Confirmation Program Overview
We will continue using the Decision Point Confirmation Program from Dynamic Catholic; however, due to the global pandemic, the structure of the program at St. Mary’s will emphasize remote learning instead of classroom learning. While this is not an ideal situation, it will provide the opportunity to stress that Confirmation Prep is much more about “faith formation” than it is about “religious education.”
Matthew Kelly, the founder of Dynamic Catholic, is the author of books such as Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic and Rediscover Catholicism, which have been provided as gifts from Father Brian to parishioners during past Advent and Lenten Season Masses.
Decision Point Program
Decision Point is a Confirmation preparation program primarily designed for Catholics between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Dynamic Catholic developed the program to ignite conversations about the genius of Catholicism between candidates and their parents, sponsors, catechists, teachers, peers, and priests. The materials in the program are something that every Catholic should experience, not just teens preparing for Confirmation.
Most young Catholics these days are disengaged from their faith. Engaging them is, therefore, the first step. Until they are engaged, it doesn’t matter how much information you download on them; they simply will not absorb it and make it their own. While faithfully presenting the Church’s teachings is essential, it is also critically important that we deliver them in ways that are engaging, accessible, and relevant.
We hope that this program will prepare young Catholics for the Sacrament of Confirmation in a dynamic way. To achieve this goal, we plan to inspire them to respond and cooperate with God’s grace in all the circumstances of their daily lives, long after their Confirmation has passed.
Decision Point is a fantastic program. At the heart of it are seventy-two short videos, which average six minutes each and feature a passionate and engaging Matthew Kelly. There are three ways that Confirmation Candidates, Parents, and Sponsors can experience the Decision Point aspects of the program:
- Book:the 330-page, perfect-bound, paperback-workbook that St. Mary’s will provide to each Confirmation Candidate and his or her family,
- Online:Electronic copies of the workbook, all the short videos, and a lot more supplemental parts of the Decision Point program are available online at DynamicCatholic.com/Confirmation
- App:The seventy-two short films and some bonus content are also available on an app for smartphones and tablets. Just search for “DECISION POINT” on either the App Store or Google Play.
Changes to the Program due to COVID-19
Ideally, we deliver the Decision Point program live to candidates where
- they have ample opportunities to ask questions
- can receive additional material from the presider, and most importantly,
- discuss their thoughts and feelings with people their age, who are in the same situation they are: preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Unfortunately, the realities of the pandemic require St. Mary’s to rethink the best way to draw candidates to experience Decision Point and the genius of Catholicism as fully and richly as possible.
In the past, candidates met for two hours and accomplished one Decision Point Session (there are 12 Sessions total). Although preferred, this is no longer possible.
Using the tools that are available to us, we have revamped the program in the following ways:
Elements of the Program
Based primarily on the Decision Point material, the Confirmation Prep program during the time of COVID-19 will be mainly self-paced faith formation. So that candidates do not fall behind in the material, we have created multiple periods during which they will explore specific material.
- We have cut each Decision Point Session in half, into what we will now call two “Conferences.” In-Person Confirmation Prep Sessions have traditionally been 2 hours long. We anticipate that candidates should be able to complete a Conference in less than an hour
- Each Conference consists of 3 Conversations:
- Conversation with Yourself and God
- Conversation with Your Friends
- Conversation with Your Parents
1 – Conversation with Yourself and God
In this initial Conversation, the candidate will follow the link on the St. Mary’s website to the appropriate Conference. There they will find 3–4 videos (average 6 minutes each) as well as some opportunities to reflect in writing on the ideas presented. There will also be short prayers and other chances for the candidate to reflect on their relationship with Jesus Christ.
2 – Conversation with Your Friends
Once during each Conference, each candidate will join a pre-assigned group of friends to discuss 1–3 questions listed on the Conference page. A Small Group Leader (SGL) will initiate and lead each discussion. At the end of each Conversation with Your Friends, candidates will reflect on the conversation on the Conference form.
3 – Conversation with Your Parents
Finally, the candidate will have a conversation with one or more of their parents. As with the other Conversations, the candidate will reflect in writing regarding their feelings about the conversation. Parents will learn in a series of six 30-min webinars/year what the topics will be and will have the opportunity to ask the Confirmation Director for additional information if they choose. No theological knowledge is necessary; parents only need to have a willingness to raise their teen in the faith and discuss that fact with him or her.
Candidates will experience six of these Conferences per season (12 per year for two years). The amount of effort they will put into each Conference should be more digestible compared to the effort candidates used to put into one Session.
Additionally, the Corporal Works of Mercy program, which incentivized candidates to help others physically, has been replaced with a Spiritual Works of Mercy program. Click here for more information.