"The event in Pierz and the one in Schamers happened within a year of each other and seem remarkably similar; note the common themes of the mass confirmation and the triumphal arch"!
Here's the first part of her quick translation:
"On 19 June 1910 was held in the local church, the general visitation held by Bishop Joseph Anton Hulke from Budweis.
On this occasion, the bishop gave 246 believers the sacrament of confirmation, and held in the school with the children the religion test from.
The bishop in honor paid the community a forming with matching hearty welcome provided Triumphal Arch, in which he of the community representatives of the parish, the local School board Schamers, from school children and the teaching staff schools Schamers, Neustift and Heumoth and Weissenbach, and numerous popular assembly festive greetings was received.
The community representative and the School Board drove the bishop via the municipal boundary to meet the upper tree garden [could be the village of Oberbaumgarten] and accompanied him on the clock at 5 in the afternoon departure to Neubistritz made to Grambacher Kreunze".
Right away, we thought about "Year of" declarations by the Vatican--Year of the Priest, Year of Atonement, Year of Repentance--or, maybe 1910 was a Jubilee year:
"In Judaism and Christianity, the concept of the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Biblical Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest".
But no...1910 doesn't seem to have been a special liturgical year...so what else was going on? Aha, Larry to the rescue again, from a different perspective:
"...much of the first thousand years of the history of the Church, all three sacraments of initiation—baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist—were bestowed in the same liturgy, even for infants. To this day, this continues to be the practice for Eastern Catholics.
But in the Middle Ages, the time for first reception of Communion in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church was gradually moved to the teenage years. This was done in large part because of the perceived need for a clear understanding of the sacrament before its reception.
This practice continued into the first years of the 20th century until Pope St. Pius X in 1910 allowed for first Communion to be celebrated at an earlier age".
Right, but that's concerning First Communion, not Confirmation, and besides, we know that Buckman, at least, kept the tradition of First Communion at 12 for a good long time after the pope's declaration (see the photo of mom at 5 and her 12-year-old cousin Adela Brandl about 1920, above).
So things were changing among Catholics--but we still have questions: what prompted such a huge class of confirmants in 1910 in at least 2 parishes that were 4,600 miles apart? How come both celebrations were so over-the-top that they invited a bevy of clergy, erected arches to decorate the town, and had a brass-band-and-horses parade? Confirmations are generally not THAT big a deal. Oh, and besides, where did Pierz FIND 245 un-confirmed souls, anyway?
Never fear--we'll keep researching!