On Friday, May 16th, a number of Groton students were confirmed at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Pepperell. These students represented every form and a wide span of ages; Cayley Geffen ’14, Daniel Lopez ’15, Jack Fitzpatrick ’16, Melissa Marquez ’14, Sydney Pagliocco ’16, Charlie Patton ’16, Anna Reilly ’16, Stefano Viacava-Vera ’16, Kate Belanger ’17, Christine Bernard ’17, and Malik Gaye ’18 all participated. Confirmation is a pivotal moment in the religious life of any Catholic, as it is one of the Seven Sacraments- which are the seven religious rites held as the most important in the Catholic Church. The others include baptism, Eucharist, and marriage. Age at confirmation varies, but the majority of Catholics are confirmed at some point between first grade and high school graduation.
For Groton students who wish to undertake confirmation, the process currently takes a year. Notably, Catholics in the choir are unable to be confirmed while at Groton due to the conflict between Sunday choir rehearsal and the pre-Mass confirmation class. Every Sunday morning, they arrive at St. Joseph’s an hour early, and in the time before Mass they participate in what is called the RCIA- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. RCIA is an umbrella name for the components that make up the process of confirmation; along with the expected classes and education about Christianity, special rites and services are undertaken and received.
This year is the last in which confirmation will only take a single year; in the 2014-15 school year, Catholic students at Groton will be required to study for two years before they are officially confirmed. This makes it even more serious of a time commitment than before, and it remains to be seen how Groton’s Catholic students will adapt to this change. Already, some seem to be modifying their plans as a result of the extension of the process. When interviewed, Jack Fanikos stated his intention to be confirmed as an Episcopalian, rather than go through the two-year RCIA process. The less-organized nature of the Episcopalian church means that Episcopalian confirmation can be tailored to the needs of Grotonians— here, the process takes place in less than a year, and is carried out on campus.
Despite the logistical challenges associated with the process, confirmation is a central event in the spiritual lives of Catholics. For anyone interested in learning more about the confirmation process or the Catholic Church in general, the website of the Archdiocese of Boston is a useful resource. Those who are interested in becoming confirmed should contact Mrs. Fanny Vera de Viacava, Ycar Devis ’14, or Daniel Lopez ’15.