Alpha / Confirmation

ALPHA YOUTH AND CONFIRMATION PROGRAMMES 2023/24

A new faith and fun filled group is being formed for the young people of Chelmsford. The group is designed to create a space for young people to have meaningful conversations about life, faith and purpose whilst deepening their faith, making friends and having fun together.

Jan 2024 Update : Applications for Youth Alpha are now closed. The parish sacramental programme for Confirmation will open later this year. Confirmation will happen in September 2024 with Bishop Alan, date to be confirmed. Information will be in the parish newsletter when applications for this are open.

This course of faith exploration will serve as an excellent preparation for those young people currently in Year 10 and who are hoping to present themselves for sacramental preparation for Confirmation beginning later in 2024.

WHAT IS YOUTH ALPHA? Alpha Youth always starts with some time of connection, and we will be sharing a meal together. After that, they watch one of the Alpha Youth episodes together. Each episode centres around a particular topic and includes discussion breaks throughout where the young people are encouraged to share what they think. During the discussion breaks, everyone's opinion is heard and there is nothing that can’t be asked. Alpha Youth isn't about winning arguments. It’s about listening, learning and exploring ideas in a welcoming environment.

WHERE? St Anne Line Building at St John Payne Catholic School.

WHEN? Alternate Friday evenings during term time. 6:45pm - 8:30pm. There is also a weekend retreat on the 23rd/24th March 2024.

WHO? All young People from school years 9-11 across Chelmsford.

They young people may currently attend one of our city churches, Blessed Sacrament Church, The Church of the Holy Name, Our Lady Immaculate Church and St Augustine of Canterbury or be interested in finding out more about the Catholic Faith and have questions and ideas to explore.

Youth Alpha Session 1 Friday, December 15th 2023

Question: Life Is this it?

Youth Alpha Session 2 Friday, January 12th 2024

Question: Jesus Who is He?

Youth Alpha Session 3 Friday, January 26th 2024

Question: Cross Why did Jesus die?

Youth Alpha Session 4 Friday, February 9th 2024

Question: Faith How can I have faith?

Youth Alpha Session 5 Friday, February 23rd 2024

Question: Prayer Why and how do I pray?

Youth Alpha Session 6 Friday March 8th 2024

Question: Bible Why and how do I read the Bible?

Youth Alpha Session 7 Friday March 29th 2024

(Please note this session is to be held in Our Lady Immaculate Parish Hall.)

Question: New Life - How can I make the most of my life?

Weekend Retreat - Youth Alpha Sessions 8-11: Friday 12th - Sunday 14th April 2024

Question: How can I resist evil?

Question: Who is the Holy Spirit?

Question: How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Question: Does God heal today?

Youth Alpha Session 12 Friday April 19th 2024

Question: Why and how should I tell others?

Youth Alpha Session 13 Friday May 3rd 2024

Question: What about the Church?

It is strongly advised that young people wishing to be confirmed attendYouth Alpha, and therefore priority will be given to those in Yr 10 to attend if the sessions are over-subscribed. Parish sacramental catechesis for confirmation, which builds on the Youth Alpha experience, commences later in 2024 across Chelmsford's distinct Parish Church communities.

Baptism, the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confirmation are the sacraments of Christian initiation. The Catholic Church teaches that confirmation binds the baptised more perfectly to the Church, enriching them with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. It helps us to be true witnesses of Christ, encouraging us to defend the faith by word and deed. The essential rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead with sacred chrism and the laying on of the Bishop’s hand with the words: Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

Confirmation catechesis will continue later in 2024 for young people wishing to be confirmed.

The confirmation programme after Youth Alpha will involve taught sessions, There will be an information meeting for parents and young people held in 2024 This meeting provides the opportunity for everyone to find out about the programme content, the programme dates, ask any questions they might have and to meet the leaders, known as catechists, and each other. If, after the meeting the young people decide they wish to prepare for the sacrament then the Programme will start shortly afterwards.

The Parishes are pleased to be able to provide a really engaging programme building on youth Alpha which will include:

  • an opportunity for candidates to meet other young Catholics from the parish and to make new friends
  • space to talk about what is important to them and to share their faith
  • time to explore interesting and engaging areas of Church teaching
  • a chance to get involved in practical social action and
  • to experience different forms of prayer

Candidates will be invited to choose a sponsor who will be a source of spiritual support for them during and after the programme. This might be a godparent, relative, family friend or fellow parishioner who is not less than 16, a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken. This person must not be the Father or Mother of the candidate.

When candidates are confirmed, they can choose a Confirmation name to add to their first and middle names — or they can just use their names given at Baptism. However, the new name must be a Christian name such as one of the canonised saints or a hero from the Bible.

Help will be provided during the programme in choosing a sponsor and a Confirmation name.

If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding the sacramental programme you can speak to our parish priests, one of the catechists or enquire at the parish office.

In 2023/24 Fr Paschal is leading the courses.

The sacrament of Confirmation is a key moment in the life of a young Christian. Preparation for this sacrament must be undertaken with great care to ensure that the candidate knows fully the commitment. Youth Alpha prepares them for taking on the confirmation course. In order for candidates to be fully prepared and for the programme to be successful, the church requires commitment to the Confirmation programme as outlined below:

Candidates

  • must express their own desire to receive the sacrament of Confirmation;
  • are expected to attend Mass every weekend;
  • should ensure they attend each and every programme session and be on time;
  • should enter fully into the programme activities;
  • should listen to catechists and each other, respecting their views;
  • should not allow their own behaviour to disrupt others;
  • should undertake acts of service within the community willingly

Young people should discuss confirmation with their parents/guardians and decide for themselves if they are ready to take this journey. If they do not feel ready at the time, if it is not their choice or they are unable to meet the required commitment they should consider leaving Confirmation for another year. There is no maximum age limit for the sacrament, the RCIA programme is open for anyone aged over 18.