What is Confirmation?
Baptism, the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confirmation are the sacraments of Christian initiation. The Catholic Church teaches that confirmation binds the baptised more perfectly to the Church, enriching them with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. It helps us to be true witnesses of Christ, encouraging us to defend the faith by word and deed. The essential rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead with sacred chrism and the laying on of the Bishop’s hand with the words: Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
Who is eligible to join the programme?
Any baptised person from the Parish, who will be in school year 10 or above by the September in which the programme commences are welcome to join the confirmation programme. Those who join are known as candidates. Any parishioners over the age of 18 who have yet to be confirmed should contact Fr. Liam or Deacon Des to explore other options.
What will it involve?
The confirmation programme will involve taught sessions, the days of the week and times of these meetings are negotiated with Deacon Des. There will be an information meeting for parents and young people held in September. This meeting provides the opportunity for everyone to find out about the programme content, the programme dates, ask any questions they might have and to meet the leaders, known as catechists, and each other. If, after the meeting the young people decide they wish to prepare for the sacrament then the Programme will start shortly afterwards.
The Parish is pleased to be able to provide a really engaging programme which will include:
- an opportunity for candidates to meet other young Catholics from the parish and to make new friends
- space to talk about what is important to them and to share their faith
- time to explore interesting and engaging areas of Church teaching
- a chance to get involved in practical social action and to experience different forms of prayer
Candidates will be invited to choose a sponsor who will be a source of spiritual support for them during and after the programme. This might be a godparent, relative, family friend or fellow parishioner who is not less than 16, 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. This person must not be the Father or Mother of the candidate.
When candidates are confirmed, they can choose a Confirmation name to add to their first and middle names — or they can just use their names given at Baptism. However, the new name must be a Christian name such as one of the canonised saints or a hero from the Bible.
Help will be provided during the programme in choosing a sponsor and a Confirmation name.
When will it start and how long is it?
The annual programme will start in September and will continue until the celebration of Confirmation usually in Eastertide the following year – the date for the celebration will be confirmed at the parents and young people introductory meeting in September.
Who is running the programme?
The Confirmation programme will be run by an enthusiastic team of catechists led by Deacon Des.
Other people will also be involved during the programme including of course Fr. Liam. Several young people who have received the sacrament of Confirmation also return the following year to help the candidates, which the catechists positively encourage as this provides them with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and their own faith further.
I have some questions, who can I ask?
If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding the sacramental programme you can speak to Fr. Liam, Deacon Des or enquire at the parish office.
What should I do now if I want to join the confirmation programme?
The sacrament of Confirmation is a key moment in the life of a young Christian. Preparation for this sacrament must be undertaken with great care to ensure that the candidate knows what they are doing. In order for candidates to be fully prepared and for the programme to be successful, the church requires commitment to the Confirmation programme as outlined below:
- must express their own desire to receive the sacrament of Confirmation;
- are expected to attend Mass every weekend;
- should ensure they attend each and every programme session and be on time;
- should enter fully into the programme activities;
- should listen to catechists and each other, respecting their views;
- should not allow their own behaviour to disrupt others;
- should undertake acts of service within the community willingly
- should attend the weekend retreat which is an integral part of the course.
Young people should discuss confirmation with their parents/guardians and decide for themselves if they are ready to take this journey. If they do not feel ready at the time, if it is not their choice or they are unable to meet the required commitment they should consider leaving Confirmation for another year. There is no maximum age limit for the sacrament, but the RCIA programme is open for anyone aged over 18.