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HomeLocalAround the ArchdioceseSacramental joy abounds thanks to new Holy Family High School Confirmation program

Sacramental joy abounds thanks to new Holy Family High School Confirmation program

Every Easter, the Church rejoices to welcome more of God’s children home to his Church. Catholics around the archdiocese celebrate with the newly baptized and confirmed, a sign of the ways God continues to work in his Church.

This year, in the Archdiocese of Denver, more than 800 such individuals made their way home and received the sacraments of initiation.

Among those 800 were 16 Holy Family High School in Broomfield students who participated in the school’s first-ever Confirmation preparation program.

Typically, students were referred to their local parishes for sacramental preparation. This year, the school tested a new way of approaching sacramental preparation to make it more accessible to students and their families.

Father John Stapleton, chaplain at Holy Family, hosted and taught Confirmation classes weekly on Tuesday evenings to work around students’ schedules. Father Stapleton told the Denver Catholic that the evening classes allowed students to attend to all sorts of responsibilities in one place.

“This allowed them to do their athletics, sports and school, and then they would come in the evening to do their classes. We’d give them their sacramental preparation classes and prepare them that way,” he said. “That gave them the flexibility where, when they’re involved in sports and so much, they could come here and just do it in house, a one-stop shop.”

With 16 students having participated in the program in its inaugural year, it’s safe to say it has been a sacramental success.

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Three of the 16 students were welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, being baptized and confirmed, and receiving their first Holy Communion. One other will be confirmed on Pentecost at Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

Eleven more were confirmed by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at a special Confirmation Mass at Holy Family High School earlier this month.

“Young people, I make this prayer for you today, that you will go and receive the love of Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for you,” Archbishop Aquila said to the confirmed in his homily. “They know you better than you know yourselves. They love you more than any other human being on this planet – more than your parents, your brothers and sisters, your boyfriends or girlfriends, more than anyone. The Lord loves us and knows us.”

“I’m definitely grateful,” said Reagan Leary, one of the students confirmed at the high school. “I knew that I wanted to get confirmed and my first Communion, but I wasn’t sure where to do it. So when I heard of this program, it was like the perfect opportunity, like a gift from God.”

Yoshiko Nguyen, one of three students received into the Church at Easter, agreed.

“I think this program was really a blessing to me,” she said. “I always was looking to get into the Catholic Church, but I never really found the opportunity. When the opportunity arose and Father John created this program, I really thought it was a blessing. It was amazing to be surrounded by so much support, especially with the schoolteachers and all the priests around.”

Among those in support of the school’s inaugural Confirmation program was Father Shaun Galvin, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Lafayette, the school’s territorial parish. Present for the special Confirmation Mass, Father Galvin celebrated the students’ entrance into full communion with the Church.

“It’s encouraging to see all of them coming forward and receiving the grace of God, and the whole school celebrating with them,” Father Galvin told the Denver Catholic. “This is the first year of the Confirmation program at Holy Family, and it’s a phenomenal idea and a phenomenal way to help students receive the graces that God desires, that maybe they missed for whatever reason. So I can imagine this program will keep building and be a huge grace for this high school.”

And build it shall, Father Stapleton said.

Next academic year, the Confirmation class will be an elective in the regular school schedule. The Dogmatics class, taught by Father Stapleton during an 80-minute block, will meet regularly to prepare students for their sacraments.

“I’m excited,” Father Stapleton continued. “I think it’s a great program, and I’m really excited to see it for next year because we have over 35 students enrolled so far. I know there’s a lot of interest for more people willing to do it next year.”

Already having doubled their attendance and opened a second section of the course, the school’s sacramental preparation program is poised to bring even more students into closer relationship with Jesus over the next year.

“I pray that you will discover and open your hearts to whatever God’s plan is for you because that is what will bring us happiness, and that you will live faithfully to that relationship with Jesus, that you will grow in your love for Jesus, who is the bread of life,” Archbishop Aquila said at the conclusion of his homily.

“This was such a life-changing experience for me. It’s just such a blessing when you start seeing God in everything you do and everywhere,” Nguyen concluded.

André Escaleira, Jr.
André Escaleira, Jr.
André Escaleira is the Interim Managing Editor of the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Católico, as well as the Digital & Social Media Manager for the Archdiocese of Denver. Originally from Connecticut, André moved to Denver in 2018 to work as a missionary with Christ in the City, where he served for two years.
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