CONFIRMATION – INTRODUCTION
“Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the Sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.” (CCC 1316)
CONFIRMATION – CATECHESIS
“Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts, and his biddings – in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. The latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands.” (CCC 1309)
Immediate preparation takes place during the year of Confirmation. Study should include the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist), Pentecost, the Holy Spirit in Scripture and in the history of the Church, and the explanation and meaning of the Rite of Confirmation. Like all Sacramental preparation, the intent is not only to gain knowledge of the Sacrament, but also to help the candidate grow into a deeper relationship with Christ and His Church. It is beneficial to continue emphasis on service to others and to encourage this as an integral part of the Christian life style. A retreat for the candidates prior to Confirmation is an effective setting for individuals to "meet Jesus Christ in a life changing way." Often the retreat gives youth a time and place in which to reflect upon and internalize that which during the year has been spoken about Christ and His Church. Meetings with parents and sponsors will help them better understand their role in the Confirmation process and will also help them to deepen their relationship with those being confirmed.
- Candidates ranging from seventh grade to twelfth grade are the ordinary recipients for the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Diocese of Madison according to local parish determination. Pastors in the same vicinity might well be in touch with one another about particular parish practices with regard to the age of Confirmation, so that the life of individual parish communities can go forward with some desired serenity undisturbed by this particular exercise of diversity.
- Preparation is to be a process of study, prayer, and service to others. The candidate should understand that this process is a model for Christian living throughout one’s adult life.
- A program of education for parents of those wishing to be confirmed should be held in conjunction with the catechetical sessions for students.
- Sponsors should be included in some of the catechetical sessions for candidates.
- Retreats offer an excellent opportunity to meet Jesus Christ in a life-changing way, so an opportunity to experience an overnight or a weekend retreat should be included in the preparation program.
- Pastors, catechists, and parents will cooperatively decide when the Sacrament of Confirmation is to be offered to children and adults who are mentally hndicapped.
- The entire parish should be part of the preparation for the celebration of the Sacrament. This can be done by means of the parish bulletin, the Sunday homily, brief instruction at parish organizations, RCIA-based rites celebrated at Sunday liturgies, prayer by the community for the candidates and other special events.