Next Saturday Bishop Shlesinger will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to approximately 165 of our teens. As previously mentioned, Confirmation along with Baptism and the Holy Eucharist comprise the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. Our Catechism reminds the faithful of the need for proper preparation for the Sacrament. It states, “Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts, and responsibilities of Christian life. To this end, catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community.”
Those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday have spent much time in instruction, reflection, and prayer. Their preparation also included time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a spiritual retreat. As we know all too well, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, our candidates for Confirmation, their coordinators, and sponsors had to adapt to different approaches to preparation. We appreciate their creativity and flexibility.
Pope Francis has often noted the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spiritual growth in the life of a Christian. He has indicated that the Sacrament enhances our missionary zeal for our faith. His sentiments are reflected in the “United States Catholic Catechism for Adults” which states, “Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighborhoods, society, and the world. 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 living service.” It further indicates, “In the Sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized person is ‘sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit’ and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ.”
The media outlet “Catholic Online”, as part of its overview of the Sacrament, stated that Confirmation, “is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer. The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament. All baptized persons can and should be confirmed.” As part of their preparation, candidates for Confirmation are asked to select the name of a saint as their Confirmation name. The saint can serve as an example of Christian living. Candidates also receive the spiritual guidance and dedicated support of a sponsor who walks with them on their Christian journey.
As we get ready to celebrate this great Sacrament, we are encouraged, as a community of faith, to continue to pray for our Confirmation candidates, their coordinators, and sponsors.