On the evening of Wednesday July 8th we celebrated a very important occasion at St Edmund’s – the Confirmation of 15 of our young parishioners. Alexander, Alice, Amelia, Duane, Harry, Jordan, Kate, Kyle, Louis, May, Mikaela, Oliver, Sara, Thea and Xavier are all now adult members of the Catholic community.
Arriving at the church on Wednesday evening, it was instantly obvious that this was a very special event. Proud families, sponsors and friends accompanied the Confirmation candidates to their allocated pews. Everyone was smartly dressed and young children were on best behaviour for the evening.
Bishop Alan concelebrated Mass with Fr Charles, Fr Martin and Fr Padraig, all robed in red vestments, symbolising the Holy Spirit. The Confirmation candidates were active participants in the Mass: they did the readings, bidding prayers, responsorial psalm, brought up the Offertory gifts and helped choose the hymns.
In his homily, Bishop Alan highlighted the importance of names, pointing out that they become part of who we are. We might recall, for example, that we get offended if somebody doesn’t bother to remember our name or that one of indignities endured by Holocaust victims was the replacement of their name with a number. The Bishop called on all those Confirmed to research their chosen saint’s name and to pray to that saint as, by doing so, they can take on some of that saint’s good qualities. He also welcomed all the newly Confirmed into their new Church family – a rather large family of 1.2billion Catholics worldwide – who, along with candidates’ own families and sponsors, are there to support them on their journey through life.
At the end of the Confirmation Mass, Fr Charles thanked Bishop Alan on behalf of the parish and then there was time for photographs in the church before everyone regrouped in the hall for an informal celebration with the Bishop. This involved lots of laughter, more photographs, refreshments and some delicious cakes. Before long, it was time for Bishop Alan to leave and for the newly Confirmed to join family and friends for their own private celebration that evening.
The following Sunday, Family Mass was celebrated in thanksgiving for the sacrament of Confirmation, recognising the importance of this occasion not just to the newly Confirmed and their immediate families, but also to the whole parish family.