Confirmation celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2, verses 1 to 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 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
(Ref. Code of Canon Law §874) To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
- be appointed by the candidate, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
- be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;
- be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
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 saint or a person from the Bible who inspires them in some way.
Lesson 1 – Holy Spirit, Trinity, Power of the Spirit and Symbols of the Holy Spirit
Insights gained from everyday use of the word Spirit (Community, team, Christmas, inspired etc)
Who the Holy Spirit is and the Holy Spirit as a Person of the Trinity – reflection on the Trinity.
The difference the Holy Spirit makes in the life of Jesus and the disciples.
Symbols of the Holy Spirit – Fire, Wind, Dove. Insights gained from these symbols.
Lesson 2 – Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Begins with a quickfire quiz revising what was learned in the previous lesson.
Explore what fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit are. Reflection on how we all have the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – a game is played where the children guess what gift of the Spirit each picture represents and these gifts are explored. Children are asked to think about what gift of the Holy Spirit they feel that they need to strengthen.
The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – a game where the children are invited to guess what fruit of the Holy Spirit is being described.
A final game whereby the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are combined and explored further.
Lesson 3 – The Confirmation Ceremony
Begins with a quickfire quiz revisiting what was learned in a previous lesson.
A name identification game is played and leads into a discussion on the significance of names and the importance of putting time and effort into choosing a confirmation name. Children are encouraged to choose a saint’s name and some saints are referenced.
The significance of a sponsor is explored.
The four parts of the Confirmation Ceremony are explored
- Calling by Name
- Renewal of Baptismal Promises
- Laying on of Hands
- Anointing with Chrism.
A reflection is given on how the ceremony might be different during the current pandemic.
A reminder that confirmation is not an ‘end’ but should be a new beginning.