Pastoral Response to Substance Misuse has been asked over a number of years to create an option to The Pledge as in many communities it has been seen as out-dated and many feel it’s not realistic. The result of this is The Confirmation Commitment is being piloted in a number of parishes.
What is The Confirmation Commitment?
The Confirmation Commitment is an opportunity for the confirmation candidate and parent / guardian to choose a sponsor who will be a positive role model in the young person’s life. Research has shown the move to secondary school can be one of the most challenging times in a young person’s life. This initiative gives the opportunity for the sponsor to be an important part of the young person’s life and be a support to the parents / guardian in guiding them through these challenging years. Current research shows the age of young people being introduced to Alcohol & Cigarettes has fallen to 12/13 years of age in many communities.
The Confirmation Commitment encourages the candidate to make a commitment to themselves and others to lead a healthy lifestyle, respect themselves and others, and to use the knowledge about Alcohol & other drugs to stay safe. The Confirmation programme in the parish will stay the same with the only change being the sponsor will be required to attend The Service of Light ceremony and stand together with other sponsors and make a commitment to the young person to be a positive role model. The sponsor will then present the candidate with a Spirit Band with one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit engraved on it. The young person will also stand with other candidates and make their commitment as outlined above. The candidate will present the sponsor with a specially designed bookmark to thank them for making their commitment.
The Parish and school will be supplied with resources and the Spirit Bands and Bookmark. The school will also be supplied with resources to complement the work being carried out in SPHE / Walk Tall programmes in preparing the young people for The Confirmation Commitment.
The option to take the pledge still remains for young people as that can be their commitment to abstain to a chosen age they and their parents decide.
The number of young people taking the pledge has decreased in recent years in many parishes and this is seen as an opportunity not to lose the opening for young people to be educated in substance misuse and to be given the responsibility to make a commitment to lead a healthy lifestyle. We will also through this website www.irishbishopsdrugsinitiative.ie provide resources for parents / guardian should they wish to work with the candidate and in doing so could educate themselves on the ever changing landscape of legal & illegal substance misuse.