This week has been a bit of a whirlwind for Teach Bhríde. As Patrick mentioned on Monday, we started the week with a fantastic workshop presenting music for the sacraments, but that was just the beginning. The past few days have been filled with practices for Confirmation choir and Class Mass, and yesterday we returned to Ballyvaloo for the first of many Confirmation retreats.
Working with four wonderful women from the Diocesan Retreat Team, Patrick, Clarisa, and I spent the day with 60 5th and 6th class students from the schools of Kilrane, talking with them about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and about their own gifts and talents as well. We played some crazy icebreaker games, watched a couple of great film clips that illustrated the messages we wanted to share, and had several small group discussions. The students were really engaged in the discussions, talking not only about their own talents and how they might use them to help others, but also sharing the talents and gifts they had observed in one another. We talked about the connectedness that exists within the Holy Spirit, about the fact that every word and action has an impact, and about the reality that God has a plan and a purpose for every life. Pretty profound stuff for 10- and 11-year-olds, but reading through their evaluations yesterday, we realized that they were not only listening, but were really taking the message to heart. The entire day was a wonderful reminder of the fact that God’s grace is a living and active reality that carries no age requirement, and that young people in their innocence can often reveal more to us about the love of God than those considered to be intelligent by the world’s standards.
Please keep all of these wonderful students in your prayers over the coming weeks; the students of Kilrane will be confirmed on March 22nd, and we will be meeting many more like them in the coming weeks as the retreats continue. May all of us be filled with the gifts of wisdom, understanding, courage, knowledge, reverence, right judgment, and wonder and awe at the presence of God, and may the grace of the Holy Spirit continue to work in the lives of all who are preparing for Confirmation. Come, Holy Spirit!