Confirmation St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
© St. Joseph’s Catholic Church 2017
Confirmation

Confirmation

"Now, when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For he was not as yet come upon any of them: but they were only baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them: and they received the Holy Ghost." - Acts 8:14-17

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption." - Ephesians 4:30 
 

 
What does Confirmation do

  • indelibly seals us to the Holy Ghost, hence its name, "Sacrament of the Seal." Because this seal is indelible and leaves a permanent mark on the recipient's soul, the Sacrament, like Baptism and Holy Orders, may be received only once.
     
  • gives us the sanctifying grace to become perfect Christians and true soldiers of Christ, well-armed to engage in spiritual warfare
     
  • imparts to us the 7 Gifts of the Holy Ghost including:

1. Wisdom
2. Understanding
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

The Sacrament may only be received by one who is baptized, preferably while he is in a state of grace (i.e., not in a state of mortal sin). If it is received when the recipient is not in a state of grace, it is illicitly but still validly received; the fruits of the Sacrament will be delayed until he receives Penance. In addition, if the confirmand (the one to be confirmed) has reached the age of reason, he should be well-catechized and know the Pater Noster (Our Father), the Ave Maria (Hail Mary), the Symbolum Apostolorum (Apostles' Creed), and the 10 Commandments.

The ordinary minister of Confirmation is the Bishop; priests are extraordinary ministers of the Sacrament and may offer the Sacrament in danger of death. The matter is the imposition of hands, the chrism, and the anointing. 

The form of the Sacrament is:

"N., I sign thee with the sign + of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation; in the Name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy + Ghost."

Latin: "N., signo te signo crucis +  et confirmo te chrismate salutis, in nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti."

As in Baptism, a sponsor is chosen to stand for the confirmand. The sponsor should be a baptized and confirmed Catholic who's at least 14 years old, is of the same sex as the confirmand, and is well-instructed in the Faith. Also as in Baptism, among those who may not act as sponsor are: members of religious orders, spouses in respect to each other, parents in respect to their own children, infidels, heretics, members of condemned secret societies, and public sinners. The Code of Canon Law exludes godparents from being sponsors except in cases of emergency.

In any case, just as Abram became Abraham, as Jacob became Israel, as Simon became Peter, and as Saul became Paul, the confirmand takes on the name of a Saint when he is sealed to the Holy Ghost. This isn't necessary for the sake of validity, but it is the traditional practice of the Church, and especially important for those whose Baptismal names are pagan. Read the lives of the Saints and choose your patron well!

If one is raised a Catholic, one is normally confirmed around the age of 12 or so, though Confirmation may come earlier or later at the discretion of the priest and Bishop. If a child attends a Catholic school, he may be confirmed along with classmates, as a group, in the same way that schoolchildren often receive their First Communion together as a class.

On a cultural note, just as in Baptism, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and one's First Communion, it is customary for guests to bring a small gift to the one receiving the Sacrament, a gift usually, but not necessarily, religious in nature. Icons of his new patron, rosaries, books, etc. are typical. A small party may follow the ceremony, especially in the case of young confirmands.


The Rite of Confirmation

I. Preparatory Ceremonies 

The Invocation

Turning to the candidates, the Bishop sings or says:

 
May the Holy Spirit come down upon you, and the power of the Most HIgh keep you from all sin.
 
Spiritus Sanctus superveniat in vos, et virtus Altissimi custodiat vos a peccatis.
R. Amen
 
R. Amen

The Bishop then makes the Sign of the Cross and says:

 
V. Our help + is in the Name of the Lord.
 
V. Adjutorium + nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Who made Heaven and earth. R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.
V. O, Lord, hear my prayer. V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. And let my cry come unto You. R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
V. The Lord be with you. V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. And with your spirit.
 
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

The Collective and Preparatory Imposition of Hands

The Bishop stretches out his hands over the candidates and says:

 
Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, You have been pleased to regenerate these Your servants by water and the Holy Spirit, and have given them remission of all their sins; send forth upon them from Heaven Your sevenfold Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
 
Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui regenerare dignatus es hos, famulos tuos ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto, quique dedisti eis remissionem omnium peccatorum: emitte in eos septiformem Spiritum tuum sanctum Paraclitum de caelis.
R. Amen. R. Amen.
V. The Spirit of Wisdom and understanding. V. Spiritum sapientiae et intellectus.
R. Amen. R. Amen.
The Spirit of Counsel and fortitude. Spiritum consilii et fortitudinis.
R. Amen. R. Amen.
The Spirit of knowledge and piety. V. Spiritum scientiea et pietatis.
R. Amen. R. Amen.
Fill them with the spirit of Your holy fear, and sign them with the sign of the cross + of Christ in mercy for eternal life. Through the same Jesus Christ... in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Adimple eos Spiritu timoris tui, et consigna eos signo crucis + Christi, in vitam propitiatus aeternam. Per eumdem Dominum... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen. R. Amen.
 

II. The Sacrament

The candidates may come up in two ranks with hands joined, carrying a card bearing their Confirmation names. Each sponsor places his right hand on the right shoulder of the candidate they are sponsoring.

The Bishop, stretching the fingers of his right hand over the head of each candidate, addresses each candidate by his Confirmation name and anoints each candidate's forehead with his thumb dipped in holy chrism. He confirms then with the words below

 
"N., I sign thee with the sign + of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation; in the Name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy + Ghost. Amen."
 
 
"N., signo te signo crucis +  et confirmo te chrismate salutis, in nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti. Amen."

 

The Bishop then gently strikes each candidate on the cheek, saying the following words, symbolizing that the Christian is now a soldier for Christ and must endure suffering and the persecution that comes from conflict with the world.

"Peace be with thee" "Pax Tecum"


III. Concluding Prayers

When all have been confirmed, the following antiphon is sung or read:

 
ANT: Confirm, O Lord, what Thou has wrought in us, from Thy holy temple which is in Jerusalem. Alleluia.
 
ANT: Confirma hoc, Deus, quod operatus es in nobis, a templo sancto tuo, quod est in Jerusalem. Alleuia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. V. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
 
R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

After the antiphon has been repeated, the Bishop turns to the Altar and sings:

 
V. Lord, show up Your mercy.
 
V. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.
R. And grant us Your salvation. R. Et salutare tuum da nobis.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer. V. Domine, exaudi orationem mean.
R. And let my cry come to You. R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
V. The Lord be with you. V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. And with your spirit.
 
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
V. Let us pray. O God, You gave Your Holy Spirit to Your apostles, and willed that through them and their successors the same gift should be delivered to all the faithful: look graciously on the service we humbly render to You; grant that the same Spirit, coming down upon those whose foreheads we have annointed with the holy chrism, and signed with the sign of the holy cross, may by His gracious indwelling make them a temple of His glory, You Who are God, living and reigning with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end.
R. Amen.
 
R. Amen.

The Bishop then gives to the confirmed a special blessing in this form:

 
V. Behold, thus shall every man be blessed who fears the Lord: May the Lord bless + you out of Sion, that you may see the good things of Jerusalem all the days of your life, and have life everlasting.

 V. Ecce sic benedicetur omnis homo qui timet Dominum: Benedicat + vos Dominus ex Sion, ut videatis bona Jerusalem omnibus diebus vitae vestrae, et habeatis vitam aeternam.
R. Amen.
 
R. Amen.

The Bishop sits down, and puts on his mitre. The newly confirmed recite aloud the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father, and the Hail Mary. The Bishop then gives the Pontifical Blessing to the entire congregation. A Te Deum or the Psalm Laudate pueri might be sung.