Confirmation is the sacrament by which Catholics receive a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Through Confirmation, the Holy Spirit gives them the increased ability to practice their Catholic faith in every aspect of their lives and to witness Christ in every situation.
The effects of Confirmation can be seen as:
- An increased portion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, right judgment, understanding, courage, piety, and fear of the Lord
- A deepening and strengthening of the grace received at Baptism, which is considered the presence of God in the soul
- A more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ
- A closer bond with the Catholic Church
- The ability to take a greater, more mature role in the Church’s mission of living the Christian faith daily and witnessing to Christ everywhere
- A special mark, or character, on the soul that can never be erased
Each person’s ability to embrace these effects depends on his or her openness to the sacrament and willingness to accept it as God’s personal gift.
Who Can Receive Confirmation?
In the Roman Catholic Church, Confirmation is usually administered to young people in year 9 of school or above who are ready to take on a more adult role in the Church. These candidates for Confirmation, or confirmands, as they are called, were usually baptised as infants and must now accept the Catholic faith as their own and make a commitment to live it out with God’s help. Confirmands will participate in preparation classes before receiving the sacrament. As part of that preparation, each confirmand chooses a ‘Confirmation name’ (usually that of a favourite saint), which indicates that he or she is ready to assume a new position in the community.
Adults joining the Catholic Church also receive the sacrament of Confirmation after baptism and a period of instruction. They, too, must freely accept the Catholic faith and commit to practising it at all times.
Any baptised person, even an infant, may receive Confirmation, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that it provides, if he or she is in danger of death.