In 2018 Archbishop Malcolm made the decision to raise the age of the Sacrament of Confirmation to year 8.
As the diocese had not had teenage Confirmations for a number of years this was also a chance to look at how best to prepare young people for the Sacrament.
Taking into account the ever-changing nature of young people and the world around them; and the resources the diocese has available a preparation scheme was formulated that can be divided into four stages.
Stage One: Called by Name
The Called by Name stage of the Confirmation preparation will be the introduction to the Sacrament for the year 8 group.
Animate, as the youth ministry team for the Archdiocese, will visit each Catholic High School in the Diocese and lead a stage-based presentation on the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Animate will make use of the peer led nature of their ministry to lead this session through games, activities and personal witness to bring alive the importance of the Sacrament to maturing young people.
They will highlight how young people in year 8 now face difficult decisions and choices and the consequences of those choices will have greater ramifications than when they were children. As such, the Sacrament of Confirmation can help these maturing young people make mature decisions.
The sessions are designed to be fun and offer a simple introduction to the Sacrament. They last about one hour.
Schools book the day and time with the Animate team. These days will be in the Christmas-Easter term.
Alternatively, a school may make use of the videos Animate have created and which can be found here:
After this introduction the RE departments will be able to move forward with their specifically designed programme of study in stage two: Called to Serve.
Stage Two: Called to Serve
The Called to Serve section of the Diocesan Confirmation scheme provides the main catechetical input on the Sacrament of Confirmation.
At this time, members of year 8 in our Catholic Schools will be taught about the Sacrament of Confirmation in RE classes by their usual teachers.
The classes they will take part in will form part of the programme of study in the Christmas to Easter term.
These classes are part of the People of God framework, in which young people are asked to discern how they are asked to live as people of God.
The Diocesan Education Department, in collaboration with teaching staff from across the Diocese, have created specific resources to enable teachers to creatively explore and reflect upon the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Young people will be asked to identify the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and consider how these gifts are lived out in everyday life. At all stages of this discussion young people will be asked to draw upon their real life experiences and try to discover how the Holy Spirit was active in those experiences. Thus, they will be taking part in the process of research, revelation and response.
Through this process the young people in year 8 will come to see how the Sacraments are a currency in our everyday life.
Young people will be asked to focus, in particular, on the Apostles Creed; and the Baptismal Promises that were made for them. They will be asked to think about what those promises mean to them now and if they are ready for those promises made on their behalf to be confirmed at the Sacrament of Confirmation.
They will meditate on specific passages of scripture, such as the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ Baptism, the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the references to Laying on of Hands. As such, the Sacrament of Confirmation will be rooted in scripture and give a firm foundation to the practical living out of the Sacrament through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, the young people in their classes will be made aware of the various signs and symbols of the Sacraments, especially the symbols of anointing and the link to their call to be priest, prophet and king. This call to be priest, prophet and king is vital for the young people as they prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation and the life they will be asked to live after receiving the gift of the Sacrament.
The aim of doing this level of catechetical input in schools is to allow the Sacrament to be ‘taught’ by qualified teachers in an environment conducive to learning and where young people will expect to be taught.
Schools will have easier and better access to various creative resources that many parishes will not have.
In the same way, teachers will be best placed to know how to teach the young people they are familiar with. They will have the necessary experience to bring to life the great Sacrament of Confirmation to our young people.
This will leave the parishes to focus on welcoming those same young people into their communities, which will happen at the Called to Community stage.
Resources for this stage that can be used in schools can be found at
*N.B. Year 8 young people not attending a Catholic School are still invited to register on the liverpoolcalled website and they will be contacted individually regarding additional preparation they may have to undertake due to missing this part of the process.
You can also find videos to help guide you through stage two, these have been created with Deacon Paul Mannings to provide a greater understanding on the catechetical input.
Stage Three: Called to Community
The Called to Community part of the scheme is a welcome into the community into which a young person is Confirmed.
This time is spent in parish (or multiple parish) groups.
The aim is to show young people what the Church community can offer them; and in return what young people can bring to that same Church community.
The theology of the Sacrament will have been covered in schools in the Called to Serve section of the scheme so this time will allow parishes to focus solely on what Confirmation means for a young person in the everyday life of the Church.
It will be a chance for them to see the good work the Church does and explore what roles and opportunities the Church can offer.
It will also allow parishes to speak to young people about their hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties.
If you visit the young people in your parish or deanery as part of the Diocesan Confirmation programme.
These ideas are not, and should not be seen as, a comprehensive programme that can or should be followed every week.
The Confirmation programme for the Diocese has been designed specifically to allow for flexibility in its delivery; taking into account the different resources, both human and practical, that each deanery can call upon.
You can choose to use as may or as few of these ideas as you want. And you are also, obviously, free to use our own resources and ideas.
Each session is aimed to last about an hour.
As the formal catechetical instruction has been done in school this stage need not be too long: maybe four weeks would allow for young people to learn more about the Church community into which they will be Confirmed and the people in that community and the place they can find in the Church through the Sacrament.
There are sample icebreakers that can be used at the start of each session as a separate document.
There are sample prayers that can be used at the end of each session as a separate document. Good practice would suggest that each session should end with some social time: whether that is snacks and drinks with music on an iPod or something a bit more structured such as a trip to McDonald’s or even watching a film.
Sessions can be downloaded as a PDF or you can simply follow the session on your phone. The sessions have been deliberately created to be as easy to use and follow as possible. There are not many resources needed to run any of the sessions.
If you would prefer a more structured four week programme there is a more comprehensive programme to follow that can be sent to a parish by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You should remember that these sessions are not designed to offer a formal catechetical instruction. That side of things is done in school by qualified teachers in a specific learning environment. The RE teachers at school have Diocesan resources available for that instruction.
Stage Four: Called to Action
Confirmation should not be seen as an end in itself: that after the Sacrament has been received a young person goes back to their old life and continues as before.
The final stage of the preparation is not to take place before the Sacrament but is a reminder that through Confirmation we are called to take our faith into the world, and are called to a life of action in Christ.
Deaneries may organise events post-Confirmation based on the discussion that take place in Stage Three. Fruits of the discussions at Stage Three may be that the actions post-Confirmation include pilgrimages and retreats, youth groups, choirs / music groups, fundraising activities, commitment to be part of the Lourdes pilgrimage the following year.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Below you can find short videos which we created to provide more information on each of the gifts of the Holy Spirit…