Just as we mature physically and intellectually, we also mature spiritually. Most of us were baptized as infants and it was the choice of our parents to bring us into God’s family and the Church. In contrast, with confirmation, as practiced in the Roman Catholic Church, you are able to make your own choice. It is an opportunity not just to receive a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but also for you to decide for yourself whether you wish to give yourself more fully to the Holy Spirit.
With baptism, the priest brings you into the family of God while you are surrounded by your family. With confirmation, the bishop publicly consecrates you by anointing you with holy oil, extending his hands praying for a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The bishop prays these words, drawing from the prophet Isaiah: “All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”
Anointing with holy oil had a special significance for the Jewish people. It signified that a person is set apart and empowered by the Holy Spirit for an important public role among God’s people. For example, Moses anointed Aaron and his sons to establish the Jewish priesthood (Exodus 30:30). Elijah anointed Elisha to be the prophet to succeed him (1 Kings 19:16). The prophet Samuel anointed David to become king of Israel. The account from the Bible is instructive: “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13).
When we say that Jesus is s the Messiah, in Hebrew the word messiach means “the anointed one”. Early in his ministry, at the synagogue of his home town of Nazareth, Jesus read these words from the prophet Isaiah, announcing his mission to the world: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor” (Isaiah 61:1-2).
In confirmation, we ourselves become anointed ones and unite ourselves to the public mission of Christ in the world.
If you missed the sacrament of confirmation when you were growing up, you go through a year-long, preparation program called RCIA to make sure that you have an adult level of understanding of the Catholic faith. In the RCIA program you will be able to find a sponsor to accompany you. You can also choose a confirmation name that helps reflect your new identity in Christ. The confirmation itself takes place during the Easter vigil mass and/or during the Easter Season. Click RCIA if you would like to learn more about how to prepare for confirmation or if you would generously like to serve as a sponsor for someone seeking confirmation.
If you have a teenager you wish to prepare for confirmation, then contact Carole at 267-787-5000 x 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org.