About the Sacrament of Confirmation
For dates of this year’s Confirmation ceremonies, please see our events calendar.
Confirmation celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles (2:1-13), we read of the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. They had been hiding after Jesus’ death, afraid and uncertain. The coming of the Holy Spirit with his gifts inspired them and enabled them to take the step of preaching the good news.
We are made members of God’s family at Baptism. At Confirmation, our Baptism is completed or “sealed” by the Holy Spirit and we are called to be Christian witnesses, just like the apostles. The whole of our Christian living and the life of the Church, too, are sustained by the same Spirit.
Who Can Receive?
Any baptised Catholic wishing to advance on the path of developing their faith. For young people, this is usually part of the 5th/6th class primary school programme. For adults who were not confirmed as children, it means taking part in the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
A sponsor stands behind the candidate for Confirmation at the Confirmation ceremony and places their hand on the shoulder of the candidate as a sign that they will support them in living out their baptismal promises. However, the role of the sponsor is not just for one day. The sponsor undertakes to assist the confirmed person in growing in the fullness of their faith and in their membership of the Catholic Church.
A person qualifies as a sponsor by being a reasonably mature adult, who is at least 16 years old, and has already received the Sacraments of Initiation, (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) themselves. The Confirmation sponsor may be one of the people who was a sponsor at Baptism (subject to the notes here).
Choosing a Sponsor
According to Canon Law, in order for a person to be a sponsor, they must:
- Be chosen by the candidate.
- Be not less than sixteen years of age.
- Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the Eucharist.
- It is not advised that the sponsor be the mother or father of the candidate, as they already have an important role in the candidate’s faith life.
Choosing a Name
The tradition of taking a new name at Confirmation emphasises the new identity of a Christian being called to witness to their faith. People are encouraged to take the name of a person who inspires them in some way, or a saint.
Download the confirmation leaflet, BEING CONFIRMED, by clicking on the link: Being Confirmed