The Sacrament of Confirmation
It is evident from the celebration of the rite of Confirmation that the effect of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
In the Western Catholic Faith Tradition, the Sacrament of Confirmation is now conferred on boys and girls at about fourteen years of age. There is no hard and fast rule about the age of a person receiving Confirmation; adults who have not been Confirmed also are always invited to receive this sacrament. The Sacrament of Confirmation can only be received once in a person’s lifetime.
In the Early Church, and still in the Eastern Orthodox Faith Tradition, Confirmation was administered as part of the Sacrament of Baptism and was called Chrismation; Baptism (and Chrismation) was always administered by a bishop. However, the practicalities of travel distance and the number of baptisms made it impossible for a bishop to preside at each baptism in his diocese. In the West, the two sacraments were separated reserving the administration of Confirmation to the bishop. In the Orthodox Tradition, priests were given permission to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation (Chrismation) along with baptism.
In the Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA, because we include rites from both the West and Eastern Catholic Traditions, our priests baptizing a child at any age may ask the parents if they also want to have the child confirmed as part of the rite of becoming a Christian.
The Sacrament of Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation
which enables us to raise our minds and hearts to Almighty God and call him “Father.” (Romans 8:15);
it unites us more firmly to Christ;
it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
it renders our bond with Christianity more perfect;
it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend being a Christian by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and always be faithful to His command to “love God and neighbor.”
Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, a person receives the spiritual seal, and the Seven Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit to help him or her to be true and faithful Christians in their lives:
the gifts of wisdom and understanding,
the gifts of right judgment and courage,
the gifts of knowledge and reverence,
the gifts of holy fear (awe struck) in God's presence.
We should love and value what is received in the Sacrament of Confirmation: God the Father has marked us with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed us and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in our hearts.
Some Christians seem to think or act like the Sacrament of Confirmation is an optional sacrament. Actually it is not optional because it completes the initiation of a person into the Christian life; completes his or her relationship and configuration to the Holy Trinity; and provides the grace and gifts needed to fulfill Almighty God’s purpose for both that individual and for humankind in general.
Anyone who has not been confirmed in the Catholic Faith Tradition and wishes to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, as well as anyone who has a child that they want to have confirmed are encouraged call our Church Office at 314-270-2452 to talk with one of our priests.