In order to be considered a practicing Catholic, you need to registered with a parish community.
Why do I have to be registered at a parish? Can't I just go to Mass at any Catholic Church?
Yes, any Catholic may attend Mass at any Catholic Church throughout the world. But to be considered an active, practicing Catholic in good standing, you need to join a parish community. As a Catholic, you cannot be a "lone wolf." Being Catholic means establishing yourself in a particular local parish community.
Why do I have to talk to my local pastor? Can't I talk with any priest?
No. While any priest or deacon can give you guidance, it is the Pastor's responsibility (or the pastor's designee) to make sure all the members of his community are given proper preparation for the Sacraments, including Confirmation.
But what if my parish doesn't have an adult confirmation preparation process?
Most parishes have some form of preparation for adults seeking Confirmation, but you won't know this unless you call them first. If for some reason they don't have a process in place, they can give you guidance on what to do and where to go.
What if my local parish preparation process doesn't fit my schedule?
This is a common problem for many people, especially if their work or school schedules do not accommodate attending sessions scheduled at their local parish. If this is the case, you should talk with those responsible to see if they can make accommodations for your situation, or see if they can help you prepare elsewhere (at another parish or at a regional session) that might better accommodate your schedule. Remember, you need the permission of your pastor (or the pastor's designee) before going outside of your parish for any sacrament preparation. Some parishes may have arrangements with other local parishes or other processes that can better accommodate your needs.
Can't I just take a class at another parish?
No. Your pastor and your parish are still responsible for your spiritual and sacramental formation. You would need to get your pastor's permission (or the pastor's designee) to take any preparation or receive any sacraments outside of the parish.
Aren't there regional courses I can take?
Sometimes. You need to check with your local parish office about the details. All the regional offices of the Archdiocese send notifications to their local parishes when these sessions are offered. In recent years the various Regional Offices of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles have sponsored adult Confirmation preparation session at various parishes within their regions. Your parish should have this information, but information can also be found on the Archdiocesan Regional web sites. http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/ore/sppr/Pages/default.aspx
Can't I just sign up for a regional course?
No. Again, your first call is always to your local parish. Those looking to prepare for Confirmation through one of these Regionally sponsored sessions MUST receive permission from their pastor (or the pastor's designee) BEFORE they will be allowed to attend.
But what if I don't belong to any particular parish?
There are lots of reasons why a person may not be registered with a parish, particularly younger adults in this fast-moving, mobile society. You may only recently have moved into the neighborhood. You may be a student at the local university. Once you leave your home parish behind, Catholics must find a new parish community in which to join (and register), establishing a new relationship with a new community under the care of that parish's pastor.
Why do I have to belong to a parish?
Since the days of the Apostles, Christians formed local communities of faith. These communities were responsible for the needs of those who joined that community, including preparing them to receive the various Sacraments. To be considered a "practicing Catholic in good standing" you need to belong to a parish community... a place where you practice your faith regularly (going to Mass every week) and are known by the pastor and other members of the community in order to establish your "good standing" as part of that community.
Also... a word about "classes"
Understand that using the word "class" in relation to preparing for a Sacrament is considered highly inappropriate. The word "class" gives the perception that we are "teaching" you about the Catholic faith, which we are not. And it makes Confirmation seem like a sort of "graduation," which it is not.
Instead, what we do is provide "Sacrament preparation." Sessions held in a group setting that are intended to deepen the faith to which you have already been Baptized. Preparation sessions include, prayer, personal reflection, group discussion, Q & A, and other activities, as well as a review of the basic elements of Catholic dogma, doctrine, scripture and tradition. During the preparation process participants will also have the opportunity to discern their readiness to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation with their group leader and their sponsor.