ONTARIO — Bishop Salvatore R. Matano confirmed 24 faith-filled young men and women from Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Marion during a bilingual liturgy June 26 that took place at St. Mary of the Lake Church in Ontario, which is part of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish.
The June 26 ceremony was a culmination of years of faith formation and two months of focused confirmation preparation that went on despite the pandemic.
As part of the focused confirmation preparation, the confirmands met in person every Saturday to study Gospel passages with their parents and hand in written reports about what they had studied. The parents, who are migrant workers, have been very engaged in supporting their children throughout the preparation process by regularly attending evening meetings and driving or walking their children to the mission church for the Saturday meetings, noted Bernard Grizard, diocesan director of Pastoral Services, which oversees migrant ministry for the Diocese of Rochester.
“The migrant community is vibrant. They have a lot of life. They have a true sense of the importance of family. You can see the Holy Spirit at work,” Grizard said.
In addition to Grizard, Father Jesus Flores, diocesan coordinator of migrant ministries, and Luci Romero, regional coordinator of migrant ministries for Wayne County, were part of the team that guided the young people through their preparation for confirmation.
Derek Chavez Morales, 16, said his family was very supportive of him throughout his preparation for confirmation. He was excited about the day, not only because he was wearing a new navy-blue suit that his parents purchased for him, but also because he was going to meet Bishop Matano.
Paul Tapia, Derek’s stepfather, said Derek was happy to go through faith formation and showed much interest during the preparation for confirmation.
“I am very proud of Derek,” Tapia said. “My wife, Claudia, and I believe that Derek understands the importance of the sacrament of confirmation.”
“By being confirmed, I am taking another step toward God,” Derek said. “I’m getting to know God more in a deeper way.”
In preparing for confirmation, 15-year-old Danya Larissa said she learned that God has a plan for everyone to love each other as equals and to be one huge family.
“My mom is very religious. Preparing for confirmation has brought me closer to her and to God,” Danya added.
Yeisly Callejas Chavez, 14, said she worked very hard on her weekly assignments as she prepared for confirmation.
“The assignments helped me understand God better,” she said.
Bishop Matano encouraged the confirmands to continue to walk with Jesus inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Spirit will give you the strength to make good decisions,” he said during his homily.
Bishop Matano also talked about St. Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio, who at age 14 – when he was close in age to the confirmands – stood up for his faith in Mexico.
“You, too, can become our young saints,” the bishop remarked.
Bishop Matano also promised the confirmands that he would pray for them. And, after the confirmation, he stayed at the church and took many pictures with the newly confirmed and their families.