“Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or ‘confirm’ the baptised in unison with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church” (The Glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church).
Holy Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation, and Confirmation is the second. By Confirmation (or Chrismation as it is called in the Christian East), the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Lord Jesus and His Church, and they are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (or martyrs) of Christ and the truth of His Gospel.
On several occasions in His preaching, the Lord Jesus promised an outpouring of God the Holy Spirit on His disciples, and this promise was fulfilled first on the Day of Resurrection and then more strikingly at Pentecost.
St. Peter declared this outpouring of the Holy Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. From that time on and in fulfillment of Christ’s command, the Apostles imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Holy Spirit to complete the grace of Baptism.
The imposition of hands, therefore, is the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation which perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church. Very early in the Church’s life this apostolic laying on of hands was accompanied by an anointing with perfumed oil called sacred chrism, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit Who anointed the Lord Jesus at His own Baptism. This anointing highlights the name Christian, which derives from the sacred title of Messiah (or Christ from the Greek translation), meaning “the Anointed One.”
In the Eastern Churches (both Catholic and Orthodox), Confirmation or Chrismation is administered together with Baptism, even to infants. But in the Western Church, the two first sacraments of initiation became separated in the early Middle Ages, and to this day Confirmation is administered after the age of reason for those baptized as infants.
For adult converts who have never been baptized, the unity of these two sacraments is now restored when they are given together at the Easter Vigil. All Catholic Christians should receive the Sacrament of Confirmation to complete their communion with Christ and be marked by the perfection of the baptismal priesthood of the faithful in order to proclaim more boldly and publicly that Jesus Christ is Lord. Any baptized adult Catholic who has not yet been confirmed should participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at Easter.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is normally celebrated when the child enters young adulthood. In the Parish of St. Edwards, Year 11 school age or above, living within the parish boundary and to be practising their faith are the requirements to be Confirmed. Candidates for this Sacrament should have been enrolled in the Faith Formation program run by the Parish.
Sponsors for each candidate must be a practicing Catholic who is at least 16 years of age and who has received the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. If married, the sponsor must be in a valid Catholic marriage. The Bishop administers the sacrament every three years (in the intervening years it is conferred by the Parish Priest at Pentecost).
Communion for the First Time Programme normally runs from September to June each year and details are to be found in the Newsletter in June of each year. Families will be interviewed by the Priest for enrollment. Children must be at least 7 years old by 31st August (Year 3 and above).
For more information, please contact the Parish Priest or the Parish Office during working hours.