Each year in parishes across the Diocese of Trenton, between 5,000-6,000 young people and adults are “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” when they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., or the priests who serve as his delegates.
Confirmation strengthens candidates with the gifts, grace of the Holy Spirit
It is at Confirmation that the Holy Spirit deepens the faith life of the candidates, strengthens them for discipleship and bestows on them the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Piety, Fear of the Lord, Knowledge, Counsel and Fortitude.
With an opportunity to speak with so many Confirmandi, most of them young people and many in eighth grade, Bishop O’Connell encourages them to remember that “Confirmation is not graduation from your religion.
“Confirmation is not simply a moment or an event. Confirmation is something intended to last from this day forward through the rest of your life. Today, you are making the commitment to be and live in the Catholic faith.”
This year, with more than 200 candidates, St. Joseph Parish, Toms River, holds the distinction of having the largest Confirmation class in the Diocese.
For Michelle Abi-Yaghi, coordinator of religious education, as well as the catechists who prepare the students for the Sacrament, it is most heartening to witness how curious and inquisitive the students are about knowing their faith and how to live their faith as they develop their relationship with Jesus and with others.
“It is a true honor and blessing to guide these students in this pivotal moment in their lives,” Abi-Yaghi said.
The Sacrament of Confirmation marked the completion of the Sacraments of Initiation for three Notre Dame High School students recently confirmed during a Mass celebrated by Bishop O’Connell for the entire Lawrenceville school community. The students – freshmen Isabel Urban and Merritt Long, and sophomore Gannon Hermann, had already been baptized and received their First Holy Communion.
“I wanted to take this next step in the Catholic faith and get closer to God,” said Long, noting that his faith formation had been nurtured when he was a student in Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart and continues now at Notre Dame. He is also a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton.
Hermann, a member of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, also credits Notre Dame strongly for influencing his decision to be confirmed, especially since he had previously attended a public school.
Hermann shared that he chose Leo as his Confirmation name because he wants to model “St. Leo the Great, who represented having great confidence and strength.”
“I invite you to pray for these three young members of our community that the Holy Spirit might enter their minds and hearts, bringing his seven Gifts to them and leading them forward with his power and grace to lead full Catholic Christian lives,” Bishop O’Connell said to the Notre Dame community. “Let us pray that the holy Sacrament of Confirmation will change them and draw them closer to God through the Holy Spirit who will come to dwell in them.”