Transformed in Christ – a new Confirmation programme – available now

Filed in Catholic by on September 7, 2014 0 Comments

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A new confirmation programme has just been launched, and both the Candidate’s Workbook and Catechist’s Guide are available to purchase from Gracewing now. See the Transformed in Christ website here. And the publisher’s ordering information here.

Here is a question and answer section from the website:

What age group is this programme aimed at? 

Transformed in Christ is aimed at 12-16-year-olds. It may also be useful with those aged 16+. In fact, the main Catechesis in each session could even be used with young adults.

Can it be used for anything other than Confirmation preparation? 

Of course! It would work well as a year-long programme for a youth group, or a programme of discipleship for older teenagers. Furthermore, the programme has already been trialled in a school chaplaincy setting. A short half-an-hour section could be used at a lunch-time chaplaincy session. Similarly, the main Catechesis in each session could be used in a college or university chaplaincy setting.

How long is each session? 

Each session is one and a half hours long. It is a good idea to include social time for the young people each week, so with this added, it would be wise to factor in up to two hours for each session.

Some of the last sessions of the programme are longer. For example, Sessions 20 and 21 are based on the film, The Human Experience. They go deeper into some ‘life in Christ’ themes and focus on the social teaching of the Church. Each of these session lasts around two hours. These two sessions would work well run together on a Saturday or Sunday.

22 sessions is a very long programme. In our parish, we normally only do 10. 

Indeed – 22 sessions (which essentially is equivalent to a full academic year) is longer than the average parish’s Confirmation course. However, we found that running a long programme at Holy Ghost, Balham resulted in deeper conversions and greater discipleship of the candidates. We therefore experienced very little treatment of this sacrament as an “exit sacrament” and found that almost all candidates continued in their practice of the faith afterwards (evidenced in Mass attendance, participation in youth ministry activities).

Having said this, I appreciate that it is a big ‘jump’ to 22 sessions, which may require a shift in culture.

I would recommend working towards a year-round programme in stages. You may try, in the first year, offering a 15-session programme. The first 15 sessions work well as a whole in preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation, and cover the whole of salvation history. Sessions 16-22 focus more on life in Christ and would work well as a post-Confirmation ‘mystagogia’. You could run these in the months following your Confirmation celebration, and perhaps it could lead into further youth ministry.

After two or three years, aim to do a full year’s preparation (do the full 22 sessions before the Confirmation). I am convinced this will result in deeper faith and openness to the Holy Spirit, which will result in a greater fruitfulness of this sacrament.

This means, however, that you will need a youth ministry in place to continue what you’ve begun, post-Confirmation…!

All this might seem daunting, but it is possible, and perhaps more importantly, needed for our young people. Check out the articles on the blog under ‘youth ministry’ to look for ideas to get started.

The Confirmation session pages on the website only include video clips. What are they for? 

All of the content and information you will need to run this programme is available only in the Transformed in Christ Catechist’s Guide and Candidate’s Workbook.

Suggested video clips are included on this website for each session. These are all publicly available on the Internet and not created for this course. In the fast-paced world of new media, video clips such as these come and go – new, short video clips are constantly being produced. It is worth looking out for good examples to use in your programme. Those that have been selected for this programme are effective in helping reach the learning objectives. If you choose other clips, it is worth asking yourself, Is it faithful to Church teaching? Does it reflect the beauty of the faith? Is it reverent and appropriate for the subject matter? Does it contribute towards meeting the learning objectives? As helpful additions emerge, I will add them to each session page.

It is hoped, in time, to include further resources to help catechists run each session.

It seems that the Confirmation programme covers all the essential Catholic teachings. Is this necessary? Can’t we just teach the sacrament of Confirmation itself?  

This is an interesting question.

Most Catholic teenagers are not taught the Catholic faith in its completeness and comprehensiveness at school, at home, or in the parish – that is, they are not taught the overarching narrative of the faith in its entirety, and how each part fits into the whole. This is certainly worthwhile for understanding how Confirmation fits into the bigger picture. Especially if we want to give them every possible chance of continuing their journey of faith.

Some may say, ‘they learn this in First Communion – why do it all over again at Confirmation?’ As we all know, our spiritual life develops as we develop as a human being, as our intellect and psychology develop. Our faith needs to ‘keep up’ with the other developments. What we were taught at 7 years old might help answer our 7-year-old questions, but is it still capable of answering our 14-year-old questions? The level of faith formation needs to be commensurate with our formation in all other areas of life.

Here are some endorsements:

Rt Rev Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth:

What I like about “Transformed in Christ” is the way it not only offers a comprehensive catechesis to our young at a level they can engage with, but also the way it grounds this in the primary proclamation of the Gospel, the kerygma of Christ’s death and resurrection (evangelisation). This course not only informs its participants but helps them become, by God’s grace, intentional disciples, focused on the love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. …

Hannah Vaughan-Spruce brings to this programme the fruits of her practical experience as a faith-filled and accomplished catechist involved in Confirmation courses and adult formation.

Fr Stephen Wang, Senior University Chaplain, Archdiocese of Westminster:

This is an outstanding catechetical resource. It can be highly recommended for Catholic parishes and schools. It provides a rich faith formation in well-structured sessions that will appeal to the minds and hearts of young people. It also gives much needed practical advice for priests and catechists about how to prepare and run each session. It is rooted in the Bible, the Catechism, the wisdom of Christian experience, and the Church’s vision of authentic catechesis.

Fr Stephen Langridge, Vocations Director, Archdiocese of Southwark:

The challenge facing the Church today is not so much teaching the faith as forming Christian disciples. Transformed in Christ is an outstanding course because it leads young people on a journey of faith and encourages them not only to think more deeply about what we believe but to begin to live that faith in prayer and in Christian discipleship.

Fiona Mansford, National Director, Youth 2000:

Young people love to know the truth, even if it’s tough! This Confirmation programme brings the truth of the Catholic faith to life, in a way that will equip and form our young people to live as confident Catholics. There is nothing better than to see a young person deepen their commitment to Christ and the Church, because ‘they get it!’ I am confident that this programme will help young people to understand and love Christ and the Church more.

Fr Tom Dubois, Parish Priest, Nailsea and Portishead:

When I took on running a Confirmation group for the first time, I looked extensively at potential resources and programmes. It was such a joy to me to find your programme and find something that I’d really been praying for some time someone might develop. Catechists were very positive about the experience of using it and the confidence it gave them in preparing for and helping to deliver sessions. Highly creative ideas for engaging young people.

Fr Tom Smith, Parish Priest, St George’s Warminster:

Using Transformed in Christ has completely changed the way I understand and deliver catechesis in the parish context. I can now present a course that holds a narrative, an integrity. It comes with great video clip links, which worked fantastically. The catechists’ guide has made it really easy for the catechist to prepare in advance and be supported by sound teaching, with clearly defined objectives.

Xanthe Dell, Youth Coordinator, Salisbury Deanery:

What an incredible resource!  A beautiful balance between doctrine and spirituality all made really accessible and engaging. The sessions are broken down into realistic sections that keep the catechesis alive and the candidates awake. For so long it has been a challenge to lead our young people from the doctrine to the real life-changing encounter with Christ that stops Confirmation just being the “Exit” rite. Having tried a few sessions I am thoroughly excited about the impact I know this will have on our youth.

David Walford, Assistant Headteacher, St George Catholic College, Southampton:

A programme for Confirmation that is both catechetical and evangelising. This programme is more than just teaching; it is seeking. It seeks for our young people to come to know Our Lord Jesus Christ, it seeks for our young people to be transformed in Christ. It is rooted in prayer, Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This programme will produce ‘good fruit’, and help in the ongoing conversion of our youth.

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These unsigned articles are prepared by different members of the Jericho Tree team

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