Dynamic new Confirmation programme makes young disciples of Christ
At a vibrant gathering last Wednesday, catechists from around the country celebrated the launch of a dynamic new Confirmation programme – Transformed in Christ – which has helped many young people aged 12-16 become disciples of Christ.
The year-round programme was piloted over three years in Holy Ghost Parish, Balham, south London, between 2010 and 2013, where scores of young people took part.
Programme author, Hannah Vaughan-Spruce, said: “Not only did young people continue attending Sunday Mass after Confirmation, they built strong Christian friendships, got involved in the parish’s youth ministry, and grew in a personal relationship with God.”
“It is often thought that 22 sessions is too much to expect of Confirmation candidates,” she added. “We found that the opposite was true. It took time for young people to be open to the real possibility of a personal relationship with Jesus, and as the year went on, candidates loved meeting each week, at the same time growing in discipleship.”
The Diocese of Portsmouth UK has chosen to adopt Transformed in Christ as its recommended Confirmation programme, and will offer training for catechists at the end of September.
The Rt Rev Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth, said: “This course not only informs its participants but helps them become, by God’s grace, intentional disciples, focused on the love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.”
Fr Stephen Wang, Senior University Chaplain in the Archdiocese of Westminster said it was, “an outstanding catechetical resource. It can be highly recommended for Catholic parishes and schools. It provides a rich faith formation in well-structured sessions that will appeal to the minds and hearts of young people.”
Fr Stephen Langridge, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Southwark, and parish priest at Holy Ghost when the programme was created, said: “The challenge facing the Church today is not so much teaching the faith as forming Christian disciples. Transformed in Christ is an outstanding course because it leads young people on a journey of faith and encourages them not only to think more deeply about what we believe but to begin to live that faith in prayer and in Christian discipleship.”
Xanthe Dell, a youth worker who trialled the programme said, “For so long it has been a challenge to lead our young people from the teaching to the real life-changing encounter with Christ that stops Confirmation being the “exit” rite. Having tried a few sessions I am thoroughly excited about the impact I know this will have on our youth.”
Fr Tom Smith, a parish priest who piloted the programme in his parish in Warminster, said: “Using Transformed in Christ has completely changed the way I understand and deliver catechesis in the parish context.”
The programme has now been published by Gracewing and consists of two beautifully-produced books: a 430-page, spiral-bound Catechist’s Guide (£29.99) and a 176-page, full-colour Candidate’s Workbook (£9.99), available to buy at www.gracewing.co.uk. Twenty-two well-laid out sessions, with clearly defined objectives, are given, in addition to an outline for an evangelisation retreat and numerous other resources.
The programme is also supported by a dedicated website www.transformedinchrist.com where catechists are offered ongoing support.
Come and Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Transformed-in-Christ/692453670801580?ref=ts&fref=ts