The Role of a Sponsor
The word “sponsor” comes from a Latin root meaning “to give assurance” or “to promise solemnly.” A confirmation sponsor walks with a candidate along his or her journey toward Confirmation and after.
Confirmation is a sacrament, a particular sign of God’s grace, which gives us the strength to bravely witness to the Gospel and the truth of Jesus Christ. There are a lot of misconceptions about what Confirmation is and what it’s “for;” it’s important to key into the sacrament’s true purpose. Confirmation allows us to be strong, vibrant, joyful, and bold witnesses for Jesus Christ and His bride, the Church; to defend Jesus and the Church, and to orient our lives around God’s will.
The most important things a sponsor can do are to pray fervently and witness their faith joyfully. Pray for your candidate and his or her family. Witness your faith by attending Mass, with your candidate if possible, praying together, serving at your parish and in your community, and being an excited, on-fire Catholic.
Student-Sponsor One-on-One Meetings
The mentoring and faith exploration the student and sponsor undertake together is the cornerstone of the confirmation preparation. Monthly meetings will allow deep delving into the “heart” of the Catholic faith. Sponsors will be given handbooks with clear directions for what to discuss and cover at each monthly one-on-one meeting. The material covered will come from two sources: the Youth Catechism (YouCat) and Bishop Ricken’s study guide for confirmation students.
The Role of a Sponsor
Being a sponsor can be a beautiful opportunity to dive into your faith all over again with new eyes. This is a moment in your life that you might be able to look at faith in a new way – to rediscover Catholicism. In the Rediscover Catholicism book that will be one of the foundational pieces of this year’s Confirmation material, Matthew Kelly writes:
“If you don’t think something needs to change, go to Church next Sunday and look around. Then ask yourself, ‘Where are all the young people?’ Not the very young, but the twentysomethings and thirtysomethings. I find myself right in the middle of what is now statistically the largest age segment of Catholics in America, and yet, it is also the least practicing segment of Catholics in America. For the most part, they went to Catholic schools and were raised in Catholic families, but we didn’t teach them to pray or led them to an effective relationship with God. Somewhere along the way, something went drastically wrong. Somehow have failed to communicate the value of living a life of virtue and faith. In some way we have failed to convince young people today that walking with God is the best way to live. We have failed to demonstrate the relevance of Jesus and the Church in the modern climate. And unless we can do this, and do it convincingly, these young people will not be back anytime soon.”
Rediscover Catholicism, p 285
It is too easy to look around our parishes and communities and see people who are missing from the pews. But if we follow John Paul II’s words, “we are an Easter people and Hallelujah is our song!” Despite challenges and a culture that is hostile to Jesus and His Church, there is always hope. As confirmation sponsors, you have a key role in forming the future leaders of the Church and world.
May the Lord assist us on this important journey!