Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Act 8:14-17
What is the Sacrament of Confirmation?
A sacrament of initiation, which follows Baptism and Eucharist.
The sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – lay the foundations of every Christian life. “The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.’ CCC#1212
Completes the sacrament of Baptism
Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. CCC#1285
A laying on of hands
“From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Chris’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic traditions as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church”. CCC#1288
An anointing with oil which conveys a sealing, or indelible mark of the Holy Spirit.
Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name “Christian,” which God “anointed with the Holy Spirit.”4 This rite of anointing with chrism, or Myron which means “chrism”… CCC#1289
Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character:, which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be witness. CCC#1304
“Bound more intimately to the Church by the Sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are endowed by the Holy Spirit with special strength, hence they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith both by word and by deed as true witnesses of Christ” (Lumen Gentium, 11).
Preparation for Receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation As A Teen
High School youth (who have already been baptized, received first Communion and are actively living their faith) are invited to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Level I is called a Period of Discernment—a time to connect with the parish, become more involved in ministry and service, choose and connect with a sponsor, attend Youth Ministry and GIFT gatherings with parents and/or sponsors and complete service hours.
Once participants have discerned that they are ready to confirm their faith and have completed the requirements for Level I, they move on to Level II—Discipleship.
The sacrament of Confirmation deepens our baptismal commitment which calls us to bring Jesus to the world, in our homes, schools, neighborhoods and community. During the preparation, we focus on strengthening our personal relationship with Jesus through prayer, both individual and communal. Parents, sponsors and the parish community offer help and guidance.
The program is led by Sabrina Harper and a team of adults and older youth.
Orientation meetings will be held for parents and youth on Wednesday, September 15th at 7:00 pm for Discernment (Level I) and on Thursday, September 23rd at 7:00 pm for Discipleship (Level II). See the calendar on page 16 of the Faith Formation Handbook for the full schedule.
Registration: Registration for Confirmation is OPEN as of August 18th. For more information, contact Sabrina Harper.
Service: 20 hours of service are required for Confirmation. (10 hours must be done in the parish: helping out at Church, assisting at our GIFT Gatherings or other parish events, Breakfast with Santa, Ash Wednesday, etc.) the other 10 hours can be done on the community, for example: working at Second Harvest Food Bank, tutoring or going to the store for a sick neighbor.
Service is work done for someone else. It is a way of showing that we care for other people in our community, our Church and our world. We use the gifts that we have been given by God to make a better world. Jesus was the first and foremost advocate for caring and service when he said, “What you do to others, you do to me.”
At the beginning of Discernment (Level I) Confirmation, candidates are required to choose a Sponsor to walk this part of the faith journey with them. Following are the guidelines:
- Must be over 16 years old and fully initiated (already received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist)
- Must be someone other than the candidates parent
- Should be actively involved in their parish community
- Should live locally so that they can attend events with the candidate
Each year, we act in accordance with national mandates implemented in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for fingerprinting and/or background checks of all catechists and volunteers who have regular contact with young people. Also, all catechists and volunteers are required to complete an online course called, “Protecting God’s Children” before they begin their ministry and is renewed every three years.
Also, each year children will be guided through the “Empowering God’s Children Program” designed for specific age groups which provide a theme that introduces and builds on the basic concepts of the Teaching Boundaries and Safety Guide. The material is developmentally appropriate for each age group and includes content and activities that reinforce the message.
More information about these programs and materials will be made available to families in the fall.
Preparation for Receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation As An Adult
Adults who are seeking to receive the sacrament of Confirmation have two options for preparation. 1) They can participate in the RCIA process at the local parish. At St. Matthias, the RCIA group will meet on Sunday mornings, weekly at 10:45 am with Deacon Rich and Deacon David as facilitators. 2) Alternatively, the Archdiocese of San Francisco offers an Adult Confirmation preparation process. Participants attend a Friday night – Saturday session which is offered in fall and repeated in spring. Confirmation is celebrated on Pentecost at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. Contact Sabrina for more information.