Sacrament of Confirmation
1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. 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 EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
1302 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.
1303 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 the Holy 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:
Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.
1304 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.
1305 This “character” perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and “the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi ex officio).”
SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION FOR CONFIRMATION
“Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.” (CCC, #1316)
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the third and last Sacrament of Initiation. The two essential parts to the Rite of Confirmation are the anointing on the forehead with sacred chrism (oil) and the laying on of hands while saying, “Be sealed with the Holy Spirit.” The gifts of the Holy Spirit received are: wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, knowledge, reverence and wonder & awe. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are: Charity (Love), Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control and Chastity. Confirmation gives the strength necessary to spread and defend the faith in word and action and to be a true witness to the love of Jesus Christ.
This Sacrament of Confirmation, celebrated both at the local parish and at the Archdiocesan Cathedral, is conferred after proper catechesis and is received only once. While Baptism is the only requirement, understanding the impact of Confirmation is essential to the faith formation of the individual and the entire parish. With a few exceptions, a bishop is the minister for this sacrament.
Catechesis for this Sacrament begins at Baptism and is nurtured every day by the words and action of the family as well as the entire community. This includes participation in the Sunday Liturgy (Mass) and following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, celebrated every year at a Eucharistic Liturgy (Mass) during late winter or early spring, is included in the religious instruction in the Catholic School or CCD program. ALL parish children, attending parochial, public or private school and having previously been Baptized Catholic, are eligible to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the 6th grade. Eligibility includes at least two years of catechesis after receiving First Communion, participation in the Confirmation Retreat (“Spirit Day”) and being in a state of grace.
A Bishop confirms the parish children at St. Bede’s. Those persons learning about our faith (RCIA), whether they are Baptized Christian or non-Baptized, are Confirmed by the Pastor at the parish celebration at the Easter Vigil. Older Catholics who have never received the Sacrament can receive at the parish celebration with the 6th graders or at the Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday. Catechesis for non-Catholics and older Catholics is done individually or in a group (RCIA.) As with the Sacrament of Eucharist, special needs children or those terminally ill can receive this Sacrament depending on circumstances. For additional information call the Religious Education office at 215-357-2130.
Sacramental Preparation Meetings
Recognizing that parents are the primary educators of their children, an evening is planned prior to the reception of First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation. Parents are required to attend these meetings during the time their child is preparing to receive these sacraments. The purpose of these meetings is to help the parents become more involved in their child’s preparation for these sacraments as well as their continued spiritual formation.