Through confirmation, Christians are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, their faith deepened and they are strengthened in their Christian life.
“Be sealed with the Gift of Holy Spirit”
Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together:
1. Baptism which is the beginning of new life;
2. Confirmation which is its strengthening; and
3. Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.
Receiving the sacrament of confirmation is important for the completion of baptismal grace. Confirmation is regarded as the perfection of Baptism, because, as the introduction to the Rite of Confirmation states: by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] 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.
Many people think of the laying on of hands, which signifies the descent of the Holy Spirit, as the central act in the Sacrament of Confirmation. The essential element, however, is the anointing of the confirmand (the person being confirmed) with chrism (an aromatic oil that has been consecrated by a bishop), accompanied by the words “Be sealed with the Gift of Holy Spirit” (or, in the Eastern Catholic Churches, “The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”). This seal is a consecration, representing the safeguarding by the Holy Spirit of the graces conferred on the Christian at Baptism.
The Sacrament of Confirmation confers special graces of the Holy Spirit upon the person being confirmed, just as such graces were granted to the Apostles on Pentecost.
Like Baptism, therefore, it can only be performed once, and Confirmation increases and deepens all of the graces granted at Baptism.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists five effects of Confirmation:
it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation [as sons of God] which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”
it unites us more firmly to Christ;
it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us in us;
it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross.
Because Confirmation perfects our baptism, we are obliged to receive it “in due time.”
Preparatory lessons for confirmation are conducted both at section level and on Sundays during Sunday school for a duration of 2 years. Candidates under-go an intensive training for 3 weeks prior to their confirmation to assess eligibility for confirmation.
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
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