Sunday, September 9, 2012

Celebration of Confirmation at St. Brigid's Community in Calgary, Canada with Roman Catholic Women Priests: Report by Monica Kilburn-Smith, RCWP

Genny, Monica, Patricia, Michele, Lauren

Confirmation of my daughter Genevieve by Patricia Fresen here in Calgary (Alberta) in 2009 which at the time marked the anniversary of our first year as a community. (Michele Birch-Conery was also present, and another girl in our community, Lauren, was also confirmed)) -   My daughter Genny is now 14, so was 11 at the time of her confirmation. (She is and has been my altar server, also, since my ordination in 2008.) I find myself most happy when I see the young people coming to our masses and participating in our RCWP communities and having their sacraments with us - this is true prophecy and hope! So far, we have had two first communions and two confirmations at our St. Brigid's community in Calgary.
(Monica Kilburn-Smith, RCWP, St. Brigid's Catholic Community, Calgary, Canada)

Confirmation Thoughts
Genevieve Kilburn-Smith, September 2009.
Three months ago, I was confirmed by Bishop Patricia Fresen. It was an interesting experience and the preparation was fun. The first three times we met it was just the four of us (Lauren, Kerry (Lauren's mum), my mum (Monica) and I ), but our sponsors joined us for our last meeting. We spoke about the gifts and the symbols of the Holy Spirit, and what confirmation meant to us, and we made a poster. Lauren and I each chose a confirmation name.
I think this was better then if I went to a regular church, one, because I knew the people I was with, but also because we were only a small group I think we learned more. When we rehearsed at Saint Andrews church the day of our confirmation, and I started to feel excited. I wasn’t sure what would happen when I was confirmed, but I thought it would be very special.
That night, at the exact moment I was confirmed, I suppose I felt a little disappointed, because I did not feel anything really amazing. But a few weeks later, I started to see things differently. I’ve begun to really appreciate more things about the world and recognize many little details. The difference between right and wrong has become clearer and I’ve thought more about my life and what I want to do with it. I feel ready to live the rest of my life and some day (hopefully not too soon!) when I die, I will have lived a joyful life and will be ready for my life after death.

This year, three year's later, Genny wrote the following for a Corpus Canada Journal article on St. Brigid's (others from our community wrote, too, but I do think it's neat that Genny, now 14, is so enthusiastic, and has never missed a mass in four years! She is a beautiful altar server, and she has taken many of our photos, also). She and my older daughter, Emma, also posted comments - very thoughtful and intelligent - on the online version of that Swerve magazine article I sent to the listserve last spring. And both are prophetic in their schools and with their friends about our movement. I don't mean to boast too much about them, but I am proud of them, and hope one day we will have many, many young people participating. It really is what matters for the future, for our future as RCWP communities and wider church!)

Genevieve Kilburn-Smith: St. Brigid's is a small community of believers, who gather once a month to celebrate our faith with people of many different backgrounds, races, ages and even denominations. Despite these differences, St. Brigid's is always ready to welcome, befriend and adopt newcomers into our community with warm and accepting hearts and hands. Whether there are 5 or 50 people, the faith of those gathered is strong and powerful. One never leaves without feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit empowering us to “go in peace to love and serve our God.”
My favourite parts of the Mass are the music and the homily. The music team is wonderful and they always provide songs to help everyone express their faith. Often times there is movement or the joining of hands to accompany the many Celtic blessings songs we sing, during which I feel the Holy Spirit’s presence more than ever. The homily is always well-written and inspirational, filled with wisdom, guidance and a profound interpretation of the word. Monica not only writes these brilliant homilies, but she always speaks right to the soul of all those present and passes her knowledge and passion onto them.

St. Brigid's provides me with such a sense of belonging. I used to volunteer at other parishes but I never felt so much a part of the community as I do at St. Brigid's. I now feel the freedom to voice my opinion and be as involved as I like and am always acknowledged and appreciated. Another big difference is how much my spirituality has deepened since the inception of St. Brigid's. I’ve learned so much in the past four years about the church, life, spirit and spirituality, and so much more. I feel I still have a long way to go on my spiritual journey but I fear it may never have begun had it not been for St. Brigid's guiding the way.

A few months ago when the Swerve Magazine article planning started, there was a lot of happy anticipation amongst our St. Brigid's community members (although there were some mixed feelings, too). We've had media coverage before, although Swerve was the first front page story we've ever had. It was quite exciting, and I'm looking forward to perhaps more publicity in the future to help spread the word about RCWP and our community. I think there are plenty of people who would come if they knew about it, so I think we should try and get the word out there as much as we can. The people who came to interview community members and take the photos for the article all seemed very delighted by what our community is doing and stands for, which added to the zest of the article, in my opinion. There was a lot of positive feedback afterward, and I think everyone hopes to see our community grow.

(Here is the link-- to "The Journal" with all the submissions. "No. 2" features Genny and other others on St. Brigid's; "No. 3" features photos from the west coast with Michele Birch-Conery, Marie Boucline, Rose Mewhort, and our new priest Vikki on the coast --

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