Confirmation celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2, verses 1 to 13, we read of the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. They had been hiding after Jesus’ death, afraid and uncertain. The coming of the Holy Spirit with his gifts inspired them and enabled them to take the step of preaching the good news in good times and in bad.
At Baptism we become members of God’s family. At Confirmation, our Baptism is completed or “sealed” by the Holy Spirit and we are called to be Christian witnesses, just like the apostles. The whole of our Christian living and the life of the Church, too, is sustained by the same Spirit.
Bishop William Crean
Who Can Receive?
Any baptised Catholic wishing to advance on the path of developing their faith. They are expected to learn the Grow in Love programme, to try to internalise the message of Jesus and apply it to their daily lives at home at school and at play and above all by attending Sunday Mass.
For adults who were not confirmed as children, it means taking part in the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
A sponsor stands behind the candidate for Confirmation at the Confirmation ceremony and places their hand on the shoulder of the candidate as a sign that they will support them in living out their baptismal promises. However, the role of the sponsor is not just for one day. The sponsor undertakes to assist the confirmed person in growing in the fullness of their faith and in their membership of the Catholic Church.
Choosing a sponsor
To qualify to be a sponsor the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it.
Be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made.
Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken.
Not be either the father or the mother of the candidate.
The tradition of taking a new name at Confirmation emphasises the new identity of a Christian being called to witness to their faith. People are encouraged to take the name of a saint or a person from the Bible who inspires them in some way.
Oil of Chrism
The oil used is called the Oil of Chrism. It is olive oil mixed with balsam that is blessed by the bishop and priests of the diocese in the Cathedral at the ‘Chrism Mass’ on Holy Thursday. The Sacrament is conferred by the anointing with this ‘Oil of Chrism’ on the forehead as the Bishop says ‘Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit’.
Confirmation is usually received in 5th or 6th class, towards the end of primary school. Pupils are to apply to receive the sacrament.
The Parish pastoral council is a leadership group through which priests and people work together as partners in furthering the mission of Christ.
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