Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments in the Catholic Church. The intention of Confirmation is to be anointed with the Holy Spirit. Preparation for Confirmation includes several activities, including attending religious classes and confessing sins to a priest. Some churches require that Confirmation students must serve hours of chosen community service or attend a retreat. Retreats are a fun way to meet others who share your faith.
A scavenger hunt gets students moving and serves as an ice breaker. Create a list of items relating to the retreat for retreat attendants to find. Include items pertinent to faith, such as writing down the name of the current pope, finding a hidden rosary, and taking a picture of someone in the group with a priest. Include silly activities as well, like finding a penny on the ground and building a human pyramid. Divide the attendants into small groups. Each group needs a recorder to keep track of progress. Tally results at the end of the designated scavenger hunt period.
Start each day of the retreat with a faith journal. Tell students to record honest, straightforward thoughts on how they are feeling about their faith. Give students 15 to 20 minutes to complete the task. Follow the writing with a brief discussion if students want to share their writing. Complete the same activity at the end of the day, asking students to record new reflections on faith and what they have learned throughout the day's activities. Have students share what they learned, allowing this portion to be optional. Keeping a faith journal allows students to be open and honest about their feelings on the act of Confirmation, and having the sharing portion remain optional leads them to a more honest reflection.
Traditional Prayer Composition
Traditional prayer composition encourages students to re-examine prayers they have been reciting for years, and look at the intentions behind them. Provide a list of traditional prayers, including Hail Mary, Our Father, the Act of Contrition, and the Apostle's Creed. Students can work alone or in teams to rewrite the prayers in their own words. Composing modern prayers provides students with a new outlook and deeper understanding of their meaning, enforcing their intentions before receiving the sacrament of Confirmation.
On the Line
On the Line is another activity that gets retreat students moving. This activity can be completed inside or outside: if outside, draw a line in the sand or build one with small rocks or gravel; if inside, use masking tape or line up pencils to mark the line. Label one side of the line "agree" and the other side "disagree." Have students stand in a row away from the marked line. One by one, read through a list of statements, which can include: "Confirmation will benefit my life"; "I am ready to receive the sacrament of Confirmation"; "I am important in my community"; "God is at the center of my life"; and "The world responds positively to my Christianity." Statements are read one at a time, with the students standing on the "agree" or "disagree" side of the line. Ask students to discuss their choice and the reasoning behind it.
Melissa Chichester has been an active writer since 2003. Her work has appeared in "Red Weather Literary Magazine" and online at Skirt.com, LongStoryShort.net and PankMagazine.com. Chichester holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Minnesota State University and a Bachelor of Science in English from Northern Michigan University.