The Confirmation Retreat

My almost perfect students

“Revealed” was the title of the retreat for the catechists in 2024.


For the past two years I’ve had the pleasure of teaching teens ranging from ages 15 through 18, preparing them for their sacred Sacrament of Confirmation. This particular class represents students from six Orange County high schools. Half of the students attend private Catholic high schools; the other half attend three different public schools.

Charlie’s Angels

I was blessed to have well-behaved students, but many of them were not responding to questions I presented on the subject we were reviewing. My worst experience as a teacher is to ask questions and for half of the class to stare at you blankly. I wanted them all to engage and understand what was being taught to them, so I came up with a plan.

the lineup:shortest to the tallest

The Plan

Throughout my missionary trips I have accumulated a variety of souvenirs, from rosaries to praying cards, so I decided to give some of my treasures to the students who participated in class by simply answering a few questions. At first this was a great idea, but they soon lost interest. Several of the students eagerly raised their hands and sometimes shouted out the answers, but the dormant students remained quiet. I knew that they could respond, but they did not want to participate.

I prayed about it and came up with an idea that would motivate the entire class. Purchasing raffle tickets and a few gift cards to Chick-fil-A  and In-N-Out did the trick. The students would receive one ticket for showing up for class, and any time that they participated with the class discussions they received another ticket.  With every response to a question came another ticket. By the time the class was over some students could have as many as five tickets, increasing their chances to win. I’m happy to report that even the most reserved students started to open up  because of this little plan.

The Diversity

As I mentioned earlier I have an equally diverse group of students representing different cultures. This is one beautiful aspect that California has to offer: we love and accept our West Coast melting pot. It was the same for the students; they respected one another with the love of Christ. I understand that once this class is over many of these students will go their separate ways, some, however, made new friendships with common interests in music and sports. I pray they keep in touch.

The Retreat

Me, Robin and Yvette
The rest of the team

The retreat was held at Irvine Retreat Center, which is a stone’s throw away from my home. Since Mother Nature took a sabbatical, our normally sunny California has been colder than usual. This bad- spirited weather followed us, giving us cold weather during the first part of our retreat. It was cold.

This retreat was a no-phone zone, so many of the students were complaining as soon as their parents dropped them off. For them, the time moved at a snail’s pace. After the first night the complaining did not get any better.  I was concerned because this was my first overnight retreat with the students, and I wanted them to feel the presence of God. After breakfast on the second day one student asked me for the time. It was 10:30 a.m.! He walked away saying, “We have 90 more hours of this!”

Kneeling before the blessed Sacrament

Finally the sun peaked through in time for the outdoor adventures, which included a scavenger hunt, making  words with their bodies, and other games to release any pent-up energy. During this segment one of my students asked me, “What is the purpose for these games? Why are we doing this?” I answered., “This is fun and plus we’re bonding.”  It was evident that many of the kids were spiritually absent. But God would soon change that.


To Catholics, Eucharistic Adoration is being in the presence of God. We guard this sacred time as oneness with our Creator. Saturday night was set aside for Adoration and confessions. One of the requirements to be confirmed is that you must go to confession before the Confirmation. We had three priests hearing confessions, including our parish priest Fr. Eliardo.

This  night was similar to the Upper Room, when the fire of the Holy Spirit came down. Every doubt, including my own, was lifted. The anointed music helped usher in the Spirit of God,  and the aroma from the incense filled the room. It took hours of preparation to get these busy minds to a calm state of mind. The title of the retreat was “Revealed,” and truly the Holy Spirit was revealed to all of us.

The affirming letters

As I prayed with many of the students, I could feel the Spirit of God present in their yielded bodies. Many were brought to tears.



The Letters

After Adoration each student received a letter from their parents. Some students received several letters, including from siblings. These letters of affirmation supported and affirmed their spiritual journey. And I played a small part in directing their path to sainthood.

The Mass

On Sunday we celebrated Mass, but this time it was different for the students because they had experienced a deeper understanding of who they are in Christ. During the homliy Fr. Eliardo shared his personal, relatable story about how he questioned his Confirmation.

Behind the Scenes 

Abraham, our youth director, and his assistant, Patty, must have worked endless hours to  prepare this retreat. All this hard work upset the Enemy, so poor Abraham was in the ER with kidney stones the week before the start of the retreat. He pressed  through (with the help of meds) and made it through the entire retreat. Thank you, Abraham, for the special accommodations for us older ladies who needed to be well rested to fulfill our roles as catechists. All of the speakers were gracious in sharing heartfelt stories about their lives. It is difficult to speak to a group of teens, let alone keep their attention. Abraham, Patty, Becca and our MC, Tanner, put on a jacket of humility to reach these kids.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray for all the catechists who participated in this retreat. May the Spirit of God follow them for the rest of their lives. You “Revealed” Yourself to each of them in a special way. Grant them special graces to continue their walk. Amen





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