Each year the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, hosts a morning of activities and fun for the confirmation candidates from all the parishes across the Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. ‘I know lots of them already,’ he says ‘ but this gives me an opportunity to meet with them and to speak about this special occasion in their lives.’ Bishop Colton added:
For people who come from small parishes, they realise that they are part of a bigger picture. Those from bigger parishes meet others and realise they are not the sum total of the picture either. It is a lot of fun, but it requires a lot of support from the clergy, youth workers, parents and guardians, so I am very grateful for that.
This year’s event was due to be held earlier in the year but was postponed due to the snow. It was held instead on Saturday 21st April in Douglas. The photos of the day, with the Reverend Anne Skuse wielding a camera, tell the story better than anything else.
There were games to start and, with everyone in four groups, there were four main activities.
Thinking about Confirmation
Using signs and symbols the Reverend Elaine Murray helps the young people to think about Confirmation, and welcoming the Holy Spirit.
Learning a Hymn to Sing at the Confirmation Service
Lots of leaders were on hand to help!
There were lots of leaders on hand to help this year, including our Diocesan Youth Officer, Hilda Connolly.
The Pearls of Christ
Each year, when he meets the young people, the Bishop speaks about the Christian story, being a Christian and prayer. Every year his own gift to each child being confirmed in the Diocese is a set of the Beads of Christ, also known as the Pearls of Life.
The Tree of Life
The fourth activity this year was inspired by a visit to the Church of Finland led by the Bishop, when, in some churches, Baptism trees were spotted. The idea was brought home and Kevin Carey of the woodwork department in Ashton School, Cork made a tree for use in the Diocese. Jacqui Wilkinson and Adrian Wilkinson spoke about different trees in the Bible, actual and figurative, as well as our connections with each other in the Church. Young people added their own leaf to the tree to recall their baptism, and also put their individual fingerprint on a tree as a sign of their belonging.
The morning finished with a hymn and prayer, and a healthy snack!