FAQ About Confirmation

What is Confirmation?Confirmation.jpg
Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments, a Sacrament of Initiation. The particular grace of Confirmation is the gift of the Holy Spirit, given to equip the believer to continue the work of Christ in the world.

How is Confirmation administered?
Ideally, Confirmation is conferred by a bishop, a successor of the Apostles who first received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Priests may, however, confirm those who are received into the Church at the moment of their conversion; and priests may confirm in other cases when delegated to do so by the bishop.

Today, Confirmation is typically celebrated during a Mass, with the ritual inserted after the Gospel and homily. The essential elements in the Sacrament of Confirmation are the laying on of hands, the anointing of the forehead with Chrism and the invocation of the Holy Spirit.

When is Confirmation received?
There is tremendous variety in practice concerning Confirmation. Eastern Rite Catholics confirm infants at the time of Baptism. In Mexico, many children are confirmed prior to receiving First Holy Communion – as early as age five. A generation ago, most American Catholics were confirmed between sixth and eighth grade. In recent years, it has been most common in this country for Confirmation to take place in high school.

Isn’t Confirmation supposed to be the moment of becoming an “adult Christian”?
This is an approach to Confirmation that has been used in recent years, as Confirmation has been conferred in high school. It is not a bad thought – that in Confirmation one reaffirms the promises of Baptism that were then made on his or her behalf. But this does not belong to the essential character of Confirmation.

Who should be confirmed?
Certainly, any adult Catholic who has not yet been confirmed should receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. In accord with current diocesan practice, students who are now in high school are at the age to prepare for Confirmation.

For a while I belonged to a Lutheran church and was confirmed there. Should I be confirmed again now that I have returned to the practice of the Catholic Faith?
Yes. Lutherans practice their own version of confirmation, but do not regard it as a Sacrament. The Sacrament of Confirmation is not validly administered in any Protestant church.

How does an adult prepare to be confirmed?
Adults are invited to attend the Main Event – our Tuesday night catechetical program – to receive a thorough review of the Catholic Faith in preparation for the Sacrament. They join the RCIA candidates for the discussion sessions at the Main Event, and also take part in other elements of spiritual preparation offered to those preparing to receive the Sacraments of Initiation as converts.

Contact Deacon Chris Schmelzer, Director of the Rite of Christian Initiation for full details. He can be reached at deaconchris@isthmuscatholic.org or by telephone at 257-5000.

How does a high school student prepare for Confirmation?
Formation for Confirmation is a two-year program, which begins as early as 9th grade. The youth engage in topics such as salvation history, the Mass and the Eucharist, as well as the Catechism. 

For more information on Confirmation preparation and celebration of the sacrament for youth please visit the Children's Sacramental Prep webpage.

When is Confirmation celebrated at the Cathedral Parish?
Adults are confirmed at the Easter Vigil, when those entering the Church as adults also receive the Sacraments of Initiation. Since this is the Cathedral Parish, it is Bishop Morlino who administers the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil.

Is there any cost for Confirmation?