The Confirmation Challenge retreat inspires participants to live out their Confirmation in practical ways. The following are descriptions of the essential sessions included, followed by additional optional sessions to enhance your retreat experience. Each student participating in the Confirmation Challenge retreat will receive a booklet which will help them process the materials throughout the experience and encourage them in their faith journey.
Welcome / Opening Prayer & Praise / Ice Breakers (15-30 minutes)
Participants are introduced to the retreat experience through prayer and fun as they get to know the SPIRITUS team and each other.
Activity: Retreat attendees participate in an icebreaker activity to feel comfortable with the team and each other.
Methods and Processing: Large group participation
Climbing in Faith (60 minutes)
Challenge: Growing and learning about our Catholic faith can be a challenge for young people. For some, it seems like a mountain of information to sort through and for others, just another challenge to overcome. In this session, participants identify the obstacles that prevent them from growing in their faith, hear how reaching higher towards God is a worthy adventure and are encouraged to take steps forward in faith.
Activity: Participants identify where they are in the spiritual life through a four corners activity.
Methods and Processing: Teaching, brainstorming, witness talk, personal reflection and small group sharing
Encountering Christ (90 minutes)
Challenge: It is challenging for all of us to keep our lives focused on Jesus. As disciples, we are called to follow Jesus and be in relationship with Him. This session helps young people to make Jesus more important in their daily lives through prayer and turning to Him for guidance.
Activity: Participants watch a video clip of Jesus carrying the Cross from The Passion of the Christ and contemplate through guided meditation what they would have said to Jesus at the time and how they want to respond to Him now.
Methods and Processing: Witness talk, movie clip, large group guided meditation, personal reflection and small group sharing
Choosing Faith over Temptations (60 minutes)
Challenge: Young people are vulnerable to the many temptations they face in life. This session helps participants name the temptations that are typical to their age group and recognize how to overcome temptations with the help of their faith.
Activity: Retreat attendees participate in a challenge exercise whereby teams try to cross the River of Temptations using their Footsteps of Faith (aspects of their faith they can rely on in those moments of temptation).
Methods and Processing: Drama, brainstorming, witness talk, small group sharing and Stepping Stones of Faith challenge
Be My Witnesses (60 minutes)
Challenge: Young Catholics often struggle with knowing how to live out their Confirmation and move forward in their faith life. This session helps participants create a plan for how they can put their Catholic faith into action and continue to grow in their relationship with God after they leave the retreat and are confirmed.
Activity: Participants write a letter to themselves highlighting a plan for how they will continue to grow in faith as they live out their Confirmation. (These letters are given to the adult leader who sends them to the participants sometime after their Confirmation.)
Methods and Processing: Large group discussion, witness talk, small group sharing and personal reflection. Letters of affirmation from sponsors and family can be included in this session if desired.
Retreat Closing Prayer and Praise (15 min)
Participants reflect on the retreat and the presence of God’s loving guidance in their lives through prayer and praise.
Activity: SPIRITUS team leads group in prayer and praise.
Methods and Processing: Large group participation
Questing for the Grail (75 minutes) (Mass Challenge)
Challenge: Young Catholics often take one of the most important aspects of our Catholic faith for granted – participating in Mass. This session gives them a new, exciting way of thinking about the liturgy and helps them to get excited about going to Mass.
Activity: Retreat attendees take part in the Mass Challenge. After watching a video clip from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the participants are placed in teams to answer questions about the Mass in order to earn bridge pieces and reach the grail.
Methods and Processing: Teaching, movie clip, Mass Challenge activity, witness talk, personal reflection, and small group discussion
Seeking and Giving Forgiveness (60-120 minutes) (Reconciliation Prep)
Challenge: Many young people never consider how holding on to hurts in our lives can become an obstacle to growing in our relationship with God. This session helps participants recognize the consequences of holding on to hurts in their lives and the effects of forgiving others and being forgiven. They discover how handing hurts over to God enables His followers to live as God intends. This session is given before the Sacrament of Reconciliation or the Hurt Circle experience and varies in length depending on the size of the group, whether the group is having Reconciliation or the Hurt Circle, and number of available priests if having Reconciliation.
Activity: Sacrament of Reconciliation or the Hurt Circle, depending upon the groups’ choice. The Hurt Circle is an option for groups who choose not to or are unable to include a formal Reconciliation service as part of their retreat experience. If doing the Hurt Circle, participants experience a quiet ceremony in which they are able to symbolically hand over past hurts, pains or concerns to God.
Methods and Processing: Large group discussion, witness talk, Holding on to Hurts demonstration and small group sharing, followed by Sacrament of Reconciliation or Hurt Circle
Saving Grace (45 minutes) (Grace Demonstration)
Challenge: Many young people do not realize how present God’s grace is in each and every person’s life. This session helps participants discover God’s presence in their own lives.
Activity: Through a grace demonstration, participants symbolically witness the presence and growth of God’s graces in their lives as they help identify and remove the effects of sins and struggles.
Methods and Processing: Teaching, Grace Demonstration and small group sharing
Importance of Prayer (60 minutes) (1:1 Prayer)
Challenge: At a young age, most Catholics are taught basic prayers, such as the Our Father and Hail Mary. But many do not understand that there are other ways to pray besides prayers that they have memorized. This session helps participants learn the importance of being open to Jesus in prayer so that we can develop a relationship with Him.
Activity: Each retreat attendee will experience one-on-one prayer with a SPIRITUS team member to help them hand over their struggles to Christ.
Methods and Processing: Witness talk, teaching, and one-on-one and/or other prayer experience(s)
The Holy Spirit and the Gifts (60 minutes) (Spirit Alive!)
Challenge: Many Catholics have difficulty understanding what the gifts of the Spirit mean and how these gifts relate to their daily lives. This session helps participants understand the gifts of the Spirit and how believers can use these gifts for the benefit of their lives and the lives of others. They are given a fun and easy way to understand the gifts and will then use those gifts in practical teen situations where God’s Spirit can help them.
Activity: Participants are placed into teams and race against each other to identify which gifts of the Holy Spirit would be best used in different scenarios.
Methods and Processing: Teaching, Spirit Alive Challenge activity, witness talk, and large group processing
Recognizing God’s Blessings (60 minutes) (Letter from sponsors/Parents or Small Group Affirmation)
Challenge: In our culture, it is easy for people to focus on things they want instead of appreciate the blessings God has given them. In this session, participants recognize the blessings of family and faith and are given the opportunity to affirm others in their group and build community.
Activity: Participants are affirmed by members of their small group. Letters of encouragement from parents and/or sponsors may also be incorporated into this session.
Methods and Processing: Video clip of Bruce Almighty, large group discussion, witness talk, and individual reflection