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Ensuring Confirmation Preparation at Cardinal Newman School

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The Most Reverend Robert Guglielmone

Re: Confirmation Preparation for Students Attending Cardinal Newman School

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned parents at Cardinal Newman School and members of multiple parishes within the Diocese of Charleston, submit this petition for comprehensive confirmation preparation to be included in theology classes at Cardinal Newman School. We recognize the special responsibility the parish plays for the preparation of confirmands, as addressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catholic Church 1309). We also have confidence that the parishes in the Columbia community and Cardinal Newman School can complement each other to provide a comprehensive confirmation program that both capitalizes on the opportunities afforded in theology class and additional activities offered within the parishes to ensure fellowship with confirmands not attending Cardinal Newman School.

The Diocese of Charleston has multiple examples of parochial schools providing core confirmation preparation during religion classes. In the Charleston area alone, Blessed Sacrament, Nativity and Christ Our King – Stella Maris prepare their students for confirmation during the normal course of religion classes. While an argument has been made that these are parish schools and Cardinal Newman is a Diocesan school, requiring different approaches, we contend that Cardinal Newman has historically provided this instruction. In addition, Christ Our King – Stella Maris serves four parishes and has successfully developed a program that meets the requirements of multiple parishes.

As parents, we sacrifice to send our children to Cardinal Newman School primarily to support their faith formation. The premise that Cardinal Newman School is not in a position to provide faith formation is contrary to the intent of a Catholic education. The Code of Canon Law states, “(t)he instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine” (c. 803 § 2). The sacraments are clearly central to Catholic doctrine and should be core topics in theology coursework. Our children attend theology class in seventh, eighth and ninth grade, in advance of their confirmation. Theology requires the same amount of class time as all other courses. Therefore, it is frustrating that our families are currently required to make substantial commitment of classroom preparation after school hours.

Your Excellency, you have the authority to ensure that adequate preparation for confirmation is incorporated into the theology courses at Cardinal Newman School. Pursuant to Canon Law, “(t)he Catholic religious instruction and education which are imparted in any schools whatsoever or are provided through the various instruments of social communication are subject to the authority of the Church. It is for the conference of bishops to issue general norms about this field of action and for the diocesan bishop to regulate and watch over it” (c. 804 § 1).

The Catholic faithful are hereby requesting your support in facilitating the coordination between the local parishes[1] and Cardinal Newman School to institute a confirmation preparation program in theology class and incorporate a reasonable amount of faith formation and fellowship opportunities through the parishes.

Respectfully and Humbly Submitted,

Parents of Cardinal Newman School (signatures attached)

[1] Saint Joseph, Saint Peter, Saint John Neumann, Saint Martin De Porres, Good Shepherd and Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Churches

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