Last month our two youngest boys, Jem 9 and Bass 7 received the Sacrament of Confirmation, the second of the three sacraments of Christian initiation into the Catholic Church.
Confirmation completes Baptism, by which in the laying on of hands and the anointing with Chrism Oil, which first happened at Baptism, we are confirmed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
We are reminded of our participation in the ministry and mission of Jesus, and strengthened to follow Jesus more closely.
We were so blessed that the opportunity arose for our boys to make their Confirmation at Marian Valley. Previously our children, all seven older ones, had received their Sacraments at our homeschooling camp but the retirement of our now Auxiliary Bishop closed that door, and we were uncertain as to future direction. It’s amazing how God opens new doors, Marian Valley was to host their first ever Confirmation Mass and we were led in that direction and couldn’t be happier with our decision. It was an incredibly beautiful Mass; the liturgy, the singing, the whole atmosphere was wonderful. Being further North too meant that three of my siblings, spouses and cousins were easily able to join the boys for their big day.
The boys were ‘super’ excited to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. We had prepared for this day for months, as well as knowledge and spiritual preparation, this involved choosing their Saint’s name, a new patron Saint. After serious deliberation and research Jem chose Francis (Assisi) and Bass chose Benedict, big saints to emulate and they just fit the boys personalities perfectly.
Anna Maria and Carpenter are Jem’s godparents, and Anna Maria and Einstein are Bass’ godparents. Both sets of godparents were present for their big event and the boys asked their godfathers/brothers to be their sponsors. They agonized over this decision as they also didn’t want to upset their godmother/sister, so sweet. When she told them she had been a sponsor four times before and wouldn’t be upset, all was well 🙂
We arrived at Marian Valley on the Saturday, the Feast of St John Vianney patron saint of Parish Priests, in time for Mass which was being celebrated by Archbishop Coleridge. St John Vianney is one of Bass’ patron saints and he was rather thrilled with this occasion. We hired cabins on the grounds of the Retreat Centre and were incredibly blessed that all three of our older boys were able to fly into the Gold Coast from Sydney to be with us for the weekend. Staying at the Retreat Centre meant we were able to really enjoy the opportunities; we attended Mass, joined in a Rosary Procession, and as the afternoon wore on and Mass attendees left we had the place to ourselves. We hiked for miles through the mountains, wandered slowly through the grounds admiring all the Shrines, searching for any Patron Saints.
Having all our children together, sadly minus Rose, with no distractions made for a very special time. One precious memory is being surrounded by our children in the Church on the Saturday night, praying the family Rosary in the dark illuminated only by a phone’s torchlight.
The Sunday started slow and relaxed, we were able to meander the grounds again, siblings had time to purchase gifts in the Gift shop and we managed a photo shoot before Mass rather than after. Then of course it developed into such an incredibly beautiful day, so thrilled with how it all went.
Marian Valley was amazingly peaceful and hosted a sense of something incredibly special, sacred and we’ll be going back.