Sacrament of Confirmation
The Sacrament of Confirmation is administered in our parish here in Falcarragh every second year. Our next Confirmations will take place in 2021
Confirmation in the Faith
The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the sacraments of initiation along with Baptism and Holy communion. It is usually the last of the initiation sacraments to be celebrated. Confirmation celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles we can 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.
We are made members of God’s family at Baptism. 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, are sustained by the same Spirit.
Who Can Receive?
Any baptised Catholic wishing to advance on the path of developing their faith. For young people, this is usually part of the 5th/6th class primary school programme.
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.
A person qualifies as a sponsor by being a reasonably mature adult, who is at least 16 years old, and has already received the Sacraments of Initiation, (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) themselves. The Confirmation sponsor may be one of the people who was a sponsor at Baptism (subject to the notes here).
Choosing a sponsor
(Ref. Code of Canon Law §874) To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
- be appointed by the candidate, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister;
- to be appointed 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.
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 with the anointing with this ‘Oil of Chrism’ on the forehead as the Bishop says ‘Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit’.
You Shall Be My Witness
Like the Do this in Memory parish programme for First Communion, You Shall be My Witness… is a parish-based programme of preparation for children preparing for Confirmation, which takes place outside of the school environment but which compliments their school-based preparation. The programme takes place over five sessions and explores aspects of what it is to be a Christian.
Each of the sessions has a different theme: Belonging, Believing, Being, Becoming and Beginning Again. Each of these sessions will help to encourage and challenge the children in their faith and help the children understand what being a Christian can mean. Four of the sessions take place before the Celebration of Confirmation and the fifth and final one takes place after the children receive the sacrament.
This programme has also been shown to be beneficial to the parent/guardians of the children as it helps them to explore these themes for themselves also. The programme cannot be run without the valuable support of the parent/guardians as a number of parents/guardians become leaders of the programme for their children during the sessions. Those who volunteer to be leaders receive training to help them in their role, which takes place in the week prior to the first session. *
Date for Confirmation
The Ceremony of Confirmation will take place in the parish on: