Confirmation is the second Sacrament of Initiation. At Confirmation we receive the Holy Spirit, which helps us to become good Christians. It helps us to be brave and tell people by our words and actions that we believe in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit helps us in many ways. It comforts, teaches, helps us grow in our relationship with God and gives us strength to get rid of the bad habits in our lives. The Holy Spirit also gives us power and helps us know when we’ve done something wrong. We need to want to grow, learn and change to be more like God for the Holy Spirit to really work with us.
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Fruits of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
– Galatians 5:22-23
The Holy Spirit makes a home in our hearts. As we grow, we are like a tree that keeps growing and producing fruit. We might not see fruit such as kiwifruit hanging from our branches, but we should see the fruits of the Spirit in how we live our lives; especially how we treat others
Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.
— St. Catherine of Siena
The Age of Confirmation
Since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), practice of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Catholic Church have undergone extensive scrutiny and revision. The adult catechumenate has been restored, and revised rites of infant Baptism and Confirmation have been published. Setting the scene for this revision of Confirmation, the Council wrote:
“The rite of Confirmation is to be revised, and the intimate connection which this sacrament has with the whole of Christian initiation is to be more lucidly set forth.”
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 71
Prior to the mid-1990s, children baptised in infancy continued to receive Confirmation several years after First Eucharist. This meant that Confirmation’s “intimate connection … with the whole of Christian initiation” was not evident. Confirmation was sometimes seen as the candidate making an ‘adult’ commitment or a reward for participation in a programme. This created a significant difference between what occurred through the journey, to full initiation in the catechumenate and the stages of initiation of those baptised as children.
With this in mind, Bishops Denis Browne and Patrick Dunn introduced to the Catholic Diocese of Auckland the restored order of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist.
Thus, the reception of First Communion will be the climax of the Sacraments of Initiation into the Catholic Church. Full participation in the Mass will be seen as it really is, the:
“centre and culmination of the whole life of the Christian community”.
Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church, 30:2
Read more about the full background to the Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Auckland Diocese.
A hero, A Guide – Perhaps a new name?
In the early Church as people became Christian they changed their name, This was to indicate that they had converted to Christ and would from then on live the Christian life. Being given a name that reminds us of a holy person who demonstrates by their ordinary life how to life the Christian life. Saints are our heroes in faith.
Confirmation time is a great opportunity to look carefully at the lives of the Saints in our name. Although the practice in recent years is that a new saint’s name is chosen at Confirmation that is not required. A candidate can be confirmed with one of their given names.
Choosing a Confirmation Name
- What names were you baptised with? Consider both your first and middle names.
- What Saints are present in your names?
- Does this Saint inspire you to be holy, to live the Christian life?
- Would this name make a good Confirmation name?
- Is there a Saint whose story inspires you to live your life in the Christian manner
Learning from heroes
Confirmation is an opportunity to pause and consider the great richness of the Church’s Community of Saints. Each of them demonstrates an heroic virtue, something we can inspire to practice in our own lives.
Below are a few of the many videos available that tell the stories of some of our Heroes in Faith – The Saints