Well-known diocesan list was created by the late Bishop Flavin to prepare Confirmation students
By S.L. Hansen
(SNR) - After about a year of careful review, the “92 Questions” used to prepare children throughout the Diocese of Lincoln to receive the sacrament of Confirmation are being treated to an update.
The “92 Questions” have been a staple in the diocese for decades. They originated with Bishop Glennon Flavin.
He said that Bishop Flavin generally asked the questions extemporaneously, zoning in on core truths of the faith.
“These were the things that were in his mind,” Father Heaslip said. “Such as, ‘How many gods are there?’ ‘One.’ Some are a little more complicated, like, ‘What are the three things that are necessary to commit a mortal sin?’”
When Bishop Flavin first started quizzing juvenile confirmandi, the children didn’t necessarily know all the answers perfectly.
“Knowing that teachers really wanted their students to be able to answer the questions,” Father Heaslip continued, “Father James Divis (then the bishop’s master of ceremonies), started writing them out and distributing them to teachers.”
When Father Divis became religious education director for the diocese, most of the teachers already had been using copies of the bishop’s 92 Questions, he made them an official part of the religious education curriculum.
After Bishop Bruskewitz arrived in 1992, he continued to use the 92 Questions for Confirmation preparation in the Catholic Schools and CCD programs, including Father Heaslip’s fifth-grade Confirmation class at St. Mary School in Lincoln.
The questions are so well-rooted in the diocese, that Father Heaslip was admittedly surprised when Bishop James D. Conley suggested it was time to review them for possible revisions.
“For me, that’s what I grew up on. That’s what I was taught in Catholic schools,” Father Heaslip reflected. “Those 92 Questions really did help a lot in my faith.”
After looking at the questions objectively, Father Heaslip saw that the questions were already structured very logically and covered a great deal of catechetical territory. He conferred with Bishop Conley, who expressed a desire to add some questions about vocations, creation and liturgy into the mix.
“We’re keeping it to 92,” Father Heaslip assured. “We combined some questions and we deleted some repetition” to make room for the handful of additions.
For example, the first two questions now focus on creation: “Who made us?” (God) and “Why did God make us?” (To know, love, and serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him in heaven.)
Bishop Conley also felt it was important to include questions about vocations. Father Heaslip agreed that knowing the three traditional vocational options is appropriate for children who are being confirmed and beginning to find their roles as “adults in the Church.”
Several questions on the vocation of marriage were added to clear up any confusion about God’s design for marriage, in light of recent secular pressure to change the definition of marriage.
Other additions to the list include questions about the liturgy, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the like.
Father Heaslip and religious education coordinator Sister Mary Alma, C.K., also worked with Bishop Conley to revise the wording for some of the original questions and answers.
All in all, however, Father Heaslip assured catechists and parents that there’s no need to panic.
“Of course, the content of our faith never changes,” he said, “but at times we need to highlight or clarify certain things more than in the past. The questions are substantially the same. We needed to brush them up a little bit.”
Sister Mary Alma also spent a great deal of time collecting Scripture and Catechism references for each of the questions.
“Down the road, we also hope to have a little compendium about the 92 questions,” Father Heaslip noted.
In the meantime, Father Heaslip is putting the finishing touches on the revamped 92 Questions with the guidance of Bishop Conley, and the diocese’s vicar general, Msgr. Timothy Thorburn, and chancellor, Father Daniel Rayer.
The diocesan 92 Questions are so promising, well-known Catholic author Matthew Kelly – who has spoken in the diocese from time to time – has asked for a copy to use as reference for some work he is doing with Confirmation catechesis.
Father Heaslip encouraged religious education instructors who are preparing students for fall Confirmation dates to keep using the original 92 Questions if the children have already been studying them for some time.
Other catechists will soon be able to download the revised 92 Questions — with and without answers — and a PowerPoint presentation from the diocesan website (www.lincolndiocese.org/curriculum-requirements/92-questions). There will be no cost for these materials, or for the compendium when it is finished.
“I hope to get them sent out by the beginning of next month, for the sake of teachers,” Father Heaslip said.
Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?
(SNR) - Here is a sampling of the questions fifth-graders in the Diocese of Lincoln study in preparation for Confirmation. All confirmed adults should be able to answer these as well!
Is the Holy Spirit God?
CCC 253, 263; Jn 14:26; Jn. 15:26
Who was Jesus’ mother?
The Blessed Virgin Mary.
CCC 488, 495; Lk 1:30, 31; Mt 1:21-23
What do we call the mystery of God becoming man?
The mystery of the Incarnation.
CCC 461, 463; Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 4:2
What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.
CCC 1131; 2 Pet 1:4
What three things are necessary to commit a mortal sin?
1. You must disobey God in a serious matter.
2. You must know that it is wrong.
3. You must freely choose to do it anyway.
CCC 1857; Mk 10:19; Mk 3:5-6; Lk 16:19-31
For whom did God make marriage?
One man and one woman.
CCC 1601, 2360; Gen 1:26-28; Eph 5:31
What are the three marriage promises a husband and wife make to each other?
Faithfulness, permanence, and being open to having children.
CCC 1640, 1641, 1664; Mt 19:6; Gen 1:28
What are the three vows that a consecrated man or woman takes?
Chastity, Poverty and Obedience.
CCC 915; Mt 19:21, Mt 19:12; 1 Cor 7:34-36, Heb 10:7