Sealed With the Holy Spirit

Why Confirmation?

What happened to the disciples of Jesus at Pentecost, happens to us when we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation...we are strengthened and sealed with the Holy Spirit. God shares His Divine Nature with us when He gives us His Holy Spirit, and this empowers us to be children of God, sharing in God's own divine nature (Peter). The point of the Spirit is to transform our lives so that we learn to love as Jesus loves.

want to be confirmed?

Get details about High School Confirmation Prep on our Kids and Teens page. Click the Teen Confirmation button below.
Confirmation for Adults takes place within the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults Program (RCIA).  Adults and older children who are not baptized or who were baptized in another church prepare to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Adults who were baptized Catholic but have not received Eucharist or Confirmation prepare for these sacraments. The primary celebration is at the Easter Vigil Mass each year. For meeting times and sign up information click the button below.

Sacrament of confirmation

The Basics

Some time after baptism, the Church confers a sacrament of strengthening. The word “firm” stands at the center of confirmation, and it is a “firming up” of the Christian. By baptism, we are born into the family. Through confirmation, God gives us the grace to reach Christian maturity within the family.

In the East, this sacrament is called “chrismation,” after the oil of chrism that is applied during the rite. “Chrism” comes from the same word as “Christ”: Christos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Messiah.” Both words mean “anointed one.” When we receive the chrism, we are anointed; we become like Christ; we become Christs [anointed ones…with the anointing of Christ].

Christ Himself received His “anointing” from the Father, signified by the descent of the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:32). When Christ’s redemptive work was complete, after His resurrection, He confirmed His disciples by giving them the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22). In other words, the Father sent the Son to give us the Spirit. Christ gives us new life in baptism, but baptism is only the beginning. “Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace” (CCC, 1285). In confirmation, we receive the fullness of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Anointing symbolizes the passing on of power. 

Anointing symbolizes the passing on of power. The Old and New Testaments are full of stories of anointing. Kings are anointed as they take the throne. Prophets receive anointing at the beginning of their ministry. Priests anoint successors for their work at the altar. These anointings are not merely ceremonial; they are efficacious, too – that is, they work wonders. One striking example is King Saul’s anointing by the prophet Samuel (1 Sam 10:1-9). Afterward, Samuel explains, “the spirit of the Lord will come mightily upon you, and you shall prophesy…and be turned into another man” (v6). Immediately, the story relates, “God gave him [Saul] another heart” (v9).

For our biblical ancestors, olive oil held many powers: It was nourishing in food, a staple of the Mediterranean diet; it fueled the lamps that lit up family homes; it was the base of most medicines; it moistened skin dried out by desert climates; it soothed and loosened the limbs of athletes and soldiers. In God’s family, the oils of the sacraments do all these things supernaturally. They give strength, light, nourishment, and healing.

The early Christians loved the sacrament of confirmation and called it by many poetic names: the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17-18), the seal of the Lord, the stamp of the Lord. These are all images of fatherly love for a child reaching maturity. It is as if, in confirming us, God imprints us with the signet of the family. St. Paul said: “But it is God Who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; He has put His seal upon us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (1 Cor 1:21).

“The essential rite of confirmation is the laying on of hands with anointing, accompanied by the words of the form” (CCC 1300), “Name, be sealed with the Holy Spirit.” The ordinary minister of confirmation is a bishop or a priest delegated by a bishop. (From Scott Hahn's Book, Swear to God)

Questions about Confirmation?