Why should Confirmation be taught in Catholic schools?
According to the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales Bishops’ pastoral letter ‘Catholic Schools at a Crossroads’, schools need to be “truly Catholic in their identity and life” to be “centres of ‘the new evangelisation’” (Bishops of ACT and NSW, 2007, p. 3). Sacramentality is a fundamental part of Catholicism (Hore, 2010). Therefore, the sacraments should be taught in Catholic schools.
Sacraments help Catholics to “see signs of God’s presence everywhere in (their) lives” (Hore, 2010, p. 45). A sacrament is a symbol of God’s presence in the world (Hore, 2010). “Catholics believe that there are certain actions carried out by and in the name of Jesus through his Church that are especially significant, powerful and effective signs of Jesus’ continued presence and activity” (Hore, 2010, p. 45).
It is expected by the Catholic community, that the youth utilise their “individual gifts…(to) contribute effectively to Church, society and culture” (Bishops of ACT and NSW, 2007, p. 20). The sacrament of Confirmation allows Catholics to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and become “full members…of the Church” (Hore, 2010, p. 65). By receiving these gifts, Catholics have the ability to fully support the Church in their parish and school community.
The Church believes that “sacramental preparation is the responsibility of both the family and the parish community” (Liturgy Brisbane, 2016). However, Catholic schools also have a role in teaching students about the sacraments. The Toowoomba Diocese upholds this ideal. The sacraments are taught throughout primary school in the diocese. In particular, the sacrament of Confirmation is explored during year 5 in Toowoomba Diocese Catholic schools (Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Education Office, 2013).
Bishops of ACT and NSW. (2007). Catholic Schools at a Crossroads [pdf]. Retrieved from http://www.cecnsw.catholic.edu.au/db_uploads/catholic-schools-at-a- crossroads.pdf
Catholic Education Office Hobart. (n.d.). level 4: grades 5 & 6 Sacramental Life. Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://catholic.tas.edu.au/ourschools/curriculum/religious-education-resource-banks/level-4-grades-5_6-sacraments
Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Education Office. (2013). Scope_and_Sequence with dlp codes – _p_-_12_. Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://www.twb.catholic.edu.au/re/New%20Religious%20Curriculum/Scope_and_Se quence%20with%20dlp%20codes%20-%20_p_-_12_.docx
Hore, G. (2010). What Catholics Believe. Strathfield, NSW: St Pauls Publications
Liturgy Brisbane. (2016). Confirmation and First Communion Masses. Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://liturgybrisbane.net.au/liturgylines/confirmation-and-first-communion-masses/