The sacrament of confirmation is administered by the Bishop to the youth attending in the 8th grade at school or are 14 years old. It is witnessed by at least one sponsor (Godparent), who must be Catholic.
The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the Sacrament of Baptism. The real confession of Christ consists in this, “that the whole man submits himself to Truth, in the judgment of his understanding, in the submission of his will and in the consecration of his whole power of love.”
Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighbourhoods, society, and the world. Through the sacrament of confirmation, our personal relationship with Christ is strengthened. We receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner with great emphasis given to the person of Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to the Church for building up the community in loving service.
This confirmation in the power of the Holy Spirit leading to a firm profession of faith has always been the particular effect which Catholic tradition has ascribed to the sacrament. It is in effect (to give strength in faith and for the confession of faith and to impress an indelible character) which complements and completes that of baptism.
Confirmation is a true sacrament instituted by Christ and different from baptism. It is administered by the laying of hands and the anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer. Each baptized person can and should receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the Latin Church, it is customary to confirm candidates between the Age of Discretion, also called the Age of Reason, and about sixteen years of age. It is not uncommon that Catholics, not confirmed during this period of their lives for a variety of reasons, are confirmed as adults. The candidate should be in the state of grace (that is without serious sin), be well prepared by prayer and catechesis, and be committed to the responsibilities entailed by the Sacrament.
THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
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. From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
– it roots us more deeply in the divine love which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;
– 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;
– 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.
Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.
Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.
WHO CAN RECEIVE THIS SACRAMENT?
Every baptized person who is not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that “the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,” for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete. To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace.
One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act.
Candidates for Confirmation, as for Baptism, fittingly seek the spiritual help of a sponsor. To emphasize the unity of the two sacraments, it is appropriate that this person be the baptismal godparent when possible.