Confirmation is one of the seven holy sacraments in the Catholic Church. It’s a time of prayer, celebration, and commitment to a life dedicated to Jesus Christ. Over the centuries, Confirmation has gone through quite an evolution.
In fact, it first began as part of the Sacrament of Baptism. But today, it’s widely accepted to be its own sacrament—a time to celebrate our sacred relationship with the Holy Spirit and to reaffirm our baptism in the Catholic Church.
What else do you need to know about Confirmation in the Catholic Church? Read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this special rite of passage.
What Confirmation Is and Why It’s Important in the Catholic Church
Catholics are first introduced to the Holy Trinity — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — at Baptism. After Baptism and First Communion, Catholics are again introduced to the Trinity during Confirmation, when the Holy Spirit descends upon confirmands just as he descended upon the 12 Apostles at Pentecost. So, what exactly does it mean to be introduced to the Trinity and to be confirmed in the Catholic Church? Read on to find out.
1. What Does Confirmation Mean in the Catholic Church?
To be confirmed in the Catholic Church is to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and to continue living in accordance with the faith. Confirmation is integrally related to Baptism and the Eucharist, as all three of these sacraments symbolize initiation within the Catholic Church.
After Baptism, Catholics first receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist during First Communion, bringing them one step closer to perfect union with Jesus Christ—and one step closer to the Sacrament of Confirmation. The sacrament is called Confirmation because it confirms the faith given to an individual during Baptism.
2. Why Is Confirmation Important in the Catholic Church?
Confirmation is the sacrament during which Catholics confirm their faith in and commitment to the Catholic Church. It symbolizes spiritual maturity and completes the process of initiation that began at Baptism and was nourished through the Holy Eucharist.
Getting Confirmed by the Catholic Church
There are 51 million baptized Catholics in the United States today, according to Pew Research Center. Confirmation enables these members of the Church to confirm the promises made on their behalf at Baptism, and to promise to continue serving God into adulthood. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to prepare for confirmation in the Catholic Church.
3. What Age Is Confirmation in the Catholic Church?
It depends. In the Latin Rite and Roman Catholic Church, individuals are baptized at birth, receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time around age seven, and are confirmed between the ages of 12 and 17. Most dioceses follow this order, but some have returned to a more traditional path in which children are confirmed at the same time that they receive their first Holy Eucharist.
4. How Long Are Catholic Confirmation Classes?
Depending on your diocese and parish, Confirmation classes can last anywhere from one month to a year. For teenagers who grow up in the Church, weekly Confirmation classes during the academic year are the last of a series of religion classes taken during primary school years. As an adult converting to Catholicism, similar classes are held and must be completed before you receive the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation.
Preparing for the Confirmation Ceremony
The Sacrament of Confirmation is an opportunity for your entire family or support system to grow in your Catholic faith together and draw closer to God. If your child or a loved one is preparing for Confirmation, here’s what they should know.
5. What Happens in a Catholic Confirmation Ceremony?
A Catholic Confirmation ceremony will typically take place during Mass or be its own Mass led by the bishop of the diocese. Individuals to be confirmed come forward, accompanied by their chosen sponsor, and are anointed with chrism oil by the bishop. The bishop says, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” and the confirmand responds, “Amen.”
6. Why Do Confirmands Choose a Sponsor?
At Baptism, a baby’s godparents vow to support and guide an individual in their Catholic faith throughout their life. At Confirmation, a sponsor does the same. A Confirmation sponsor must be Catholic and be willing to support the confirmand on their spiritual journey. At the ceremony, a sponsor accompanies the confirmand while they are anointed with chrism oil.
7. Why Do Confirmands Choose a Patron Saint?
Patron saints of the Catholic Church are the best representations of individuals who dedicated their lives to serving others and practicing the Catholic faith. As such, they are excellent role models for soon-to-be confirmands. Confirmands choose a patron saint they want to be like, and take on the name of that saint within the Church.
8. How Do You Choose a Patron Saint for Catholic Confirmation?
There are many ways to go about choosing a patron saint for Catholic Confirmation. Individuals are encouraged to learn more about the saints and to choose one whose lifestyle and values are similar to their own, or who is the patron saint of something that’s important to them.
9. Do You Give a Gift for a Catholic Confirmation?
Yes! The Sacrament of Confirmation is an exciting and memorable time for Catholics and should be celebrated as such. Though not required, many loved ones find joy in giving gifts to the newly confirmed. A Bible, rosary, or daily devotional are always great options.
Everything You Need to Know About Catholic Confirmation
Catholic Confirmation season is just around the corner, and you might have questions. Use this guide as a resource to guide your Catholic Confirmation journey.
And if your teen is about to get confirmed, discover four ways to support their spiritual journey.