Confirmation is a sacrament, ritual or rite of passage practised by several Christian denominations. . It is also a sign of full membership to the Christian community. If you are fortunate enough to have the great grace to be able to receive Confirmation, go … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. However, this is not the traditional order for conferring the three sacraments of Christian initiation. He makes the sign of the cross on their foreheads with holy chrism oil. Confirmation is a popular practice in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Churches where infant baptism is also performed. (Code of Canon Law, canon 884). There are those that follow the confirmation rite in The Book of Common Prayer and those that follow the confirmation rite from the Common Worship pattern. In the early twentieth century, Pope Pius X encouraged the admission of children to reception of the Eucharist as soon as they reached the age of reason, in contrast to the later age at which they had been admitted for some centuries. When an adult is initiated into the Catholic Church, he or she must receive baptism, confirmation and Holy Communion in that order. The bishop leads the people in praying for the Holy Spirit to rest upon those confirmed. This is also the practice of Eastern Rite Catholics. The saint will act as a patron and guide to the person seeking confirmation. Confirmation candidates attend a series of special classes to learn about the sacrament, their faith and Christian responsibilities. Confirmation, also known as Chrismation, is one of the seven sacraments through which Catholics pass in the process of their religious upbringing. Students will learn what Confirmation is, why it is important, and what it means to be a confirmed Catholic. However, the three sacraments of Christian initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, are increasingly conferred, within the Latin-Rite Catholic Church, in the traditional order, which is obligatory when an adult is baptized. A bishop normally performs the rite, which includes the laying on of hands and anointing the forehead with chrism (holy oil). They may be sprinkled with holy water as a reminder of their baptism. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Candidates will usually devote time during their confirmation classes to choosing a saint who particularly inspires them. Think about it like a team of basketball players. Their parents and godparents promise to bring them up in the Christian faith following Jesus's example. During the first several centuries of Christian history, when most of those who joined the church were adult converts from paganism, the baptism of these adults and the ceremony admitting them to the full rights of membership (equivalent to, but not yet called, confirmation) probably coincided. Catholics believe confirmation is one of seven sacraments instituted by Christ. Eastern Churches refer to confirmation as Chrismation. That of the Latin Church more clearly expresses the communion of the new Christian with the bishop as guarantor and servant of the unity, catholicity and apostolicity of his Church, and hence the connection with the apostolic origins of Christ's Church. The Catholic Church teaches that, like Baptism, Confirmation marks the recipient permanently, making it impossible to receive the sacrament twice. The same passage of the Catechism of the Catholic Church also mentions, as an effect of Confirmation, that "it renders our bond with the Church more perfect". Catholic Confirmation Names For Men And Women, Boys And Girls 1. It confers the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord) upon the recipient, who must be a baptized person at least seven years old. The bishop then leads the people in a prayer asking God to strengthen those confirmed with the Holy Spirit and asks they be given the seven gifts of God's grace mentioned in Isaiah (see above). Your choice of Catholic Confirmation names says something about you. The effect of the sacrament of confirmation is a special outpouring of the Spirit as granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighborhoods, society, and the world. This is a sign that he is appointing them to be true witnesses to Christ. Read more. After infant baptism, children in parishes throughout the diocese would be confirmed at the age of eight at Pentecost. A bishop usually confers confirmation although a priest is sometimes allowed to administer the sacrament if a person has already been baptised into another Christian Church and is entering into full communion with the Catholic Church through confirmation. By the 4th century, confirmation became a separate “unction” (rite using…. Confirmation preparation helps candidates to have a proper understanding of how to live as a follower of Christ. Traditionally, confirmation was part of a wider ceremony of Christian initiation in the Church of England. Guard what you have received. In Eastern Catholic Churches, the usual minister of this sacrament is the parish priest, using olive oil consecrated by a bishop (i.e., chrism), and administering the sacrament immediately after Baptism. Today's classes are more comprehensive and the particular needs of candidates will be borne in mind. Confirmation is not regarded as a sacrament or a means of conferring divine grace. The … 99. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Confirmation, Christian rite by which admission to the church, established previously in infant baptism, is said to be confirmed (or strengthened and established in faith). The Eastern Orthodox churches and some Eastern churches in communion with Rome permit a priest to administer the equivalent sacrament of chrismation. Updates? In the Roman Catholic Church, each participant is also anointed with oil. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Candidates join with the bishop and the rest of the congregation to recite the Apostles' Creed as an expression of the Christian faith they are now affirming for themselves. It confers the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord) upon the recipient, who must be a baptized person at least seven years old. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. The majority of Catholics are baptised as babies before they are old enough to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. This anointing highlights the name "Christian," which means "anointed" and … In Salford diocese, which oversees Catholic churches in towns and villages in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire, the former bishop, Patrick Kelly, decided to reinstate the symbolic context of confirmation. Protestants, in particular, may have to be baptised again. It marks their decision to live a responsible and committed Christian life. The bishop may commission the candidates, asking them to express their commitment to a life of Christian discipleship. Saints … Early Christian theologians, therefore, closely connected the meaning and effects of confirmation with those of baptism. It is considered a sacrament in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and it is equivalent to the Eastern Orthodox sacrament of chrismation. But such an arrangement means that the bishop confirms fewer people. It accepts as valid a Confirmation conferred within Churches, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, whose Holy Orders it sees as valid through the apostolic succession of their bishops. The laying on of hands by the bishop followed by a prayer. This is theologically acceptable because a bishop can delegate his apostolic power to priests. Confirmation, also known as Chrismation, is one of the seven sacraments through which Catholics pass in the process of their religious upbringing. Candidates may sometimes be anointed with oil as an additional sign of their anointing by the Holy Spirit. It is a symbolic act allowing the baptised person to make a mature statement of faith. In the Latin-Rite (i.e., Western) Catholic Church, the sacrament is customarily conferred only on people old enough to understand it, and the ordinary minister of Confirmation is a bishop. In the Anglican Church, the sacrament of confirmation is conferred through the laying of hands. Like Anglicans and Catholics, Methodists confirm the promises that were made on their behalf as a baby. The sacrament of confirmation is often held on Pentecost Sunday when Christians celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church." In many dioceses, the local bishop has set a minimum age for confirmation. He addresses each candidate by name and recites a special confirmation prayer. Anglicans who choose to be confirmed make a further commitment to the Christian journey that began with their baptism. Only for a serious reason may the diocesan bishop delegate a priest to administer the sacrament (canon 884 of the Code of Canon Law). By contrast, when Roman Catholics and Protestants convert to Orthodoxy, they are usually received into the Church by Chrismation but without baptism.  In this connection, the touch on the cheek that the bishop gave while saying "Pax tecum" (Peace be with you) to the person he had just confirmed was interpreted in the Roman Pontifical as a slap, a reminder to be brave in spreading and defending the faith: "Deinde leviter eum in maxilla caedit, dicens: Pax tecum" (Then he strikes him lightly on the cheek, saying: Peace be with you) (cf. We receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner with great emphasis given to the person of Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to the Church for building up the community in loving service. However, some bishops require converts to be admitted through baptism. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. Documents. A Latin Rite bishop administering confirmation in the 14th century. A minister conducts the confirmation service through the laying of hands and the following prayer: "Lord, confirm your servant by your Holy Spirit that he/she may continue yours forever.". (John 14:16; John 15:26; John 16:13). Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Corrections? You’ve had these gifts since your Baptism, but Confirmation deepens and strengthens them since it draws you even closer to Christ and the greater Catholic community. When they reach an age where they are able to understand the difficulties and challenges of living out the Christian faith, they are invited to confirm the promises made on their behalf at baptism through confirmation. . This is in accord with the Introduction to the Rite of Confirmation, 17, which indicates that the episcopal conference may decide "to introduce a different manner for the minister to give the sign of peace after the anointing, either to each individual or to all the newly confirmed together. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). It only became a separate rite when bishops were no longer able to preside at all baptisms. But as the baptism of infants rather than of adults became customary, a sharper distinction between baptism and confirmation became necessary. The Roman Catholic Church views confirmation as a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ.
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