WAUTOMA — “What a joy and honor it is for me to be with you here today for the conferral of the Holy Spirit upon you,” said Bishop David Ricken to confirmands and their families, sponsors and friends who gathered at St. Joseph Church Aug. 29 for a special confirmation Mass for children of established immigrants.
“Established immigrants” is the term used because the parents, mostly from Mexico, are settled here and are no longer migrants, said Julie Vargas, who taught the confirmation class, and Lupe Cervantes, the parish’s Hispanic ministry coordinator. Most of the students were born in the United States, they added.
“You already have the Holy Spirit given through baptism,” Bishop Ricken continued. “Now, the Holy Spirit is going to come alive in you in a new way as soon as I lay a hand on you and seal you with the oil of the Holy Spirit.”
With the exception of the bishop’s homily, the Mass was celebrated in Spanish at the request of the students, out of respect for their parents and sponsors who may not be fluent in English.
“This is the first class, in all my years of teaching, that has requested to be taught in English because they don’t read or write Spanish fluently. They only speak it at home,” said Vargas.
Vargas and Cervantes joined Bishop Ricken for a meal following the Mass. Cervantes’ son, Jonathan, was one of the students confirmed.
In his homily, Bishop Ricken talked about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. “Wisdom, knowledge, understanding and counsel — those have to do with the mind. The Holy Spirit helps your mind to stay in good condition,” he said. “And the last three have to do with your will: fortitude, the strength to do the right thing for the right reason; piety, the gift of prayer; and fear of the Lord, which means you know how big God is and you have fear of him in the right way.”
Bishop Ricken reminded the confirmands that God is with them every day, in their souls and all around them. He asked them to continue to develop a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus, and to use their gifts to grow in wisdom and knowledge in order to help guide others in Christian life.
He spoke about the importance of making time for Jesus, of keeping holy the Lord’s day by attending and participating in Mass to give thanks and praise, and of the grace of confession.
“He loves each one of you,” said Bishop Ricken. “Your parents, your family members. Llet the graces of your confirmation be renewed today. As you see your loved one and your friend receiving confirmation, say Lord, come within me, light my fire again, let me work with your love.”
Recalling his own confirmation, the bishop said he received a pat on the cheek that day, which signified that he became a soldier for Christ. “I’m going to do that for you today instead of saying, ‘peace be with you’ and shaking your hand. I’m going to tap you on the cheek. It’s a love tap, don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. It’s going to make you feel strong, a soldier of Jesus Christ,” he explained.
Twenty-one students, ranging in age from 16 to 20, from Ripon, Berlin, Plover, Plainfield and Wautoma, received the sacrament of confirmation. They were: Yulissa Banda, Miguel Barcenas, Jesús Cervantes, Jonathan Cervantes, Luis Cervantes, Diana Duran, Rubén Godínez, Ruby Godínez, Daisy González, Melissa González, Alexander Jaime, Jose Martínez, Brian Miranda, Jade Moreno-Valdez, Fátima Paredes, Ana Rico, Giovany Rodriguez, Daisy Lee Rubio, Orlando Rubio Jr., Yareli Ruiz and Miguel Villanueva.