The Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated twice each year in our parish. One celebration takes place at the Easter Vigil Mass and is for those catechumens participating in our R.C.I.A. program. In the rite, once the individual has been baptized he or she is then confirmed by the presiding priest. The other celebration involves our 8th grade students who attend either Holy Cross School or our parish religious education programming. This celebration of Confirmation is presided over by the local bishop of our diocese. We also welcome adult Catholics who have not received the sacrament of confirmation to make contact with the parish staff. We can prepare candidates in the parish, who would be confirmed together with other adults in this position from around the diocese at St. Matthew's Cathedral towards the end of the Easter season.
The following is taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
". . . by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed." 1285 In the West, the term Confirmation suggests that this sacrament both confirms baptism and strengthens baptismal grace. [Para: 1289]
Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism, is rich in meaning: oil is a sign of abundance and joy;103 it cleanses (anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers); oil is a sign of healing, since it is soothing to bruises and wounds;104 and it makes radiant with beauty, health, and strength. [Para: 1293]
It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. [Para: 1302]
From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";117
- 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;118
- 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: [Para: 1303