Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence, they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285
In the Rite of Confirmation, the Bishop (or a Priest who represents the Bishop) extends his hands over you and asks the Holy Spirit to come to you with seven special graces, or gifts: wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, knowledge, reverence, and wonder & awe.
“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For he had not yet fallen upon any of them; They had had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.”
– Acts 8:14-17
In Baptism, parents and godparents promised that the child would be raised in the faith. They professed their faith on behalf of the child. In Confirmation the candidates will renew their Baptismal promises themselves. Candidates will choose a sponsor who will stand with them as they are presented to the Bishop for Confirmation.
The Church encourages that one of the Baptismal Godparents serve as a sponsor for Confirmation because this expresses the link between the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. A good sponsor is someone who has been close to the candidate (someone other than a parent) and supportive throughout life. The sponsor must have been Baptized Catholic, receive Holy Communion regularly, and have been confirmed. They must be at least 16 years old, and a good role model of the Catholic faith. If they are married, they must have received the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic faith.
Confirmation is the sacrament whereby God completes the graces of a person’s baptism and deepens His seal within them, marking them as belonging to Him (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13-14). When received within a life of faith, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through confirmation empowers us to live the Christian life. It is not a person’s “adult choice to be Catholic”, rather it is God who chooses us, and we can then choose Him day by day.
1. What is the age for Confirmation in the Archdiocese of Denver?
Confirmation requires two years of preparation in the second and third grades. First Reconciliation occurs in second grade. Confirmation and First Communion are received together in third grade.
2. Are third graders old enough for Confirmation?
Confirmation is a gift of God’s grace, increasing the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life. Some have mistakenly held that Confirmation means choosing to become an adult in the Church. Rather, Confirmation completes the graces given at Baptism and can be given at any time (if there is a risk of death), though age seven through sixteen is the range in the United States.
3. What do children have to know to be Confirmed?
The Archbishop has set a number of objectives for preparation for Confirmation and First Communion: http://saintsdenver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/sacramentprepobjectives.pdf
4. Where can parishes find a curriculum for Restored Order Confirmation?
The Archdiocese of Denver has provided a curriculum for 2nd and 3rd grades at www.saintsdenver.com.
5. What if parents want Confirmation and First Communion at a different age for their child?
If a parent has a just cause for requesting Confirmation and First Communion at another age, they should speak with the pastor. If the age is younger than third grade, the pastor will need to send a letter to the Archbishop’s office.
6. What if a child missed Confirmation in third grade and is already baptized?
The parents should speak with the pastor and/or catechetical leaders of the parish to arrange for preparation.
7. How are adults and children who have not been baptized prepared for Confirmation?
Adults and children older than seven are prepared for baptism and confirmation together through the Rites of Initiation.
8. What are the requirements for sponsors?
The Code of Canon Law stipulates requirements for sponsors. Speaking of Confirmation sponsors, it states:
- Can. 892 Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament.
- Can. 893 §1. To perform the function of sponsor, a person must fulfill the conditions mentioned in can. 874. (see below)
- 2. It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism.
The following requirements apply to both godparents for Baptism and Confirmation sponsors:
- Can. 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:
- 1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;
- 2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;
- 3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;
- 4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;
- 5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.
- 2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.
If a sponsor cannot attend the Confirmation is it permissible to use a proxy? Yes.
9. What are the requirements for a Confirmation name?
Taking a Confirmation name is a pious practice. It is not required unless one did not take a Christian name at Baptism. The name should be that of a saint and be of the same gender as the candidate.
10. Can a parish hold First Communion before Confirmation?
No. All parishes must transition to Restored Order Confirmation by 2020.
11. Can parents provide sacramental preparation through homeschooling?
Parents interested in homeschooling should discuss this possibility with their parish.