SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION

The sacrament of Confirmation strengthens the baptized and obliges them more firmly to be witnesses of Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith.  It imprints a character, enriches by the gift of the Holy Spirit the baptized continuing on the path of Christian initiation, and binds them more perfectly to the Church. (CIC 879)

The Bishop of Allentown administers Confirmation annually to eighth-graders whom the parish and family have prepared with appropriate instruction and example. The parish Director of Religious Education is entrusted with the day-to-day coordination of the program, and the Pastor gives final determination of suitability.

The Syriac liturgy of Antioch expresses the epiclesis (“calling down” of the Holy Spirit) for the consecration of the sacred chrism (myron) in this way: "[Father…send your Holy Spirit] on us and on this oil which is before us and consecrate it, so that it may be for all who are anointed and marked with it holy myron, priestly myron, royal myron, anointing with gladness, clothing with light, a cloak of salvation, a spiritual gift, the sanctification of souls and bodies, imperishable happiness, the indelible seal, a buckler of faith, and a fearsome helmet against all the works of the adversary.” (CCC 1297)

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In recent years, Confirmation has been touted as the “sacrament of Christian maturity,” for which reason its reception has been pushed back in some dioceses to as late as junior year of high school, when the child certainly would be ready to “choose for himself.”

To be sure, the Holy Spirit is “confirming” or “ratifying” the decision the confirmand has made.

Recall, however, that the decision for everlasting life with the Trinity is primarily God’s: “It is not you who chose Me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go forth and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (Jn 15:16). Confirmation seals God’s choice for us with the full unleashing of the Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverent Love, and Holy Fear. Activating these gifts in our daily decisions will yield great results for the Church in terms of quality and quantity of Life, “joining us more closely to Jesus and His Church, sealing and strengthening us as Christ’s witnesses” (Daughters of St. Paul, “Basic Catechism”).

And it turns out that this decision isn’t a “once-and-done” thing, but rather one that requires repetition, and, given the persistent onslaughts of the Evil One in this world and our hearts, also requires intensification. After all, since Confirmation is administered to 8th graders in the Diocese of Allentown, their need for the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s sevenfold gifts—and for sound direction from their parents and mentors—will increase sevenfold as they enter high school!

Choosing one’s Confirmation Sponsor
Criteria for a Confirmation sponsor are identical to those of a Godparent (often, one and the same individual fulfills the role). As a representative of the faith of the parish community into which the child is being baptized, he or she should be a strong role model and witness to the life of a Catholic Christian committed in faith to stand with the confirmand. Because Confirmation is the completion of what happens in Baptism, the sponsor must be a baptized and confirmed member of the Catholic Church who is willing and able to help the child develop and grow in the Catholic Faith. The minimum age for a baptized and confirmed Catholic to be a sponsor is sixteen (16) years of age. If the prospective sponsor is married, he or she must be married validly (i.e., under the auspices of the Catholic Church).



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