After a much-needed refreshing rain on Friday, God blessed the day of Confirmation with a California-blue sky. On Saturday October 15, forty-one candidates received the sacrament of Confirmation from His Excellency, the Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ, Bishop of Oakland, at St. Margaret Mary Church, Oakland. Reverend Canon William Avis, Rector of the Oratory of St. Gianna in Tucson, served as Master of Ceremonies.
Bishop Barber gave St. Philip Neri to the 2016 confirmandi as an example. He described how the saint’s heart was physically enlarged because of his love for God and how this was to be an example for us, to love God with great devotion and fervor. The bishop also talked about the challenges which young people encounter in our days. He spoke about the word “Fear,” which is often accompanied by anxieties and worries that paralyze the vigor of our spiritual life. He said that we need to remember this: What effect did the descent of the Holy Ghost have upon the Apostles? They were truly confirmed, and their will came entirely under the sway of the Holy Ghost so that they fearlessly preached the Gospel to the world. The Holy Ghost takes away fear and makes us firm in our faith. Not only confirmands but all present at the Confirmation were encouraged and strengthened by Bishop Barber’s words, which were spoken with episcopal authority with his miter on his head and crosier in hand.
After Confirmation, in the presence of His Excellency, a Solemn High Mass was celebrated by the Reverend Canon Matthew Talarico, the Provincial of the Institute for the U.S., assisted by Canon Raphael Ueda from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory, San Jose, as deacon, and Abbé Kevin Kerscher from St. Margaret Mary Church, Oakland, as subdeacon. At the Mass, the confirmands, their sponsors, their parents, and their friends altogether praised and thanked the Lord for the graces of Confirmation.
The celebration concluded with a reception after Mass in the church hall, where Reverend Canon Olivier Meney, as the Institute priest responsible for the Oakland apostolate, welcomed all participants in this beautiful event. A bountiful and festive dinner was prepared by the confirmands’ families. All enjoyed the refreshment and the warm fellowship. Thanks be to God for this wonderful day!