Confirmation is a Catholic sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is a Sacrament of faith in God's fidelity to us.
The essential element of this sacrament 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 the Holy Spirit" (or, in the Eastern Catholic Churches, "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit"). This seal is a consecration, representing that the Holy Spirit safeguards the graces conferred on the Christian at Baptism.
In the Western Church, the sacrament is administered sometime after the "age of reason" (at least seven years old) but in the Eastern Church, it is administered jointly with Baptism and Communion (in the form of consecrated wine) shortly after birth.
The sacrament is administered by the bishop or any priest who has been authorized by the bishop to perform confirmations.
The five effects of Confirmation are:
- rooting us more deeply in the divine filiation [as sons and daughters of God] which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";
- uniting us more firmly to Christ;
- increasing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
- making our bond with the Church more perfect;
- giving 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.
At St. Mary's, confirmation is usually held in October for ninth grade students, with the exact date being set by the Diocese of Trenton. To provide enough seating for immediate family members and confirmation sponsors, there is usually more than one confirmation ceremony per year. For more information, please see Religious Ed.