Sacrament of Confirmation

The celebration of Confirmation is a sacred and important moment on a long journey of faith development. Together with Baptism and First Holy Communion it opens the door to full membership of the Christian community. It is the beginning of the young adult’s ownership of their faith, supported and nourished by their family and their faith community.

Making Confirmation is a decision, a choice, we make personally to follow Jesus and to live and love like him. In the Sacrament of Confirmation the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon us. Anyone who freely decides to live life as God’s child and asks for God’s Spirit under the signs of the imposition of hands and anointing with Chrism receives the strength to witness to God’s love in word and deed.  The person is then a fully-fledged, responsible member of the Catholic Church.  The Holy Spirit comes to strengthen us for our mission.  It means living as a true disciples of Jesus in our daily lives. 

The Holy Spirit does not force his gifts on us.  If we are open to them they liberate us and enable us to live and act as responsible children of God and followers of Jesus Christ.  If we are led by the Spirit and are open to his gifts we will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

The sacrament of Confirmation is about welcoming and celebrating the presence, gifts and action of the Holy Spirit in our lives, thus, enabling us to grow in faith.  

The Rite of Confirmation.

 Confirmation takes place within the celebration of the Eucharist. It consists of four elements:

 1:   Presentation of the Candidate

After the gospel the candidates stand and present themselves to the bishop. They stand independently, in mark contrast to baptism when they were presented by their parents.  It signifies their desire to be followers of Jesus Christ and to witness to their faith.

2:   Renewal of Baptismal Promises

For a Christian, there is no oath taken during one’s lifetime that is as solemn and important as the baptismal promises. The young people renew their baptismal promises. They now choose to publicly profess their faith in God, as Father, as Son, and as Spirit. They declare themselves in public as lifelong followers of Jesus Christ.

3:   Laying on of Hands

The gesture of laying on of hands was an ancient practice which denoted that someone was set apart for a particular role. There was a sense of power being bestowed on someone through the laying on of hands. In the Rite of Confirmation, the laying on of hands is done by the bishop extending his hands over those being confirmed and praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the seven-fold gifts that accompany the Holy Spirit’s presence.

In Confirmation the laying on of hands on the young person confirms them as people set apart, as disciples, as young leaders in their church community. The Holy Spirit will continue to work through those young people who are open to the grace offered to them in the sacrament.

4:   Anointing with Chrism

The name Christ means ‘the anointed one.’ Anointing was important as it set someone apart.

Anointing with the oil of Chrism in the form of a cross on the young person’s forehead reminds each of us that we are called to witness to our faith. When the young person is anointed with Chrism by the bishop, it is a sealing of their baptism, when they were given a share in Jesus’ family and given a share in his mission to live and spread the Good News. What they have done publicly, they must continue to do publicly. 

The oil is blessed by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass. Chrism signifies strength and the balm signifies the sweetness which virtue must give to our lives. The bishop uses the Confirmation name when anointing the individual being confirmed. It is a reminder to the young person that they belong to God and are committing to God.

The Gifts of the Spirit


Wisdom is the gift to look at life with a different perspective, the gospel perspective. It is about listening to the voice of the Spirit in our hearts and acting accordingly. A wise person is someone who knows who they are and what they are about.


Understanding is the ability to give meaning to what we experience and learn. It is the ability to listen and understand the feelings of the other and not be influenced by prejudice.

 Right Judgement

This gift is about making the right choice, according to Christian values. This may mean going against the flow: friends, the culture of the day etc.


The gift of courage is the ability to stand on your own feet, to trust your own wisdom and values. It means having the ability to handle the right choices and accept the consequences. This is not easy when under pressure from friends and peers.


The gift of knowledge is the ability to reflect and act prudently. The person considers all aspects of information and is thoughtful and considerate in making decisions.


Reverence is the gift of having respect for life, for creation, the environment and all people, no matter their colour or creed. It also includes showing reverence for all things holy.

 Wonder and Awe

The gift of wonder and awe is ability to appreciate and celebrate all that is good in oneself, others and creation. It is the gift that helps us see the work of God in the ordinary everyday things. It is an acknowledgement of the power of God working through our lives, the lives of others around us and the whole of creation.

What children need to learn :

  • Understanding of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
  • Connect Confirmation to the other two Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism and Eucharist.
  • The story of Pentecost.
  • The Holy Spirit at work in the lives of people they know and in the lives of the saints.
  • The Gifts of the Spirit.
  • The Fruits of the Spirit.
  • Prayer to the Holy Spirit.
  •  Ways of living their confirmation commitment.
  • Each pupil chooses the name of a saint that s/he admires and wishes to imitate.   Write a brief account of the saint.
  • Know the hymns for the ceremony.
  • Know the Mass responses.