Confirmation is connected to Confirmation. In Confirmation, we are welcomed as Christians into the church and made strong by receiving the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. The Apostles were very fearful, hiding out, until the Holy Spirit came to them at Pentecost. This gave them the strength they needed after Jesus died. Confirmation, the Eucharist, and Confirmation together constitute what is known as Sacrament of Christian Initiation. At Confirmation, Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit gives them gifts for strength of faith and life.
From the Sacred Scriptures, the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity [long-suffering], mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23. Later, in the Acts of the Apostles, Confirmation is described as the Apostles, the successors to the bishops, laid hands on the new Christians and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:14-18
No matter how or if one celebrates Confirmation, the church believes it helps us recognize that we need the support of God to live a good life of integrity.
Choosing a sponsor for Confirmation is an important part of the Confirmation process. The sponsor will be participating in the preparation and be present on the day of Confirmation as a witness. Some people choose to ask their godparent and this continues the role of the godparent in the child's life. The child should love and respect the person they choose as a sponsor because this person acts as a spiritual guide throughout Confirmation. The church requires the sponsor be baptized, confirmed, and are a practicing Catholic. It is recommended that parents not be sponsors. Daily life can become busy and it is best if time is set aside away from regular routines in order to take full advantage of the spiritual mentor, the sponsor. In most cases, the church treats this as a formal educational process and distributes handbooks for the child and sponsor to complete over a period of months.
In the Confirmation process, children choose a second middle name, their Confirmation name. There are many ways to choose this name and the church usually does not stipulate guidelines of a strict nature. Some people refer to their Confirmation name as their name saint because people are encouraged to choose a saint they admire or wish to be more like. Children should spend a little time researching saints and finding one in which they can relate. Others like to use saints' names already in their family. One child wrote, my sister's name is Elizabeth. I look up to my sister and St. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, a prophetess, and a friend and cousin of the Blessed Mother. This is a personal choice for the child. Its best to look at the name in this way, at birth the parent chose the child's name and then chose when to baptize the child. At the time of Confirmation, the child is choosing to become a full adult member of the church, to receive the Holy Spirit, so it is appropriate that the child be left to contemplate their spirituality and choose a name based on their explorations.
Confirmation receptions can also be as formal or informal as the parents see fit. Some find it easiest to provide tea and cake, or snacks and drinks, or a buffet brunch. These are ways to continue the celebration of the day and spend time with family and friends after the child makes their First Communion. Other parents feel it appropriate to put on a formal dinner. This is usually served in courses and can be served by the parents, grandparents, or godparents of the child. Some godparents honour the child by inviting the family and friends to a restaurant or pub for dinner.
Confirmation blessings can be said as a prayer at the reception, or inscribed on a gift for the child. We have listed our favorites below.
An Irish Prayer For Your Confirmation
May God give you...
An Old Celtic Blessing
An Irish Blessing
An Irish Blessing