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Chapter 2 / Part 2: Confirmation

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1 Chapter 2 / Part 2: Confirmation
Our study of the Sacrament of Confirmation gives us the opportunity to learn more about the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, who lives within the heart of the Church and within the heart of every Christian. We will learn about the work of the Holy Spirit The origins of the Sacrament of Confirmation The effects of this Sacrament in our lives. The Holy Spirit is with us and in us, for “You are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9).

2 The Prophet Ezekiel was one of the most
influential prophets in the history of Israel and in the history of our salvation Ezekiel prophesied a renewal of life and a new covenant with God that has only come about through Jesus Christ This is what the Holy Spirit does…. Where death abounds, the Holy Spirit brings life. Where there is loss and confusion, the Holy Spirit guides and clarifies. Where despair settles in, the Holy Spirit brings hope—not a vain and empty hope, but a hope based on the sure promises of the Lord.

3 The Promise of a Messiah
Another significant prophet, the Prophet Isaiah, prophesied that from the family of David would come a Messiah upon whom the Spirit of God would rest: But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1–3)

4 Centuries passed. Then an angel, a messenger of God, visited a young woman, Mary of Nazareth, and told her she had been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, the Son of the Most High God. The angel said: “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and was in total communion with the Holy Spirit throughout his entire life and mission.

5 After the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, John the Baptist said
of Jesus: “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I Did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God” (John 1:32–34). After the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, John the Baptist said of Jesus: “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God” (John 1:32–34). John the Baptist knew the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel. He recognized that Jesus was the Son of God and the hoped-for Messiah, because the Holy Spirit came down from the Father, rested upon Jesus, and remained upon Jesus.

6 The Promise of the Holy Spirit
At the Last Supper, Jesus prepared his Apostles for what was to come. He promised that he would not leave them orphans. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16). An advocate, Jesus’ word for the Holy Spirit, is someone who speaks up for you, someone who is on your side in conflict, someone who is a trusted helper and advisor

7 The promise and this power came upon the Apostles and disciples, with Mary, the Mother of the Lord, as they were gathered together in prayer on the fiftieth day after Passover, the day called Pentecost. (Pente is the Greek word for fifty.) There was the sound of a strong driving wind, filling the entire house. Tongues as of fire came to rest on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts of the Apostles 2:1–4.) The Holy Spirit had an immediate effect upon the small group of believers. They left the house and began to proclaim the Good News in different tongues.

8 Wind, fire, and “different tongues” are all signs of the
presence of the Holy Spirit… Like wind, the presence of the Holy Spirit can be strong or gentle. Like wind, the Holy Wind, fire, and “different tongues” are all signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Like wind, the presence of the Holy Spirit can be strong or gentle. Like wind, the Holy Spirit is not seen, but his effects can be powerful. Like fire, the Holy Spirit purifies us and leads us through darkness by his eternal light. Like ecstatic tongues of prayer, the Holy Spirit can be heard in many languages and in many ways. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit led the Church, then a small band of believers, into the mission mandated by Jesus Christ: to bring the Good News of salvation to the entire world

9 Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the Church has grown and developed throughout history, influencing and transforming the complicated web of human cultures, and from within those diverse cultures, bringing humanity into a sacred encounter with Christ. In the first centuries of the Church, Confirmation was celebrated following Baptism in the same liturgy, and the bishop was the ordinary minister of Confirmation. Gradually, due to the increased number of infant Baptisms, the distance between parishes, and the growth of large dioceses, it became more and more difficult for the bishop to be present at every Baptism.

10 The response to this situation differed in the East and the West.
In the West, Confirmation was delayed until the bishop could be present. This remains the usual practice today in the Latin Church. In the Churches of the East, the three Sacraments were never separated. Because the sacred oil used at Confirmation, called myron, which means “chrism,” had been consecrated by the bishop, the link to the bishop was maintained. And so today, in the Eastern Churches, Confirmation immediately follows Baptism and is administered by the priest. Reception of the Eucharist follows (even for infants).

11 The Age of Confirmation
The Church mandates that a candidate for Confirmation must have reached the age of reason (at least seven years of age). In the United States, the age of Confirmation has been set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as between the age of discretion (about seven) and about sixteen years of age. An individual bishop can set a specific age within this range for his diocese. Some dioceses have adopted the “restored order” of receiving the Sacraments: first Baptism, then Confirmation, and lastly, the Eucharist. In this order a baptized child who has reached the age of reason will receive Confirmation followed by First Communion in the same liturgy.

12 The Rite of Confirmation
In a sense, the Rite of Confirmation begins before the actual celebration of the Sacrament. At the Chrism Mass celebrated during Holy Week, the bishop consecrates the Sacred Chrism and shares it with all the parishes in his diocese. This is in itself a significant action that is, in a certain way, a part of the Sacrament of Confirmation. The celebration of the actual Rite of Confirmation “takes place as a rule within Mass in order that the fundamental connection of this sacrament with all of Christian initiation may stand out in clearer light”

13 The celebration includes the following elements.
Introductory Rites As does every other liturgy, the Sacrament of Confirmation begins with the gathering of the assembly. Candidates, sponsors, families, and other members of the community gather in the designated church. Candidates often process into the church with the bishop, the parish priests, and the other liturgical ministers. The Liturgy of the Word The explanatory notes for the Rite of Confirmation inform us that the celebration of the Word should be given a lot of emphasis because it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit flows out upon the Church and upon each one of the baptized and confirmed . Presentation of the Candidates The pastor, deacon, or catechist presents the candidates to the bishop, usually by the calling of names. Each candidate stands, or, if possible, comes individually to the sanctuary. (If the candidates are children, they are accompanied by one of their sponsors or parents.)

14 Renewal of Baptismal Promises
Homily or Instruction The bishop gives a brief homily. The rite suggests that the following ideas, among others, be included in these remarks: “You have already been baptized into Christ and now you will receive the power of his Spirit and the sign of the cross on your forehead. ..(pgs ) Renewal of Baptismal Promises When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism (which is usually the case in the Latin Church), the liturgy includes the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. In these promises the candidates renounce Satan and sin and profess their faith in God. This renewal helps to express the close relationship between Confirmation and Baptism. The Laying On of Hands The laying on of hands has been a sign of the descent of the Holy Spirit since the time of the Apostles. This laying on of hands communicates the grace of Pentecost in the Church. The bishop extends his hands over the candidates. The bishop alone sings or says a prayer, asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon the candidates to be their guide and helper. This laying on of hands is very important, even though it is not the action by which Confirmation is conferred. It is a vital expression of the Church’s prayer.

15 The Anointing with Sacred Chrism
In the celebration of the Sacrament, the candidate stands before the bishop. The sponsor of the candidate stands near, with his or her right hand on the candidate’s shoulder. Either the candidate or the sponsor says the name of the candidate. The bishop dips his right thumb into the Sacred Chrism and makes the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of the one to be confirmed. The celebration then continues as follows: The bishop says: “N., be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” The newly confirmed responds: “Amen.” The bishop says: “Peace be with you.” The newly confirmed responds: “And also with you.” The Prayer of the Faithful After all have been confirmed, the Prayer of the Faithful follows. In this prayer, we pray for the newly confirmed, for their parents and godparents, for the Church, for all people of every race and nation, and that the work of the Holy Spirit, begun in the Church at Pentecost, be continued in the hearts of all who believe

16 The Liturgy of the Eucharist
When the Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated within the Mass, the celebration continues with the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Profession of Faith (the Creed) is omitted, as this profession was made in the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. Some of the newly confirmed may be asked to join in bringing the gifts of bread and wine to the altar. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, a special blessing is prayed over the people, asking the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to give special gifts of love, courage, and faith to the newly confirmed and to the entire assembly. The bishop then blesses the entire assembly.

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