The sacrament of confirmation is when a catholic receives special outpouring of the Holy Spirit to confirm their faith. Catholics believe that through this occasion, the Holy Spirit increases their ability to practice the Catholic faith in all aspects of their lives.
This occasion usually happens when Catholics are between the age of seven and sixteen years old. The church views the role of parents on this occasion as a privilege and an Obligation. Every parent has the responsibility to bring their children up in the practice of faith.
The Catholic faith believes that the age for confirmation and first Eucharist is the same. Some catholic official documents, such as the Code of Canon Law, states that confirmation is to be conferred to the faithful individuals at the age of discretion. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which was held in August 2001 stated that the age of discretion is between 7 and 16. Preparing in advance for the Confirmation party by sending invitations for confirmation to friends and family is a wise idea. The child needs to celebrate with classmates and relatives.
Understanding the History
There is some current confusion with the confirmations which escalated after the separation of the confirmation from baptism. In the Bible, most people were baptizedin their adult age. For that reason, they actually combined these two. Unless you are joining the Catholic Church as an adult, you will basically not receive the two at the same time. Young believers in the Catholic faith are baptized as infants and later undergo a two year preparation period before their Confirmation sacrament.
Previously, the catholic bishops laid hands on the newly baptized people, and they were anointed as part of the baptism rite. Today, the bishops cannot anoint numerous converts because of the high population and the spread of Christianity. For that reason, the confirmation was differed to a later date. The post-baptism anointing gradually became known as the confirmation.
What does Sacrament of Confirmation mean to a child?
This occasion will increase the portion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which includes, wisdom, knowledge, judgment, understanding, courage, piety and fear of the Lord. The child will definitely have more knowledge of what is required of him or her according to the catholic faith, the wisdom to give the right judgments and an understanding of humankind. After the sacrament of confirmation, the child will have the courage to serve God and, at the same time, fear of God.
It offers a deepeningof the grace at the baptism. This is what is considered the presence of God in the soul. The child will eventually have a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and a closer bond with the catholic faith.
After the Sacrament of Confirmation, the child will definitely have the ability to take a more significant and mature role in the church’s mission of living in the faith. This will help the child witness Christ everywhere. It’s actually a permanent unique mark or character on the child’s soul that cannot be erased.
Who can receive the confirmation?
The confirmation is basically administered to young children from tenth grade to twelfth grade. These are the children that are ready to take a more adult role in the Catholic Church. The confirmands were baptized as infants and are now at the stage of accepting the Catholic faith. In most cases, the confirmands take one or two years of preparatory classes before receiving the sacrament. They all choose a confirmation name, especially that of their favorite saint, to indicate that he/she is ready to take the role of the church. People usually celebrate these special occasions. Sending first communion invitation to friends and family for such a special occasion is a custom.
People that are joining the Catholic faith as adults will also receive the confirmation after baptism and usually go through a period of instruction. They have a chance to accept the Catholic faith and commit to its practices all the time. All the baptized people, whether adults or infants, can receive the holy spirit’s outpouring through confirmation.
In most cases, its only the bishop has the powers to confirm converts in his diocese. But Priests can get this delegated role from the bishops. This is especially when adult converts are baptized awaiting confirmation. The Non-Catholics who want to join the catholic religion usually attend the RCIA classes.