What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is usually the third sacrament of initiation into the church after Baptism and First Holy Communion and makes you a full member of the Catholic Church.
Confirmation is the Sacrament that completes Baptism; in it the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon us. Anyone who freely decides to live a life as God's child and asks for God's Spirit under the signs of the imposition of hands and anointing with Chrism receives the strength to witness to God's love and might in word and deed. He is now a full-fledged, responsible member of the Catholic Church
(Taken from the YouCat)
In receiving this Sacrament we are following in the footsteps of Jesus's disciples - Jesus told his disciples that they would not be left alone when he ascended to Heaven but he would give them His 'advocate'. The feast of Pentecost is a celebration FIFTY days after Easter remembering the Holy Spirit 'filling the hearts' of the disciples:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
In Confirmation we too are filled with the Holy Spirit and receive the gifts of the Spirit to help us go out into the world to try and be living examples of Christ and spread the Good News to all we meet.
Who is it for?
In our parish the majority of people make their Confirmation through preparations in Our Lady's school when they reach Year 6. Other children who have reached Year 6 but don't go to the school have preparation classes at church. This is just the minimum age though - anyone older than that can also make their Confirmation.
What happens during your Confirmation?
Once enrolled, anyone making their Confirmation will be invited to take part in preparation classes - this helps in understanding the Sacrament and what you are going to receive. As part of the Sacrament we also choose a Confirmation name which is the name of a Saint who inspires us or is important to us. We also choose a Sponsor who is someone that will support us in our faith as we go through life.
There is a special Mass (usually in July in our parish) in which all those making their Confirmation will be invited to firstly renew their Baptismal Promises which for many of us will have first been said by our parents as we were baptised as babies. You will then be invited one at a time to come forward to the Bishop, alongside your Sponsor who will place their left hand on your right shoulder.
The Bishop will then say "(Confirmation Name) be sealed with the Holy Spirit" as he makes the sign of the cross on your forehead using the oil of Chrism to which you respond "Amen". The Bishop will then say "Peace be with you" to which you respond "And with your spirit". He will then often shake your hand, in peace and in congratulations.
If your child goes to Our Lady's Primary School they will be offered the opportunity to celebrate this sacrament once they are in Year 6 so please keep an eye out for the information that will be given to you through the school.
If you or your child (who is older than year 6 or doesn't go to Our Lady's Primary School) want to make your Confirmation, then please do see one of our priests after Mass who will be able to give you a form to fill and return to the Parish Office. After this there will be Confirmation classes for children that take place leading up to the celebration which usually takes place in July. There will be separate preparation for any adults.