ABOUT RESTORED ORDER
The Parish of the Holy Spirit is aligned with the Diocese of Manchester and is in the process of continuing to strengthen and renew faith formation in our parish, school and home school communities. Through this process we are being called anew to “Restore, Renew and Proclaim the Hope that is Christ.”
The goal is to make lifelong faith formation a priority and a reality throughout the diocese. This requires a few things: Making adult faith formation a priority in our parishes, which includes formation of catechists, parents and the entire adult community. Strengthening our youth ministry programs to include all teens of high school age. Reimagining our sacrament preparation processes to include a return to celebrating the sacraments of initiation in their restored order: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist.
What is Lifelong Faith Formation?
Lifelong faith formation is a process of growing in the faith that begins with baptism. Immersed in the life of the Trinity, we are adopted sons and daughters of God our Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. Like all human relationships, developing and deepening our relationship with the Trinity happens gradually and over time. Consequently, lifelong faith formation provides opportunities and experiences throughout the entire life span to strengthen our relationship and knowledge of God, Jesus and the Spirit; to enhance our understanding of Scripture, Tradition and doctrines of our faith; and to sustain us in living as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Ministry with adolescents is a concern for the entire church community. It is a call to empower young people for the mission given to them by Jesus Christ. Youth ministry focuses on three essential goals: (1) empowering young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today; (2) drawing young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the faith community; and (3) fostering the personal and spiritual growth of each young person (Renewing the Vison, 1997). It is important to utilize the resources from the entire faith community and integrate ministry with adolescents and their families into the total life and mission of the church.
In their 1999 document, Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, the US Bishops made a “renewed commitment to adult faith formation, positioning it at the heart of our catechetical vision and practice.” The document included their pledge “to support adult faith formation without weakening our commitment to our other essential educational ministries.” Three major goals guide adult faith formation: (1) invite and enable ongoing conversion to Jesus in holiness of life; (2) promote and support active membership in the Christian community; and (3) call and prepare adults to act as disciples in mission to the world.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Included here are some frequently asked questions regarding the celebration of the sacraments of initiation in the restored order. (This is also referred to as “original order,” “traditional order,” or “proper order.”)
1. What are the Sacraments of Initiation? The sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are interrelated and all three are required for full Christian initiation.
2. What does restored order of the Sacraments mean? Restored order means returning the three sacraments of Christian initiation to the logical order in which they were designed to be celebrated: first Baptism, then Confirmation, then Eucharist. During the first five hundred years or so of the history of the Church, it was always the case that the sacraments of Christian initiation were celebrated in this sequence.
3. Why is the Diocese of Manchester changing the age of Confirmation? By placing Confirmation at this age, the Diocese of Manchester will be following the natural sequence of the sacraments of Christian initiation. In addition, by placing Confirmation prior to the reception of First Eucharist it makes it easier to view the Eucharist as the summit of Christian initiation.
4. How is the celebration of Confirmation going to change in the Diocese of Manchester? The standard age of Confirmation is going to be third grade, and Confirmation will be celebrated at the same liturgy as First Communion. As a result, the preparation and reception of the sacraments of initiation throughout the Diocese of Manchester will be Baptism in infancy, Confirmation and Eucharist in third grade. Although not a sacrament of initiation, the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation will be received in the second grade.
5. What are the benefits of restored order? First, it will highlight that the Eucharist, not Confirmation, is the culmination of Christian initiation. Secondly, with the reception of grace of the Holy Spirit at a younger age, it will give children greater courage and guidance in facing the increasing difficulties of living a Christian life. Finally, it will allow for more opportunities for parents to take their rightful place as the primary educators of faith formation. It places sacrament preparation at an age when children are naturally more open and receptive to participating with their parents.