Manalapan Confirmation program refocuses students on outreach, ministry

June 20, 2023 at 8:50 p.m.
Manalapan Confirmation program refocuses students on outreach, ministry
Manalapan Confirmation program refocuses students on outreach, ministry

By EmmaLee Italia | Contributing Editor

Eighth-grade students preparing for Confirmation in St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan, have been encouraged to put their faith in action through participation in a special program focused on charity, ministry and service.

As part of a new Confirmation prep initiative, students will get involved in an array of activities – from planting trees for a church beautification project, to making prayer shawls for the parish’s Comfort Ministry and developing fundraisers to support different charities. 

According to Pat Colotino, director of religious education, the preparation program has undergone a “complete overhaul.”  Under the motto “Live the Faith,” the refocused program aims to prepare students for Confirmation by having them understand the tenets of their faith through their outreach to the parish and community.

“We are teaching them that they need to give of themselves ... [and practice] the faith,” she explained. “We want the children to learn to work together for the common good.”

That fruits of that effort were demonstrated May 10 when the students planted 20 trees along the church driveway as part of a beautification project.

Colotino described how the students were transformed through the process, going from apathy to enthusiasm.

“They asked if the holes were deep enough, [whether] they gave the tree too much water or not enough,” Colotino said. “Then, without being asked, they went to the other groups and just started helping each other … [they] began a bucket brigade and delivered water to all the trees – again, without any direction from the adults.”

The students will be responsible for keeping the trees healthy. Trees will be labeled with the planter-students’ family names so that they can take turns coming to water them, Colotino said.

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The re-tooled preparation program includes both service and ministry in the parish and the community. In the year leading up to Confirmation, eighth graders also will join a parish ministry – as altar servers, ushers and greeters, readers and members of the Comfort Ministry (bereavement).

Seventh graders also will get involved in the new initiative by conducting charity work in the year leading up to their Sacramental preparation. According to Colotino, the students will come up with ways to fundraise for selected charitable organizations. Among the charities under consideration for the coming year is an orphanage in Peru and the families stationed on Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck.


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Eighth-grade students preparing for Confirmation in St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan, have been encouraged to put their faith in action through participation in a special program focused on charity, ministry and service.

As part of a new Confirmation prep initiative, students will get involved in an array of activities – from planting trees for a church beautification project, to making prayer shawls for the parish’s Comfort Ministry and developing fundraisers to support different charities. 

According to Pat Colotino, director of religious education, the preparation program has undergone a “complete overhaul.”  Under the motto “Live the Faith,” the refocused program aims to prepare students for Confirmation by having them understand the tenets of their faith through their outreach to the parish and community.

“We are teaching them that they need to give of themselves ... [and practice] the faith,” she explained. “We want the children to learn to work together for the common good.”

That fruits of that effort were demonstrated May 10 when the students planted 20 trees along the church driveway as part of a beautification project.

Colotino described how the students were transformed through the process, going from apathy to enthusiasm.

“They asked if the holes were deep enough, [whether] they gave the tree too much water or not enough,” Colotino said. “Then, without being asked, they went to the other groups and just started helping each other … [they] began a bucket brigade and delivered water to all the trees – again, without any direction from the adults.”

The students will be responsible for keeping the trees healthy. Trees will be labeled with the planter-students’ family names so that they can take turns coming to water them, Colotino said.

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The re-tooled preparation program includes both service and ministry in the parish and the community. In the year leading up to Confirmation, eighth graders also will join a parish ministry – as altar servers, ushers and greeters, readers and members of the Comfort Ministry (bereavement).

Seventh graders also will get involved in the new initiative by conducting charity work in the year leading up to their Sacramental preparation. According to Colotino, the students will come up with ways to fundraise for selected charitable organizations. Among the charities under consideration for the coming year is an orphanage in Peru and the families stationed on Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck.

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