Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, and it is often referred to as the Sacrament of Confirmation. This sacrament is closely linked with Baptism and the Eucharist and is considered a crucial step in the initiation process of a person into the fullness of the Christian life.
Purpose: Confirmation is seen as the sacrament in which the Holy Spirit is conferred upon the individual, strengthening and empowering them to live out their Christian faith boldly. It is viewed as a completion of the initiation process that begins with Baptism.
Bishop's Role: In the Catholic Church, the sacrament of Confirmation is typically administered by a bishop. The bishop lays hands on the person being confirmed and anoints them with chrism (consecrated oil), invoking the Holy Spirit.
Seal of the Holy Spirit: Confirmation is understood as conferring a seal of the Holy Spirit upon the recipient. This seal is seen as a mark that signifies a person as a fully initiated member of the Church.
Connection with Pentecost: The sacrament of Confirmation is often associated with the events of Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, empowering them to go forth and proclaim the Gospel. In Confirmation, Catholics believe that individuals receive a similar outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Renewal of Baptismal Promises: In many cases, Confirmation includes a renewal of baptismal promises. This underscores the connection between Baptism and Confirmation and emphasizes the individual's commitment to living out the Christian faith.
Preparation: Before receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, individuals typically undergo a period of preparation, which may include catechesis, study of the faith, and reflection. This preparation aims to deepen the candidate's understanding of their faith and commitment to the Church.
Sponsor: Candidates for Confirmation often have a sponsor, a practicing Catholic who supports and mentors them in their faith journey. The sponsor may be a relative or another member of the faith community.
Confirmation is considered a moment of grace, where the Holy Spirit strengthens the individual to live as a witness to Christ and actively participate in the life of the Church. It is often received during adolescence, but adults who have not yet been confirmed may also receive the sacrament through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process.