On May 7, the stands of the Denver Coliseum will be filled with the Holy Spirit when over 5000 gather for what is set to be the biggest confirmation Mass the Archdiocese of Denver has ever seen.
Sealed & Sent is an archdiocesan-wide celebration of the sacrament of confirmation. It’s also a catechesis on the Holy Spirit, a concert and an experience of Catholic community.
Conceptualized in part as a response to Archbishop Samuel J Aquila’s Restored Order Initiative announced last year, Sealed & Sent boasts nearly 700 candidates representing 15 different parishes being confirmed at the event, and it will also feature a keynote speaker and a live performance by the Josh Blakesley Band.
In a pastoral letter penned last year, entitled Saints Among Us, Archbishop Aquila outlined his intent behind launching a five-year process of restoring the sacraments of initiation into their proper order: baptism, confirmation and First Eucharist.
Once confirmation is restored to its original place, it is my hope and experience that it will not be ‘the sacrament of farewell,’ as Pope Francis has called it, but a profound encounter with each person of the Holy Trinity.”
– Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
To achieve this, Archbishop Aquila encouraged parishes to move confirmation up to the sixth grade to help smooth the transition, with the goal of beginning to implement the Restored Order starting in 2017. By 2020, Archbishop Aquila intends for all confirmations to happen in the third grade, along with First Communion.
“Restoring the order of the sacraments will mean making some changes to how we hand on the faith to our children,” Archbishop Aquila wrote. “Once confirmation is restored to its original place, it is my hope and experience that it will not be ‘the sacrament of farewell,’ as Pope Francis has called it, but a profound encounter with each person of the Holy Trinity.”
The experience Archbishop Aquila speaks of is from his previous work as bishop of Fargo, N.D., where he restored the sacraments of initiation to their proper order in 2002 through a similar initiative.
Father Randy Dollins, vicar general for the archdiocese, said Sealed & Sent will be a beautiful celebration of the sacrament of confirmation, one that will unleash the Holy Spirit and bring the newly confirmed into the “profound encounter” Archbishop Aquila wrote about. It will also provide a glimpse at the scope of the Church and what it means to be Catholic.
“Many times, people get an idea of the Church when they get outside of just their [own] parish,” Father Dollins said. “People start to identify what ‘Catholic’ is and the universality of all these people coming together under their shepherd, Archbishop Aquila. It’s going to be a celebration that hopefully expands people’s understanding of what it means to be Catholic.”
Sister Johanna Paruch, FSGM (left) and the Josh Blakesley Band (right) are among the special guest set to appear at Sealed & Sent. (Photos provided)
In addition to the confirmation Mass, there will be a keynote address given beforehand by Sister Johanna Paruch, FSGM, an associate professor at Franciscan University in Steubenville, a short dinner break and a performance by the Josh Blakesley Band to cap off the evening. Mary McGeehan, the events and hospitality coordinator for the archdiocese, has been in charge of organizing the event, and seeing it come to fruition has been very exciting for her.
“[Sealed & Sent] is an opportunity to intentionally celebrate the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit on many young people, strengthening them as disciples,” McGeehan said.
Saturday, May 7
4600 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80216
Main parking lot will be available for all confirmation candidates, sponsors and family members.
Handicap parking is available in two location off McFarland Dr.
All confirmation candidates and sponsors enter through Door 4.
All parents, family members and guests enter through the Main Entrance Doors .
Doors open at 1:30 p.m.
Keynote speakers start at 2:30 p.m.
Mass begins at 4 p.m.
Dinner from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Josh Blakesley Band performs at 7 p.m.
For more info, visit http://sealedandsent.org
Looking to participate as an event sponsor? Email Mary McGeehan at Mary.Mcgeehhan@archden.org