The Sacrament of Confirmation is the third of the three sacraments that make us full members of the Catholic church. They are called the "sacraments of Christian initiation," and their unity is sacred to us.
So, for example, when Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism; Confirmation begins with the renewal of baptismal promises and the profession of faith. In fact, when adults are baptized, they immediately receive Confirmation and participate in the Eucharist. Confirmation completes Baptism - inviting us to recognise all we have recieved in Baptism and to, now, step up as adults and take seriously this grace we have received! Baptism makes us children of God, but Confirmation makes us His intimate friends and gives us the grace to bear witness to him.
On the first Pentecost, Jesus gave the Apostles the gift of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit given in a particular way in Confirmation. It empowers us to leave behind our fear and, realising that the Holy Spirit is with is; to go out into the world taking responsibility to to spread God’s love in the part of the world where we live.
The Church gifts us to do this, not with our own strength, but with the strength and wisdom of God Himself. That’s because only the Holy Spirit can win the world to Christ, can make us holy and helps us to make holy the ordinary things of everyday.
We must understand that we are not alone. We are one body, one people, one Church of Christ. The sponsor who stands at your side at Confirmation represents for you the whole community. Together, with a great crowd of witnesses drawn from all peoples and every age, you represent Christ who says: "As the Father sent me, so I am sending you." (Jn.20:21)
Christians are sent to proclaim the joy and wisdom of Christ to the world and to work for justice, which will bring peace on earth.
Parish Based Preparation Programmes for Confirmation
You Shall Be My Witnesses
You Shall Be My Witnesses is a parish-based preparation programme for Confirmation. It is a resource designed to encourage active partnership between those involved in parish leadership, parents and members of the wider parish community as they help children to prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation.
Over the course of five one-hour sessions the prorgramme offers parents and members of the parish community the opportunity to share their faith with the candidates and hopefully create a space where all can learn from each other.
You Shall Be My Witnesses explores the themes of belonging, believing, being, becoming and beginning again as full members of the church.
The programme requires two adult leaders (preferably parents, but may also be members of the parish community) to each eight candidates. One hour-long session takes place each week for the four weeks before Confirmation. The fifth and final session is a joint session with all candidates and parents, and it takes place after Confirmation. Adults who volunteer to be leaders are given training in the content and structure of the programme.
You Shall Be My Witnesses is available from Veritas. The children’s material includes:
- Enrolment Flier
- Confirmation Journal
- Four Newsletters
- Commitment Certificate
- Completion Certificate
A Leader’s Book and Coordinator’s Book are also available.
Confirming our Children (Alive-O Writing Team)
In the ‘More!’ section of Alive-O 8, there is a series of five rituals which are offered for use by parish personnel. They are entitled:
Fanning the Flame – A Gathering Ritual
Witnesses to the Spirit – A Ritual of Commitment
Affirming our Baptism – A Ritual of Blessing
Called by Name Ritual
Blessed with Oil Ritual
The aim of these rituals is to give the local faith community an opportunity to support the children preparing for Confirmation in a very real, public way. Where possible, it is intended that the rituals take place during the Saturday evening Vigil Mass. They require the active support and participation of the local clergy and liturgy groups, who will be involved in the planning and preparation process. All five rituals are contained in a book for priests and parish personnel entitled Confirming Our Children. It is available from Veritas.
Preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Primary School
Sacrament of Confirmation
The celebration of Confirmation is a sacred and important moment on a long journey of faith development. Together with Baptism and First Holy Communion it opens the door to full membership of the Christian community. It is the beginning of the young adults’ ownership of their faith, supported and nourished by their family and their faith community.
Catechesis on Confirmation or preparation for celebrating the sacrament cannot be confined to one lesson or group of lessons on the Rite of Confirmation and its effects. Preparation for the sacrament is a long-term process and should seek to help the children:
- To know God the Father and relate to God the Father as his child;
- To know Jesus Christ, be familiar with his teaching and desire to follow him;
- To know the Holy Spirit and to be aware of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, in the early Church and in us;
- To have a great sense of belonging to the Church and a desire to undertake responsibilities in the life and liturgy of the local Church;
- To be aware of the Church’s missionary activity and desire to assist in it;
- To have some awareness of the responsibility of Christians to work for peace, justice and togetherness in the world.
The specific preparation for Confirmation takes place in both the school and parish contexts.