“Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1316)
Confirmation is the second sacrament of initiation.
With reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation, 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. Confirmation is regarded as the perfection of Baptism.
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.
Many people think of the laying on of hands, which signifies the descent of the Holy Spirit, as the central act in the Sacrament of Confirmation. The essential element, however, is the anointing of the confirmand (the person being confirmed) with chrism (an aromatic oil that has been consecrated by a bishop), accompanied by the words “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit”. This seal is a consecration, representing the safeguarding by the Holy Spirit of the graces conferred on the Christian at Baptism. The Sacrament may only be received once.
For more information on Confirmation for the 2016-17 school year, visit our Confirmation tab under Faith Formation.