Bishop Fisher confirms nearly 60 teens at St. Amelia’s
Bishop Michael Fisher addresses nearly 60 confirmation candidates and their families at St. Amelia Parish in Tonawanda . This marked Bishop Fisher’s first confirmation celebration since coming to the Diocese of Buffalo. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)
Bishop Michael Fisher celebrated the sacrament of confirmation for the first time in his new diocese on Feb. 10. The bishop visited St. Amelia Parish in Tonawanda to welcome 56 teenagers into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Father Sebastian Pierro, St. Amelia’s pastor, welcomed Bishop Fisher, offering thanks for “bringing the gift of the Holy Spirit in its fullness to our young people who will be confirmed tonight.” He then presented what he called, “a fine class of candidates” to the bishop.
During Mass, Bishop Fisher stepped into the nave of the in the hexagon-shaped church, and told the young people he had a few questions for them.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “If you don’t know the answer, the answer is probably ‘baptism.’”
The first question was, “What was the most important gift your parents gave you?” The answer, of course, was baptism.
“Why was that such a gift? It’s a gift because they’re giving you that relationship of God in your life. God, who said right from the beginning that, ‘You are mine. You are precious to me. You are my child. And I will walk with you for the rest of your life. I will be with you,’” the bishop explained.
Before confirming the candidates with holy chrism oil, the bishop called the candidates “courageous.”
“This isn’t an easy world to be Christian, is it? It’s very difficult these days,” he said. “You sometimes have to make difficult decisions. And those things that society or peer pressure are saying to us are contrary to what we believe as followers of Jesus. So, for you to stand up and say I want to embrace my relationship with God and to embrace that call to follow Christ closely, to be holy, to be a saint, is a great statement on your part.”
He then was presented each candidate with a sponsor and blessed them using their chosen confirmation name.
The celebration was a long time coming for the youth at St. Amelia’s. Originally scheduled for November 2020, the Mass had to be delayed due to Covid restrictions.
A team of nine catechists prepared the candidates over the past year. Through that education process, the teens learned that God has a path for everybody and guidance can be found through prayer. Those who are confirmed receive seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord.
Amelia Jasen is looking forward to becoming a godmother for her nieces. “I want to be a role model for them,” she said. “If they ever have questions, I want to be able to help them through that and talk to them about it.”
Alex Puchalski looks forward to growing in his faith and getting closer to God. “(My faith) helps me through tough times and just everyday life,” the 16-year-old said. “It helps me interact with people and do better in life.”