For those who have already received baptism, confirmation is the final step in the process of becoming fully immersed in the Catholic faith. It is via the catholic Christian process of confirmation that a person’s prior acceptance into the church, symbolized by their new-born baptism, is sealed (or strengthened and established in faith). Those who are confirmed (confirmandi) are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit by the bishop through the imposition of hands and anointing with oils. Among Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, it is regarded as a sacrament and is similar to the Eastern Orthodox sacrament of chrismation. There is normally a period of catechism instruction before confirmation.
History of Catholic Confirmation
In the first few centuries of Christianity, most people who joined the church were adults who had converted from pagan religions. During this time, adult baptism and a ritual that allowed them to become full members of the church (akin to, but not yet called, confirmation) likely happened at the same time. It was because of this that early Christians thought that confirmation and baptism had a lot in common. However, when babies were baptized instead of adults, it became more important to make a clear distinction between baptism and confirmation. There are some Christian denominations where confirmation is still done, and the rite’s connection to and separation from baptism affect both how it is done and how it is interpreted. In the Roman Catholic Church, Confirmation is thought of as a sacrament that Jesus Christ gave to us. People who get this must be at least seven years old and have been baptized. It gives them the Holy Spirit’s gifts (wisdom, counsel, knowledge, understanding, piety, fortitude, and fear of the Lord.). The bishop usually performs the rite, which includes laying on of hands and anointing the forehead with holy oil, on the person who is getting confirmed.
Who administers Confirmation?
Confirmation and other Catholic sacraments were once administered by bishops (Lumen Gentium 26). The priest is the primary minister of this sacrament in the Eastern churches (non-Latin rites) and performs it immediately following baptism. But the consecrated chrism oil used by the bishop expresses the oneness of the apostolic church. The bishop is the ordinary priest in the Latin rite, the largest of all Christian rites. To confirm a whole class (or age group) of students who have spent a year preparing for confirmation, most churches in the West have the Bishop visit the local parish. Bishops have the option of allowing local priests to execute confirmations without their presence, but this is not always possible because the bishop must be present for the sacrament to be performed properly.
The Process of Catholic Confirmation
The event can take place during or outside of Mass, and the bishop wears red vestments to represent the fiery red tongues of fire that hovered above the heads of the apostles on the day of Pentecost in the New Testament. During the Sacrament of Confirmation, the following events take place:
Each individual who wishes to be confirmed appears with his or her sponsor.
The parents choose the godfather and godmother during the child’s baptism but at his or her Confirmation, he/she chooses their own sponsor from a list provided by the church. Sponsors at Confirmation must meet the same canonical conditions as godparents at a child’s baptism, according to the Catholic Church. If the sponsor is still a Catholic, they can be the godmother or godfather if they want to. As an alternative, the person can choose someone else who is over the age of 16, has been confirmed, and is in good standing with the Church as their guardian. To choose a sponsor for Confirmation, there is only one person who is chosen. Most people have two godparents, one from each gender, when they are baptized.
Each Catholic is responsible for choosing his or her own Confirmation name.
Choosing a name for a baby at Baptism is difficult because the youngster is too young to have any say in the matter. When it comes to Confirmation, a third name might be added, or the baptismal name can be used instead of the first and middle names. It must, however, be a Christian name, such as the name of a saint or biblical figure who has been canonized by the Church. However, some biblical names, such as Herod, Judas, Jezebel, and Cain, are not acceptable.
Approaches the Bishop on his or her knees.
Standing or kneeling before the bishop, the Catholic who is being confirmed receives one hand from his or her sponsor, which is put on the Catholic’s or the sponsor’s shoulder during the confirmation ceremony. Once the person’s Confirmation name has been announced, the bishop will apply a little amount of Chrism Oil on his or her forehead before saying, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” and to which the individual will react with “Amen.” While the bishop says, “Peace be with you,” the other person responds, “And with your spirit” or “And likewise with you,” depending on the situation.
Normally, only the bishop has the authority to confirm Catholics who reside within the boundaries of his or her diocese. Those who have been brought into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil and who have participated in the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program, on other hand, can be delegated to priests for the purpose of confirming adult converts from other religions. Attendance at RCIA classes is open to non-Catholics who are interested in learning more about the Catholic faith and possibly converting to Catholicism as well.
What impact does Confirmation have?
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles in abundance, and this is what confirmation does for catholic believers. During Confirmation, a person’s baptismal grace and relationship with Christ are strengthened. It has the same impact as baptism in that it strengthens a person’s spiritual skills and permanently imprints them on their soul.
Where does this sacrament appear in the Bible?
The ancient Jewish custom of anointing oneself with oil is said to trace back to that historical period. The Jewish people’s Messiah was a ruler, but they also hoped for a better Messiah, one who would deliver and elevate them out of their sorrow. As it turned out, Jesus was the promised Messiah. The Messiah’s regal stature was marked by his anointing with oil and his appointment by God. Christianity carried on this tradition by preaching about Christ’s messianic status and the role of his royal priesthood. For the first time, the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation is mentioned in Acts 8:14-17.
What is the role of a Confirmation sponsor?
“Bring the candidates to the sacrament, present them to the minister for anointing, and then support them in faithfully fulfilling their baptismal pledges under the influence of the Holy Spirit whom they have received,” says the confirmation sponsor. (Rite of Confirmation, 5)
There are a few requirements for Confirmation sponsorship. To embrace their responsibilities, they must be spiritually mature, as evidenced by the following:
- Sufficient maturity to perform their duties;
- Membership of the Catholic Church and reception of the initiation sacraments (baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist);
- Freedom from any legal restrictions on the sponsor’s ability to carry out his or her responsibilities. This means that the sponsor must be an active member of the Church (in full communion with the Church, believes in the teachings of the Church, and no public dissent).
- Because a sponsor is so important to a confirmation candidate’s development, it’s crucial that this person is a living example of faith, whose actions match those of Jesus. Throughout the confirmation preparation process, a confirmation sponsor offers encouragement and assistance.
- Confirmation sponsors do not have to be of the candidate’s same gender or family. They can be anyone as long as they match the requirements listed above.
What factors should I consider when selecting a sponsor?
Consider a person you know who satisfies each of the above requirements. Godparents are often referred to as sponsors in the Catholic Church. Because of the close relationship between confirmation and baptism, having a godparent who satisfies all of the above criteria is a no-brainer. The confirmation minister at your parish may be able to assist you in finding a sponsor if you do not personally know anybody who satisfies the requirements outlined above or if your chosen sponsor is unable to do so.