CONFIRMED IN THE FAITH
by Dora Nash
(Gracewing, 2003, 64pp, $12.95. Available from AD Books)
For much too long, parish catechists have lacked a coherent, well-presented textbook from which to work with candidates for Confirmation. Here it is at last - packed with good material, solidly Catholic, attractive to handle, and in a format young people will find most satisfying.
With its bright red cover, and medieval-style woodcut illustrations, this is a book that states the seriousness and importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation, and the information that is presented is laced with prayers to use, Scriptures and other material to learn by heart, and a sense of system and method.
The author has taken Christ as her model, using the system of teaching that He used with the Apostles as He prepared them for the great drama of Pentecost and their commissioning as missionaries across the world. Candidates for Confirmation today need to be given a sense of awe as they are prepared for this Sacrament, and for receiving the Holy Spirit into their souls.
Thus there are things that must be studied - Christ, His life and message, the meaning of His death and resurrection, the Church that He founded and the Sacraments that nourish our souls. Candidates must develop a life of prayer, and have a lively recognition of what it means to be a Catholic - to confess sins and receive absolution, to be at Mass every Sunday, to receive Holy Communion regularly.
All this must be taught in a way that makes sense to the lively and questioning mind - and it helps that material is presented in an attractive way, with questions to be answered, topics for discussion, words to unscramble and writings from great saints and mystics to use for private prayer and meditation.
Confirmed in Christ is modestly priced and the idea is that every Confirmation candidate will have a copy, to be brought to class and used systematically. It can also be used by parents who are seeking to supplement inadequate parish instruction by their own efforts at home. This is a book that every parish priest should obtain. It has the potential to be a standard Confirmation textbook for many years to come, and open the door to a lifetime of Catholic living for many young people.
Joanna Bogle is an English Catholic author and journalist.