“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:14-17)
Peter and John administered the sacrament of Confirmation in the previous passage. Confirmation is the sacrament of the Holy Spirit per excellence because it confers the gifts listed in the article Holy Spirit’s Gifts and Fruits. Candidates must be in the state of grace to receive efficaciously the sacrament. Confirmation fulfills the words of Christ “And ye shall know the truth” (John 8:32), for the sacrament allows Christians direct communion with the Holy Spirit.
The life and mission of Jesus always evolved in total communion with the Holy Spirit. The apostles received the Paraclete at Pentecost and they gave the gift of the same Spirit to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands. The Catholic Church has continued to live by the Spirit and to impart Him to her children. The Church does not recognize Protestant Confirmation.
The essential rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead with sacred chrism, blessed by the diocesan bishop on Holy Thursday, and the laying on of the bishop’s hand with the words: Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The usual minister of Confirmation is a diocesan bishop, who can delegate to a priest. Adult converts and children in danger of death are usually baptized and confirmed by priests. Teens in tenth grade and above may receive the sacrament only once, because it imposes an “indelible mark” upon a soul.
Confirmation candidates must:
•Be registered and actively participating in our faith community, this includes regular attendance at our Sunday Liturgy.
•Provide a copy of their baptismal certificate.
•Attend the scheduled Adult Confirmation Sessions on a regular basis and fulfill the requirements outlined at these sessions.
Candidates for Confirmation must have a sponsor, an adult, confirmed and practicing Catholic, other than the candidates’ parents. Godparents are ideal sponsors for Confirmation completes Baptism to practice Catholicism in adulthood. Generally, a sponsor has the same gender of the teen, because a sponsor is a companion of journey.
The effect of Confirmation is similar to Pentecost:
•It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15);
•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.