The Confirmation Team recently held an Advent competition for the candidates to create something that reflected Advent and their Confirmation journey to date.

We have three winning entries, each reflecting on a different part of their journey.

We pray that they will soon be able to receive the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation.

The four themes of Advent: Love, Hope, Peace and Joy

He will be great

Waiting without Wasting

What does this picture suggest to you?

For me, it represents the passing of time and it symbolises our waiting. Waiting for someone, waiting for something exciting to happen.

Advent is a time of waiting. Waiting for Jesus’s birth, waiting for our Saviour. During this time, we also prepare for Jesus’s coming; we don’t prepare just physically, but we especially prepare room for Jesus in our hearts.

In the past nine months or so, we have all practiced our waiting skills and often felt that our patience was also put to the test. For weeks we have waited for the daily update from the Government, giving us guidance and at times imposing strict rules to help fighting the current pandemic. We have waited to hear good news about the effectiveness of a vaccine to help us defeat the new disease.

As candidates willing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, we have been waiting to hear when we will be able to make this important step in our life as Catholics. It was disappointing to see the original date cancelled when we were so close to the end of our preparation programme! In
November our hopes were fuelled by our enthusiasm once we received a new planned date, but we experienced another disappointment when this plan could not go ahead due to a new lockdown.

What helped us to cope with it all? What gave us a reason not to be passive in our waiting? For me it was prayer. Not being able to physically attend Mass for such a long time made me aware of how I have always taken for granted going to Church every Sunday. It also made me realise that we are too used to plan things way in advance, often without even questioning the likeliness of events to happen.

Prayer has helped me to accept that things can’t always be planned, reminding me of the importance of being ready, being ready for when the right moment comes, being ready to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation when it will be possible to do so. In a way, the uncertainty of the situation has made me feel closer to the disciples when they were about to receive the Holy Spirit: in fact, they were waiting, not knowing when the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus would come to help them, nor how this event would happen. They simply prepared and wanted to be ready. When the Spirit came, they were praying, making the most of their waiting time.

I have tried to take more opportunities for me to pray during the day, including whilst washing my hands. We have been encouraged to wash our hands thoroughly and frequently in order to decrease the chances of catching the virus. With my family, we decided that we could say two Hail Mary or a Hail Mary and an Our Father to have a rough guide on how long to wash our hands for (for us it was more productive than singing happy birthday to no one!). I have also carried on to keep alive my good feelings about being an altar server, by ringing our own bell during online Mass and remembering when I would be doing which task.

This Advent we have started a daily prayer journey reading passages of the Gospel and pondering on them. I want to carry on getting ready to welcome Jesus and to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, bearing in mind that the certainty of Jesus’s coming is stronger than any uncertainty around us.

You can use this link to find the daily readings and Pope Francis’s words.