(Editor’s note: Joseph participated in a retreat in March to prepare for his confirmation at All Saints on the Hudson parish in Mechanicville/Stillwater. He wrote this note to faith formation director Vickie Giulianelli afterward. “It’s not often that we who work in ministry know if the seed of faith that we have planted has taken root. We can only hope and pray that the retreat experience we offer our candidates will  grace them with a deeper relationship with God,” Ms. Giulianelli told The Evangelist in sharing the letter.)

Confirmation retreat weekend was honestly the best weekend of my life. I love it and miss it so much! I loved everyone there. I loved everything we did — especially listening to my peers telling their faith stories. That was life-changing. It was overwhelming at times, but good because we all forget that life is a beautiful thing!

My favorite part of the retreat was the letters from my friends and family and, right beforehand, the meditation session. I can’t thank my parish enough for encouraging me to do this. I can’t say in words how happy I am and how much I learned from this weekend. I hope to be able to do it again next year!

I can’t wait to be confirmed! Also, I would like to volunteer to be a lector. I just needed an awakening, I think. I would love to do more things around the church, too: to become a [faith formation] teacher or a helper of some sort; go on trips or something.

I can clean the church: I cleaned a church in Albany with my dad for a few weeks in the summer and he still does it, but I don’t see him often. But I would love to do all that I can for you, for the Church, for God and our community!

Church has become a place of love, laughter, reality and home for me. Everyone accepts me for who I am there; everyone is all about love and positivity, and it’s a different world. Thank you.