Confirmation is the second Sacrament of Initiation, along with Baptism and Eucharist. All three sacraments are intimately connected. In the Sacrament of Confirmation candidates are “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” which strengthens them for growth in personal holiness and for service for the Body of Christ. Confirmation has been described as our “personal Pentecost”.
Effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation
Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of Baptismal graces by:
- rooting us more deeply as adopted sons and daughters of God.
- uniting us more firmly to Christ.
- increasing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in us.
- bonding us more perfectly to the Church.
- giving us a special strength of the Hoy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and deed as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly and to never be ashamed of the Cross.” (CCC#1303)
Where is Confirmation Mentioned in Scripture?
There are many Scriptural references for an “outpouring” of the Holy Spirit. Luke 20:22 describes Jesus breathing on the Apostles to receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 describes the scene of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles like tongues of fire. Furthermore, the book of Acts describes times when the Holy Spirit was called down upon the disciples after Baptism by the laying on of hands.
Who Can Confirm?
The usual minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the Bishop. In certain instances the Bishop gives permission to pastors to confirm. During the Liturgy, the celebrant prays for an outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the candidates through the laying on of hands.
Matter and Form of the Sacrament
After this, each candidate is brought forward and anointed with Sacred Chrism in the sign of the cross, while the celebrant prays, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”.
Who May Be Confirmed?
The Sacrament of Confirmation should be received by every baptized person. In general, the sacrament can be received anytime between the age of reason and the age of 16. However, each diocese sets the age/grade of reception. In the Diocese of Harrisburg, the normal minimum grade for reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation is in the 8th grade. However, there are exceptions for certain circumstances. At St. Joseph Parish, young people in 8th grade or high school who have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation participate in a two-year preparation process that includes: parent-teen formation meetings, a retreat experience, religious education component, and community service, among other requirements. For more information about registering for this process, please contact the Youth Office.
Every Pentecost Sunday the Diocese of Harrisburg conducts a Confirmation liturgy at the Cathedral for baptized Catholic adults who, for whatever reason, never received the Sacrament of Confirmation. If you are adult who wishes to receive this sacrament, there is a short process of preparation in the spring of each year. Please contact the Religious Education Office for more information or to register.
Click here to view 4-minute movies on the Sacraments.