In the month of November when Catholics remember and pray for their deceased family, friends and neighbours, our Bishops have launched a new website that offers help and support to those grappling with issues around the meaning of dying and death. It features real-life stories about dealing with the journey through death to eternal life. It is called, The Art of Dying Well (from the ancient Latin name Ars Moriendi) and is drawn from Catholicism’s rich treasury of resources and reflections as well as consulting with experts and professionals in palliative care, ethics, chaplaincy, history and the media.
It is found at www.artofdyingwell.org. It will be of particular interest to those who are dying (that’s of all of us!) to family, friends and carers. At the back of each church there are cards with the address of the site and a prayer for the dying.
Last week I dealt with the Bishop’s response to the recent consultation on deacons. Today I quote his decision on Confirmation.
“Having considered all the opinions and arguments, I would like to see the Sacrament of Confirmation celebrated with candidates aged 13 (Year 8) or above, which is within the age range agreed by the Bishops’ Conference. Normally, I would hope to celebrate the Sacrament myself. The precise logistics still need to be worked out but I would prefer to confirm from Easter to the summer school holidays and, if necessary, into the following school term. We might also consider holding some celebrations at the Cathedral or some of the larger churches of the Diocese (such as St. Alban’s, Blackburn) to give the candidates a sense of being part of the larger Church.
“Other details still need to be finalised. The plan is that the invitation to young people to prepare for Confirmation will be addressed by me to them at the end of Year 6 in Primary School with our schools and parishes working together to prepare them for Confirmation over the following two years. Following their confirmation, I hope that schools and parishes and the diocesan team will be able to offer our young people ongoing spiritual formation which focuses on:
- growth in prayer and worship
- the call to ministry
- the call to serve those in need.
In practice, this will mean that the first group of candidates will be invited, before they leave Primary school, in summer 2019, to prepare for Confirmation after Easter 2021”
At Forum on Wednesday we shall consider these and other decisions made by the Bishop following the consultation.