Theology of the Sacrament of Confirmation
Confirmation, together with Baptism and Eucharist, form the Sacraments of Initiation that are all intimately connected. 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 prophets of the Old Testament foretold that God’s Spirit would rest upon the Messiah to sustain his mission. Their prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus the Messiah was conceived by the Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus on the occasion of his baptism by John.
Jesus’ entire mission occurred in communion with the Spirit. Before he died, Jesus promised that the Spirit would be given to the Apostles and to the entire Church. After his death, he was raised by the Father in the power of the Spirit.
Those who believed in the Apostles’ preaching were baptized and received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. The Apostles baptized believers in water and the Spirit. Then they imparted the special gift of the Spirit through the laying on of hands. “‘The imposition of hands is rightly recognized 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’” (CCC, no. 1288, citing Pope Paul VI, Divinae Consortium Naturae, no. 659).
By the second century, Confirmation was also conferred by anointing with holy oil, which came to be called sacred Chrism. “This anointing highlights the name ‘Christian,’ which means ‘anointed’ and derives from that of Christ himself whom God ‘anointed with the Holy Spirit’” (CCC, no. 1289, citing Acts 10:38).
Register for Confirmation
For Confirmation celebrated under normal circumstances, the following information is to be entered in the Confirmation Register (Can. 895):
- The legal Christian names of the child or adult (use maiden name of a woman)
- The name of the father (first, middle if any, and sure name) and the name of the mother (first, middle if any, and maiden name)
- The date and place of Baptism
- The name of the sponsor selected by the person
- The date and place of the Confirmation
- The title and name of the minister performing the Confirmation, e.g., “Bishop David Talley” or “Father Ruben Villa-Rivera.”
The place of Baptism should be notified of the Confirmation. In the case of a baptized person who was brought “into full communion with the Church, “the place of reception (“Profession of Faith”) is to be notified instead of the place of Baptism.
As in the case of emergency Baptism, the record of an emergency Confirmation is to be kept in the territorial parish in which the Confirmation occurred.
When a large number of persons are to be Confirmed, it is essential that someone collect the necessary information and see to it that it is communicated accurately to the parish or parishes of the recipients for proper recording in the baptismal registers.
Large group of recipients
When several persons are confirmed at the same ceremony by the same minister, the date of conferral and the name of the minister may by written only once in the register, so long as it is clear that the references apply to all the confirmed.
If there is more than one minister at a single ceremony, the record should clearly show which ministers confirmed which recipients.
Recipients from more than one parish
When Confirmation is conferred upon persons form two or more parishes at one ceremony, all records are made at the parish where Confirmation was celebrated with notification sent to the parish(es) of Baptism.
In order to satisfy the obligation of notifying the parish of Baptism about the conferral of Confirmation, a baptismal certificate for each candidate for Confirmation should be obtained in advance of the celebration of Confirmation.3
It is recommended that the place and date of Baptism be noted in the Confirmation register. (This can be especially helpful when a person has difficulty locating a baptismal record later in life).
Notification of Church of Baptism
Notification of the Church of Baptism about the fact of Confirmation should be made as soon as possible by the pastor of the place where the record of Confirmation is retained. This notification is to include the name of the recipient and date of Baptism, as well as the place and date of the Confirmation. The names of the minister, parent and sponsor are not required. When a person previously baptized in another Christian community
Info on Receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation
The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the process of initiation into the full life of the Catholic Church and both renews and strengthens our baptismal call to live out our faith in Christ in the world. In the Diocese of Memphis, the Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated in the Easter season when a child is in the eighth grade or above.
Children are required to attend Religious Education Classes at OLS classes or have been enrolled in a Catholic school for the full year prior to beginning preparation to receive the Sacrament.
In other words, for a child to receive Confirmation in eighth grade, they must attend religion classes (Religious Education Classes at OLS or Catholic school) in both seventh and eighth grades. Contact the Director of Religious Education for information about these classes.