Next Saturday, Bishop Bernard Shlesinger will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation at Saint Brigid to approximately 160 of our teens. Confirmation along with Baptism and the Holy Eucharist comprise the sacraments of Christian initiation. Our Catechism states, “Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or ‘confirm’ the baptized in union with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church.”
Those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation spend much time in instruction, reflection, and prayer. Their preparation also includes time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a spiritual retreat. We continue to live in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 and related viruses. Therefore, our candidates for Confirmation, their coordinators, and sponsors, as in the prior year, had to adapt to different approaches to preparation. We appreciate their creativity and flexibility.
Pope Francis has often spoken about the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation in our spiritual journey. In one of his weekly general audiences, as reported by the media outlet, “Catholic News Agency”, he stated that Confirmation, along with Baptism and the Eucharist form part “of the unique process of Christian initiation through which we are gradually inserted in Christ, dead and risen, and we receive a new life.” He further noted that the term “confirmation” “indicates that this sacrament ratifies baptismal grace.” Our Holy Father also reminded the faithful that Confirmation “strengthens our relationship with the Church and gives it a special strength from the Holy Spirit to defend the faith and confess the name of Christ.”
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. These candidates also receive the spiritual assistance and dedicated support of a sponsor.
The following “Confirmation Prayer” by Cardinal Henry Edward Manning asks for the guidance of the Holy Spirit:
O Holy Spirit of God: take me as thy disciple.
Guide me, illuminate me, sanctify me.
Bind my hands that they do no evil.
Cover my eyes that they may see it no more.
Sanctify my heart that evil may not dwell within me.
Be thou my God. Be thou my guide.
Whatsoever thou forbiddest me I will renounce.
And whatsoever thou commandest me, in thy strength I will do.
Lead me then unto the fullness of thy truth. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Pope Francis, we are encouraged to continue to pray for these candidates as they prepare to receive this great sacrament and continue on their journey of faith.