Confirmation is a sacrament through which the Spirit comes to the faithful in a special way creating in them an even greater bond to the Church. They receive special grace not only to spread the faith, but also to defend it. Through the sacrament of confirmation those who have been formed anew in baptism receive the inexpressible Gift, by whom “they are endowed with special strength” (LG 11). Moreover, having been signed with the character of the sacrament, they are “more closely bound to the Church” and “they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ” (AG 11).
Understanding the Theology of Confirmation
In the Old Testament, from Abraham through the great prophets, we read of “the promised Holy Spirit” (Gen. 18: 1-15, 12:3, 22:17-19). Isaiah announced that the long awaited Messiah would receive the Spirit for his saving mission (Is.11:2; 61:1). In the New Testament, the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus, at his baptism by John, was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God (Mt 3:13-17; Jn 1:33-34). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission was carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gave him “without measure” (Jn 3:34). [CCC 1286] Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit upon the apostles once his mission was completed, a promise Jesus fulfilled on Easter Sunday (Jn 20:22) and on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). As Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit, so too, those incorporated into Christ’s body, believed the apostolic preaching and sought baptism, were also infused with that same Holy Spirit.
“The laying on of hands by the apostles, the origin of the sacrament of confirmation, signified the gift of the Holy Spirit, and became the sacramental means whereby the apostles and their successors transmitted the great gift of the Holy Spirit” (Aquila 296). This action was accompanied by the words: “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Also used early on in the church to better signify the gift of the Holy Spirit was the anointing with perfumed oil (chrism). This anointing highlighted the name ‘Christian’ which means ‘anointed’, and was derived from that of Christ himself whom God “anointed with the Holy Spirit”(Acts 10:38). [CCC 1289]
The gesture of anointing with oil has biblical symbolism
- Oil was a sign of abundance and joy
- Oil was used for cleaning purposes, and by athletes to limber their body and make it more flexible
- Oil was a sign of healing; used to treat wounds.
In the sacrament of confirmation the anointing with the sacred oil of chrism is a sign of consecration. Forever, the anointed share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
The Effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation
The gifts of the fullness of the Holy Spirit deepen and perfect the graces we received at baptism. It is accomplished . . .
- Through a deeper rooting in the divine as the adopted sons and daughters of God
- Through a firmer union with Christ
- Through an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Through a more perfect bond with the Church
- Through a special grace which helps us to spread and defend the faith in word and action
as a true witnesses of Christ [CCC 1302-1303]
Preparation Classes for an Adult Requesting Reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Frances de Chantal Parish
- Classes begin at the end of October.
Notification of up-coming classes will appear in the October parish bulletin, or interested parishioners can call Sister Jocelyn at the Adult Faith Formation Office, 785-2333 x 206.
- There are 13 sessions which are usually held on Sunday mornings from 10:00 am –11:15 am
- Participants are encouraged to attended Mass before or after the session
The course content covers the sacramental life of the Church and, in particular the Sacrament of Confirmation. Prayer is an integral part of each session so that the person receiving the sacrament comes to understand the importance of a personal relationship with Christ and also with the community.
Evening Prayer in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit is celebrated on the Thursday evening before the vigil of Pentecost.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is administered during the Pentecost Vigil Mass on Saturday at 5:00 pm.