Here are some useful questions and answers:
Who can be my sponsor?
Anyone who is :
- a practising Roman Catholic
- over 16 years of age
- not your own mother or father
Your sponsor is someone who stands beside you at your Confirmation to present you to the Bishop. They undertake to take an interest in your journey of faith.
What about the Confirmation name?
You do not actually have to have a new “Confirmation name” but most people do. The idea is that you choose the name of a saint who will be your special patron. You must therefore know something about the saint and why you are inspired by him or her. We will help you in this during the course of the preparation programme.
What do I have to wear for my Confirmation?
You are not required to wear any specific uniform for Confirmation. You should dress smartly as for a special occasion. Although it would be quite in order to have some new clothes for the occasion, the most important thing is how you are prepared inside. What matters is not your external appearance but the state of your soul.
Do I have to go to Confession?
Yes. You should go to Confession regularly anyway. If it has been a long time since you went, we will help you to prepare and you are sure to find it a very rewarding experience.
What if I cannot go to the lessons?
If there is a very serious reason or if you are genuinely ill, your parents can contact the catechist in charge to make your excuses. However, on an ongoing basis, it is important that you do not arrange outings that clash with your lessons for Confirmation and you must do your bit to keep those times free. If anyone were to miss the lessons without good reason, they would not be properly prepared to receive the sacrament.
What the Church teaches:
The following are taken from the catechism of the Catholic Church (the numbers refer to the paragraphs in the document, should you wish to look them up and read further – there is a link to the Catechism in the “Links” page):
1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptised] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.”
1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure.”
1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah’s, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people. On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit, a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptised received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn.
1288 “From that time on the apostles, in fulfilment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptised by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognised by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.”
1289 Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name “Christian,” which means “anointed” and derives from that of Christ himself whom God “anointed with the Holy Spirit.” This rite of anointing has continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means “chrism.” In the West, the term Confirmation suggests that this sacrament both confirms and strengthens baptismal grace.