The Sacrament of Confirmation

Confirmation is the one of the three sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church, the other two being Baptism and First Holy Communion. According to Catholic doctrine, in the sacrament of Confirmation, the faithful are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and are strengthened in their Christian life. Just as bodies and minds grow, we believe that the soul also needs to grow in the life of grace. The sacrament of Confirmation builds on the sacraments of Baptism, Penance, and Holy Communion, completing the process of initiation into the Catholic church.

The sacrament of confirmation completes the sacrament of Baptism. If Baptism is the sacrament of re-birth to a new and supernatural life, Confirmation is the sacrament of maturity and coming of age. The real confession of Christ consists in this - 'that the whole man submits himself to Truth, in the judgement of his understanding, in the submission of his will and in the consecration of his whole power of love . . . To do this, poor-spirited man is only able when he has been confirmed by God's grace'

This confirmation in the power of the Holy Spirit leading to a firm profession of faith has always been the particular effect which Catholic tradition has ascribed to the sacrament. It is effect which complements and completes that of Baptism. Being confirmed in the Church means accepting responsibility for your faith and destiny. Adulthood, even young adulthood, means that you must do what’s right on your own, not for the recognition or reward but merely because it’s the right thing to do.

Confirmation is a true sacrament instituted by Christ and different from Baptism. It is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer. The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament. All baptised persons can and should be confirmed. The effect of the sacrament of confirmation is to give strength in faith and for the confession of faith and to impress an indelible character.

The Confirmation ceremony may take place at Mass or outside of Mass, and the presiding bishop wears red vestments to symbolise the red tongues of fire seen hovering over the heads of the apostles at Pentecost. Each person wishing to be confirmed comes forward with his or her sponsor, who may or may not be one of the godparents chosen for Baptism.