It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.”
The Signs and the Rite of Confirmation
In treating the rite of Confirmation, it is fitting to consider the sign of anointingand what it signifies and imprints: a spiritual seal.
By this anointing the confirmand receives the “mark,” the seal of theHoly Spirit.Aseal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority, or ownership of an object. Hence soldiers were marked with their leader’s seal and slaves with their master’s. A seal authenticates a juridical act or document and occasionally makes it secret.
When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, as is the case in the Roman Rite, the Liturgy of Confirmation begins with the renewal of baptismal promises and the profession of faith by the confirmands. This clearly shows that Confirmation follows Baptism. When adults are baptized, they immediately receive Confirmation and participate in the Eucharist.
The Effects of Confirmation
It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
— it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!"
— it unites us more firmly to Christ;
— it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
— it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
— it gives us a special strength of theHoly Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross.
Who Can Receive This Sacrament?
Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that “the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,” for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete.
For centuries, Latin custom has indicated “the age of discretion” as the reference point for receiving Confirmation. But in danger of death children should be confirmed even if they have not yet attained the age of discretion.
Although Confirmation is sometimes called the “sacrament of Christian maturity,” we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need “ratification” to become effective.
To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act.
Children already enrolled in the school or religious education program will be taking the Confirmation program in 8th grade to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Any Baptized adult who is looking to recieve confirmation should set up an appointment to meet with the Pastor and Religious Education Director to determine if an RCIA program is necessary or another Confirmation program. An adult who completes RCIA will recieve the Sacrament during the Easter Vigil Mass with other candidates recieving the Sacraments of Initiation.