“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14-17, NAB).
Like all the Sacraments, Confirmation is a moment of encounter with Jesus Christ. By receiving this Sacrament, we are joined more closely to Christ and are more fully conformed to Him.
The particular gift of Confirmation is the Gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not that we are without the Holy Spirit prior to Confirmation. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we become “temples of the Holy Spirit.” But in Confirmation, the Holy Spirit is given with a new fullness, especially to equip the Christian to carry on the work of Christ in the world.
The model for Confirmation is Pentecost. Jesus chose Twelve Apostles and commissioned them to carry on His work after His death and resurrection. Nonetheless, even after the Apostles had been thoroughly convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead, they remained ill equipped to carry on His work.
The Apostles had two great problems: (1) they did not know how to fulfill the mandate to “make disciples of all the nations” and (2) even if they had known what to do, they were afraid to do it – in fear for their own lives, they locked themselves in the upper room.
The situation was transformed by the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit was heard as a rushing wind and seen as tongues of fire. Once He had come upon the Apostles, they opened the doors, went out into Jerusalem and preached Jesus Christ with words that were miraculously understood by Jews from all over the world in their own languages.
From the beginning of the Church, the Apostles shared the gift of the Holy Spirit with those who had been baptized by the laying on of hands. This is the essence of the Sacrament of Confirmation to this day. And the Sacrament of Confirmation is given to equip Christians to share in the work of Christ and the Church to make disciples of all the nations.
Parishioners who are now adults and who have not been confirmed are invited to receive the necessary instruction for Confirmation by taking part in the Main Event and joining (as appropriate) in the other aspects of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adults who prepare in this way are Confirmed at the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) when other RCIA participants are received into the Catholic Church and also Confirmed.
Every other year we provide a programme of preparation for the teenagers of our parish who are old enough to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The programme usually begins in the autumn and involves regular sessions for the teenagers and an information evening for their parents. It culminates with the teenagers being confirmed at a Mass celebrated in the Cathedral by the Bishop.
Forms / Useful Information
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church – Sacrament of the Confirmation (On this website)
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church Online – Index
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church – Sacrament of the Confirmation (On Vatican Site)
- Word on Fire topic – Confirmation
- Another god resource is here: Evangalise Richmond Parish
Frequently Asked Questions
Just as you had sponsors (Godparents) at your baptism, you are required to choose a person to sponsor your Confirmation. Your sponsor is the witness who stands with you at your actual Confirmation. But even more importantly, a sponsor is a person who shares their faith with you because he/she is a person of faith. A good sponsor makes you feel comfortable sharing your faith with him/her. Their advice and guidance help you grow in your faith.
Your parents have given you your faith since you were born. They have been, are, and will always be your sponsor in faith. Confirmation gives you the opportunity to have another person who’s special to you sponsor your faith.
The Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation.
Holy Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm blessed by the Bishop on Holy Thursday or any day during Holy Week.
Confirmation is a sacrament in which the Holy Spirit comes to us in a special way to make us strong and perfect Christians and witnesses of Jesus Christ.
There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:
• Piety (Reverence)
• Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) CCC 1831-1845
The Bishop extends his hands over those to be confirmed, prays that the Holy Spiritmay descend upon them, and anoints the forehead of each with Holy Chrism.
No, Church law states that not being confirmed cannot prevent a Catholic from being married in the Church. Not being confirmed will not keep you out of heaven, either.
The primary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the bishop. He may, if necessary, delegate the ministry to one of his vicars. The bishop has granted all pastors the faculty to confirm those Catholic adults who seek to complete their full initiation. In the celebration of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the pastor who baptizes catechumens must also confirm and give Eucharist to them at the same celebration. He must also do the same for Christians who are being received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. This applies to all adults and children of catechetical age (seven years and above).
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