The Sacrament of Confirmation

Confirmation celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2, verses 1 to 13, we read of the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. They had been hiding after Jesus’ death, afraid and uncertain. The coming of the Holy Spirit with his gifts inspired them and enabled them to take the step of preaching the good news.

We are made members of God’s family at Baptism. At Confirmation, our Baptism is completed or “sealed” by the Holy Spirit and we are called to be Christian witnesses, just like the apostles. The whole of our Christian living and the life of the Church, too, are sustained by the same Spirit.

Who Can Receive?

Any baptised Catholic wishing to advance on the path of developing their faith. For young people, this is usually part of the 5th/6th class primary school programme.
For adults who were not confirmed as children, it means taking part in the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)

ConfirmationConfirmation

 

Sponsor

A sponsor stands behind the candidate for Confirmation at the Confirmation ceremony and places their hand on the shoulder of the candidate as a sign that they will support them in living out their baptismal promises. However, the role of the sponsor is not just for one day. The sponsor undertakes to assist the confirmed person in growing in the fullness of their faith and in their membership of the Catholic Church.

A person qualifies as a sponsor by being a reasonably mature adult, who is at least 16 years old, and has already received the Sacraments of Initiation, (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) themselves. The Confirmation sponsor may be one of the people who was a sponsor at Baptism (subject to the notes here).

Choosing a sponsor:

(Ref. Code of Canon Law §874) To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:

  • be appointed by the candidate, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
  • be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;
  • be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
    not labour under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;
  • not be either the father or the mother of the candidate.

Name

The tradition of taking a new name at Confirmation emphasises the new identity of a Christian being called to witness to their faith. People are encouraged to take the name of a saint or a person from the Bible who inspires them in some way.

Oil

The oil used is called the Oil of Chrism. It is olive oil mixed with balsam that is blessed by the bishop and priests of the diocese in the Cathedral at the ‘Chrism Mass’ on Holy Thursday. The Sacrament is conferred with the anointing with this ‘Oil of Chrism’ on the forehead as the Bishop says ‘Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit’.

Resources for Preparing the Confirmation Ceremony

These guidelines are intended as a resource for all those who are responsible for preparing and co-ordinating the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation in our diocese. We are grateful for the time and energy you put into helping our young people prepare for this important step on their journey of faith and we hope that these resources will be useful to you in planning and preparing your celebration.

May God bless you in all that you do with and for our young people.

✠ Fintan Gavin
Bishop of Cork & Ross

Preparing for Confirmation

These videos and document resources will help families, candidates for the sacrament, teachers and parishes to prepare for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Worksheet to go with above video lesson: Come Holy Spirit Worksheet 1

In this second episode, Eleanor and Johanna look at the seven gifts and the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit:-

Worksheet to go with above video lesson 2. Come_Holy_Spirit_Worksheet_2

Worksheet to go with above video lesson 3. Come_Holy_Spirit_Worksheet_3

Resources for Planning the Confirmation Ceremony

A Guide to celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation

Scripture Readings for Confirmation

Hymns and Music for Confirmation Ceremony

The Rite of Confirmation

Order of the Mass Prayers and Responses

Please download and complete this Planning Sheet and send it to the Diocesan Office at least two weeks before the scheduled ceremony.

CONFIRMATION PLANNING SHEET (in PDF format)

CONFIRMATION PLANNING SHEET (in MS Word format)

In this short video Bishop Fintan demonstrates how the Rite of Confirmation will be celebrated in the diocese