Confirmation celebrates God’s presence in our lives as the Holy Spirit comes to guide, strengthen, and empower us to witness the Good News of Jesus Christ. Confirmation completes and perfects our Baptism.
Confirmation for school aged children
In enrolling your child for the Sacrament of Confirmation you are offering them the opportunity to become full members of the Catholic community. On their Confirmation day they will confirm their commitment to the promises you made on their behalf at their Baptism. Confirmation is the third and final Rite of Christian Initiation and is the Sacrament in which the candidate receives the fullness of the Holy Spirit given to him or her at Baptism. You stood before the community and said ‘yes’ for them at their Baptism; now they say ‘yes’ to God for themselves.
Confirmation is not just one of those things that we do because we are of age or because all our friends are doing it. Confirmation should be something we choose because we want to live a more Christ centred life. Confirmation is a Sacrament of Christian maturity, the Sacrament of active assumption of Church membership and responsibilities.
Who can receive the Sacrament of Confirmation?
For students to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation they must be baptised and have not been already confirmed.
The students will need to choose a Confirmation name that will be used when they make their Confirmation. They may choose the name given to them at their Baptism by their parents if this was the name of a Saint or Blessed. Or they may choose a new name for their Confirmation. If choosing a new name for Confirmation, candidates need to choose that of a Saint or a blessed (not simply a hero). It should be the name of one who has inspired them.
As a rule there should be a sponsor for each of those to be confirmed.
The sponsor brings the candidate to receive the sacrament by presenting him or her to the minister for anointing. Later the sponsor will help them to fulfil their baptismal promises faithfully... (Rite of Confirmation #5).
Pastors will see that the sponsors, chosen by the candidates or their families, are spiritually fit to take on this responsibility and have the following qualities:
a. the sponsor must have sufficient maturity to fulfil their function - a person must be not less than sixteen years of age.(Code of Canon Law 8741 #2)
b. be members of the Catholic Church and have undergone their own Christian initiation through baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
c. freedom from any impediment of canonical law to their fulfilling the office of sponsor (Rite of Confirmation #6)
One sponsor, male or female, for any candidate is sufficient; but there may be two (Code of Canon law 873)
Parents may not be sponsors for their child, but may in exceptional circumstances present their child for Confirmation as a proxy for the baptismal godparents or absent sponsors.
The students will need to complete the required information onto the official Confirmation Cards prior to the ceremony for the parish records.
This Sacrament must be a freely chosen commitment to God and the Catholic Church.
Having offered your child this wonderful opportunity, you can help to prepare them well and to understand the commitment they are about to publicly undertake. Some ways you can help them prepare might be:
- Have your child study the faith regularly, by reading the Gospel stories in the Holy Bible and learning about the lives of the saints. These things will help enhance and support what they are learning in their formal religious education classes.
- Help them become aware that Confirmation is not the end of their religious experience, but the beginning of their lifetime commitment to God and his Church.
- Teach children that to love God fully they must know about Him through deepening their prayer life and their reading.
- Prepare them further by exploring the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit they will be learning about in class. We know that these are the gifts that the Holy Spirit brings at the time of Confirmation, but what will they mean in the life of your child?
- Talk about your child’s strengths and how they might use these gifts to grow into a real fullness of life.
Above all, Confirmation is a Sacrament of power. The gifts of the Spirit are given to enable the candidate to take action in the world, to carry to all people the Good News. Encourage your child to prepare for their Confirmation by doing good works – within the family, at school, the neighbourhood and the wider community.
All members of the Catholic community are called to bring about social justice. Children have an innate understanding and attraction to justice and will gladly become involved in such activities with only a little encouragement.