Letter to the Bishop
Due February 17, 2023
All students who hope to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in May 2023 must choose a Confirmation sponsor and saint name, and write a letter to Bishop Hennessey about their selections. Click on the tabs below for more information about each piece of this assignment. Letters can be submitted at the end of this page. You will select your Confirmation ceremony at the time you submit your letter to the Bishop. If you have any questions, please email Amy at [email protected].
Your sponsor must complete this form and have it signed by the pastor of their parish: Sponsor Form
You can submit the sponsor form with your letter below or have your sponsor bring or mail the form to our parish offices (22 Boston St. Middleton, MA 01949)
Requirements of a Sponsor:
Role of a Confirmation Sposor:
- Help to prepare a candidate for the Sacrament of Confirmation through prayer, conversation, and example
- Present the candidate to the Bishop during the Sacrament of Confirmation
- Continue to aide the candidate in living his or her faith after Confirmation
A Confirmation Sponsor must:
- Be at least sixteen years of age by the date of Confirmation
- Have received the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist
- Be a Catholic in good standing with the Church and display a visible commitment to living out the Catholic faith, by attending Sunday Mass, receiving the sacraments, praying, serving others, etc.
- Have the ability and intention to carry out his/her responsibility as a spiritual guide in the candidate's life
- NOT be the parent of the candidate
Things to Consider:
- Because the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation are so closely connected, Church teaching states that it is “desirable that the godparent at Baptism also be the sponsor at Confirmation." While it is preferable for you to choose a godparent as your sponsor, it is not required.
- The person you choose as your sponsor should be someone who you admire and respect, and who actively lives out the beliefs of our Catholic faith.
- Your sponsor should be someone you trust and feel comfortable turning to for help, advice and guidance, especially in regard to your spiritual life.
- Your sponsor should be someone who, through his/her example, shows you what it means to be Catholic.
- After you receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, your relationship with your sponsor does not end! You are both called to lead each other closer to God, to continue to grow in knowledge of your faith, and to challenge one another to lead lives of holiness and service.
- Each Confirmation candidate may choose only one sponsor.
- Prayer is key! Spend some time asking God who He would choose as your sponsor.
After Choosing a Sponsor:
You should be able to answer the following questions about your sponsor. If you can't, get together with your sponsor and ask them some of these questions.
- What Catholic parish are you a member of?
- How did you become Catholic? Were you baptized when you were a baby or did you become Catholic as an adult through the RCIA program? How did you learn about your faith?
- What name did you choose for your Confirmation name and why?
- Do you have a favorite Saint(s)? Why is he/she your favorite? What is there about his/her life that has helped you on your faith journey?
- What challenges do you face when you are trying to live a life of holiness?
How do you pray? Do you have a favorite place to pray or a favorite time to pray? Do you ever find it difficult to pray? When you pray, who do you usually address: God the Father, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Mary, a Saint?
Do you regularly participate in service projects or volunteer opportunities at your parish, work, or in your neighborhood? What do you do and what have you learned from those experiences? How have you seen Christ in those you have served?
Have you ever had a time in your life when you really felt close to God? Have you ever had a time in your life when you really struggled to believe in God? How did you overcome your doubt?
Who has been a good role model for you to live according to your Catholic Faith? What has he/she taught you or shown you? How has he/she deepened your faith?
In what ways do you think you still need to grow in your Catholic Faith?
What do you think are the greatest challenges to being Catholic? What is the greatest joy of being Catholic?
Please give this form to your sponsor as soon as possible, so they have time to complete it and ask the pastor of their church to sign it. Once completed, your sponsor can mail or bring the form to our parish offices (22 Boston St. Middleton, MA 01949) or they can give it back to you and you can upload a copy of it when you submit your letter to the Bishop below.
The Holy Spirit has enabled Christians of every century to live like Jesus and become saints. We are ALL called to be saints. Saints are holy people who tried to follow Jesus with all their hearts and now live with Him in Heaven for all eternity. The saints were ordinary Christians, just like each of us. They relied on the Holy Spirit and followed where the Spirit led. Saints have been men, women and children. Some were married and some were single; some were members of religious orders and some were laypersons. Saints have come from all parts of the world, from every age and from all walks of life. From heaven, saints continue to watch over and pray for the Church, for all of us. As Catholics, we remember and honor the saints because they show us how we can follow Jesus with all our hearts.
At Confirmation, you are launched into mission. You are empowered by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to live the Catholic faith in a deeper way. Throughout scripture, God gives people new names when they are given a new mission. To signify your new mission, you are able to (but not required to) choose a new name, the name of a Canonized Saint, to take on your Confirmation day.
You have two options concerning the choice of a Confirmation name:
1. Choose a New Name
Pick a Saint’s name that would symbolize a new beginning in your faith life and a connection with that particular Saint. A new name symbolizes a new mission and a renewed commitment to your faith. A new name shows that you are, in some ways, a new person. This new name would be used after your present middle name and before your last name. The particular Saint’s name chosen would represent the direction you feel your faith life is taking, or would represent a strength or attribute you feel you need.
It is important and necessary to learn something about the Saint you choose before you decide on that name. The option of taking a new name is not to be used because you like the sound of the name, how it fits with your other names, or because it is the name of a nice friend or relative. You should honor this Saint through prayer and imitation. These resources may help you choose a Saint name to take:
- Life Teen's Biggest and Best List of Confirmation Saints
- Sophia Institute Saint Cards
- Catholic Saints
2. Stick with your Present Baptismal Name (your regular first or middle name)
If your baptismal name is that of a recognized Canonized Saint of the Catholic Church, there is no need to select a new name for Confirmation. Using your baptismal name for Confirmation highlights the relationship between the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. To stay with your baptismal name would demonstrate that you feel there has been a continual growth in your faith and you now wish to make this formal through Confirmation. You should still learn more about this Saint and honor this Saint through prayer and imitation.
Confirmandi must write a 1-2 page letter (typed, single-spaced, size 12 font) to Bishop Robert Hennessey, stating their desire to be confirmed and answering the following questions:
- Why do you want to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation? (This video may help you answer this question.)
- Which Saint's name did you choose as your Confirmation name? Why this Saint?
- Who is your Confirmation sponsor? What is it about the faith of your sponsor that inspired you to select him or her?
Other things you might include in your letter:
- Request the bishop's consent to be Confirmed
- Explain what the Sacrament of Confirmation is (See CCC 1285-1381)
- Explain why you desire to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation
- Tell an anecdote (story) that highlights why your sponsor is a good role model of faith to you
- Share the number of years you have studied religious education
- Share which Gifts of the Holy Spirit you hope to gain more of when you receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and how you will use this gift to build up the Church and benefit the world around you (Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, Fear of the Lord)
- Tell the Bishop where you go to school, what interests you have, what extracurricular activities you are involved in, and how you bring your faith into all the activities you are a part of.
How to start/address the letter:
Select one of the following to begin your letter.
- Dear Bishop Hennessey,
- Most Reverend Robert Hennessey,
- Your Excellency,
Do NOT address this letter with "Hello" or "Hi".
How to close your letter:
Use one of the following or another respectful salutation at the end of your letter. Don't forget to include your full name in your salutation!
- In Christ,
- Thank you,
- May God bless you,
Reminder: God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are names, so they should always be capitalized.
Do not write your letter in a note on your phone and submit a screenshot. Submit a word doc, pdf or other file that will look professional when downloaded and printed.