Credopedia The sacrament of confirmation


The sacrament of confirmation

With the sacrament of confirmation, you are well-equipped for life. In confirmation, you are promised God’s Holy Spirit, which means: God wants to be with you, even when things get difficult. Confirmation is not automatic, however. Receiving confirmation means making a personal decision. When you were baptized, your parents most likely decided for you. At confirmation, it’s your turn!

mins read | Stani Mičkovicová

What happens at confirmation?

Confirmation is the sacrament in which the Holy Spirit is poured out. The Holy Spirit wants you to become holy! It is his power that the recipient of the sacrament receives.

The word “confirmation” comes from the Latin “firmare” and means “to strengthen”, but also “to confirm”. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that the Holy Spirit revealed himself at Pentecost, appearing as tongues of fire, as a gust of wind, and enabling the followers of Jesus to speak in tongues.

  • The tongues of fire mean: To spread and defend the faith in a “fiery” manner and confess the name of Christ; but also to never be ashamed of the cross.
  • The gust of wind blows in a certain direction without anyone being able to say how and where it came from. The Holy Spirit works this way, too: He leads and drives the Christian to where God wants him to be.
  • Speaking in tongues: Through the Holy Spirit, all people can speak a common language – the language of love. Through love, they can understand each other, regardless of nationality, skin color, or political boundaries. The Holy Spirit makes it happen. Where he is, there is home and solidarity.

Who can receive and administer confirmation?

Usually, a bishop administers confirmation as a successor to the apostles. Where this is not possible, a priest can also administer the sacrament. This requires authorization from the diocesan bishop.

And who can be confirmed? The candidate has to be baptized, he must have the declared will to be confirmed, and he must have received the sacrament of penance prior.

As a rule, the rite of confirmation is performed during Holy Mass. After the sermon, the bishop asks the confirmands to renounce evil by saying “I renounce” and to declare their faith by the threefold “Yes, I believe!”. In contrast to baptism, which most of them received as infants, the confirmation candidates can now give their own conscious “Yes” to God.

After the renewal of the baptismal promise, the bishop or his representative spreads his hands over the candidate and prays for the coming of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. He then lays his right hand on each recipient individually and draws a cross on their forehead with chrism, a consecrated anointing oil.

The newly confirmed person is thus given a seal that no one and nothing can erase. During the anointing, the bishop says: (Name …) “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” During confirmation, the sponsor stands behind the recipient, placing their right hand on their candidate’s right shoulder as a sign that they will accompany them on their faith journey, and be a role model for them.

The saints - our companions through life

Some countries have a beautiful tradition: Their candidates choose a saint as their patron to stand by them as a friend and protector in life.

And what are saints? The church canonizes some people after their death to recommend them to the faithful as role models. Saints were completely normal people. They had their desires and dreams, just like we do. And yet they stand out from the crowd because they placed their love for God and people above everything else and lived their lives accordingly. The great thing is that the mission the saints began on Earth continues in Heaven. They are not idle in heaven: They pray for us, are powerful intercessors with God, and help us to master our lives when we ask for their help. St. Therese of Lisieux is known to have said: “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.”

Whether you are already confirmed or not, choose a saint whose life can inspire you. There are many holy priests and religious, martyrs, family mothers and fathers, but also holy children and young people. The saints’ testimony can help you get to know yourself better, discover your talents, and use them to spread the kingdom of God. A saint can help you grow beyond yourself and love as God loves because that is indeed your vocation on earth.