“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)
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 Holy Spirit at Pentecost and they gave the gift of the same Spirit to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands. The Catholic Church continues guided by the Spirit to impart Him to her children. The Church does not recognize the 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. The Catholics may receive the sacrament only once, because it imposes an “indelible mark”.
The Confirmation candidates must:
•Be registered and actively participating in our faith community, including regular attendance at our Sunday Mass.
•Provide a copy of their baptismal certificate.
•Attend regularly the Confirmation Sessions of preparation for the Confirmation.
Each candidate for Confirmation must have a sponsor, a confirmed practicing catholic, other than the candidates’ parents. Godparents are ideal sponsors for the Confirmation completes the 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 effects of Confirmation are:
•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.