I thank you.
I thank you for your loving Christian witness to your children.
I thank you for being the primary faith formation teacher in their lives.
I thank you for allowing St. Martha’s to join you and your child on this journey.
As such, it is imperative that you carefully read the following information regarding the
Sacrament of Confirmation
. After you have finished, there is a link to a verification document that you will need to print out and bring with you to the orientation meeting.
Once again, thank you for all that you do as parents!
Associate Director of Adolescent Faith Formation
Part I. | Part II. | Part III.
Part I. Qualifications of Candidates
- “One must be baptized to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. In addition, if the baptized person has the use of reason, it is required that he/she be in a state of grace, properly instructed and able to renew his/her baptismal promises.”
(Rite of Confirmation Introduction #12)
- “The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time; their parents and shepherds of souls, especially pastors, are to see to it that the faithful are properly instructed to receive it an approach the sacrament at the appropriate time.”
(Code of Canon Law #890)
- “Lay persons are bound by the obligation and possess the right to acquire a knowledge of Christian doctrine adapted to their capacity and condition so that they can live in accord with that doctrine, announce it, defend it when necessary and be enabled to assume their role in exercising the apostolate.”
(Code of Canon Law #229)
- “Persons who because of developmental or mental disabilities are encouraged either directly or, through their parents or guardian, to receive the sacrament of Confirmation.”
(USCCB Guidelines, #16, 1995)
The Archbishop has established the 10
grade as the specific period of time for preparation and reception for the Sacrament of Confirmation. It must be understood that not all young people mature and develop at the same rate in their moral, faith, or intellectual development. Different people possess differing degrees in their understanding, appreciation, and response to God’s love. Confirmation models for this Archdiocese are constructed to address adolescent candidates who are in these grades.
Each baptized Catholic has the right and the obligation to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, but the candidate has the responsibility to personally choose to complete initiation into the faith life of the Church. The candidate may request the Sacrament if he/she:
Part II. Community Involvement
- is baptized and able to renew baptismal promises unless a grave reason suggests otherwise
- exhibits an active faith life and knowledge of the Church
- participates in the sacramental life of the Church, especially Eucharistic liturgies
- is willing to commit to active involvement in the parish Confirmation catechesis
- is willing to respond to the call of active ministry
- is willing to continue to learn and grow in faith following Confirmation and throughout his/her lifetime
- has no impediment to full-communion [e.g. has not notoriously rejected the Catholic faith by joining another denomination or non-Christian faith; if married, is in a marriage recognized as valid by the Catholic Church]
- “The parish is the living and permanent environment for growth in the faith.”
(General Directory for Catechesis #158)
- “Sacramental catechesis is intended for all members of the Christian community, takes place within the community, and involves the whole community of faith.”
(National Directory for Catechesis #35B)
- “It is the responsibility of the people of God to prepare the baptized for Confirmation. It is the responsibility of the pastors to see that all the baptized come to the fullness of Christian Initiation and are carefully prepared for Confirmation.”
(Rite of Confirmation, Introduction #3)
- “Ordinarily there should be a sponsor for each of those to be confirmed. The sponsor brings the candidate to receive the sacrament, presents him/her to the minister for the anointing, and will later help him/her baptismal promises faithfully under the influence of the Holy Spirit.”
(Rite of Confirmation, Introduction #5)
- “The sponsor’s function is to take care that the person confirmed behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the duties of this sacrament.”
(Code of Canon Law #892)
PARISH READINESS FOR IMMEDIATE CONFIRMATION FORMATION
In light of the GDC’s  emphasis that the entire Christian community is responsible for initiating the candidate into the Christian way of life, it is critical that the community discerns how well it is prepared for this task before engaging the Confirmation candidate in sacramental formation. The following questions serve to encourage each parish to reflect upon its own faithful witness to Christian discipleship before inviting young people into sacramental preparation for Confirmation.
PARISH EXAMINATION TO DETERMINE ITS READINESS
FOR IMMEDIATE FORMATION WITH CONFIRMATION CANDIDATES
1. What do we want to happen to our candidates as a result of their participation in this catechesis? How is our faith community prepared to involve fully initiated adolescents in parish life?
2. What are our goals? Are these realistic in the light of the age and abilities of the candidates? Are persons with disabilities encouraged to receive the sacrament of Confirmation no matter what their physical or mental ability?
3. Do our young people feel welcomed in the parish and at the Sunday Masses? How are their spiritual needs met?
4. How is the faith of the parents and adults fostered? What is the quality of their faith as witnessed to youth?
5. What are the specific strengths, needs, issues and problems which affect the religious formation of youth? Are the culture and values of youth considered?
6. What is the understanding of catechesis and youth ministry on the part of those persons responsible for this ministry?
7. How are the leadership skills of youth developed? Are there opportunities for them to perform meaningful roles within the parish?
8. Is our overall catechetical program strong enough that our Confirmation catechesis can concentrate on actual spiritual formation for the sacrament?
9. How does the schedule fit with home, school and other parish activities?
10. How are we, as a community of faith, inviting, guiding, encouraging, and mentoring the young person with his or her unique gifts and talents into the life of this parish community?
11. What kind of time and resources are we, as adults, willing to share with these candidates?
12. How are we witnessing to the Christian way of life by our own ongoing formation and example? That is, how can each of us fully initiated members of this parish community be sign and symbol to generate and incarnate the fire of Pentecost in this faith community?
13. How do we as a community reflect Christ’s example of charity, service, and justice to our marginalized brothers and sisters?
14. How do we express and celebrate our joys, our losses, our faithfulness, and our need for forgiveness with each other from our faith traditions? Do we insist that what was good enough for us as children should be the same thing given to our children or are we open to modifying the expressions of values and traditions which reflect the contemporary symbols and hopes of the candidates?
15. How can we pass on stories of faith, traditions, values to candidates in ways that honor and respect their generation’s unique contributions to the community of faith?
16. How are we a people of prayer?
17. How do we share our resources with each other [our time, talents, and treasures]?
18. How do we personalize our beliefs, values, and faith traditions in everyday life?
19. How comfortable are we at sharing who Jesus and the Church are for us with our young people?
20. How committed are we ourselves to the same things that we are asking of our young people?
Part III. Catechesis
A. General Principles for Sacramental Catechesis [NDC, #35, B]
- “Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the ‘sacraments of 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.”
(The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1285)
- “Catechesis is that particular form of the ministry of the word which matures initial conversion to make it living, explicit and fruitful confession of faith.”
(General Directory for Catechesis #82)
- “Christian initiation is celebrated in Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, and Eucharist. These sacraments are efficacious signs of God’s love and stages of a person’s journey toward communion with the Trinity.”
(National Directory for Catechesis #36)
- “In accord with the norms established by the diocesan bishop, the pastor is to make particular provision: that children are properly prepared for the reception of the sacraments of Penance and Most Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of Confirmation by means of a catechetical formation given over an appropriate period of time.”
(Code of Canon Law #777)
- “Every Christian community considers those who suffer…forms of disability – especially children – as persons particularly beloved of the Lord. The love of the father for the weakest of his children and the continuous presence of Jesus and His Spirit give assurance that every person, however limited, is capable of growth in holiness.”
- “Education in the faith… calls for personalized and adequate programs. Particular demands of catechesis for special situations, mentalities, and environments requires a special competence from catechists.”(General Directory for Catechesis #189)
The National Directory for Catechesis [NDC, 2005] developed by the USCCB provides the guiding catechetical framework for the Catholic Church in the United States.
Dioceses and parishes should present sacramental catechesis that
B. Confirmation Catechesis [CCC #1285]
Preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation
- Is a comprehensive and systematic formation in the faith, one that integrates knowledge of the faith with living that faith
- Is fundamentally Trinitarian and centers on initiation into the life of the Triune God
- Presents Christian life as a lifelong journey to the Father in the Son and through the Holy Spirit
- Is appropriate to the age level, maturity, and circumstances of those being catechized
- Is intended for all members of the Christian community, takes place within the community, and involves the whole community of faith
- Involves parents in the preparation of their children for the sacraments
- Is integrated into a comprehensive catechetical program
- Focuses primarily on the symbols, rituals, and prayers contained in the rite for each sacrament
- Enables the believer to reflect on the meaning of the sacrament received by implementing a thorough experience of mystagogia following the celebration
is grounded in the Church’s understanding that 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.
C. Sacramental Catechesis for Confirmation [NDC, #36, A.2]
Dioceses and parishes should present catechesis for the Sacrament of Confirmation that
- Teaches that Confirmation increases and deepens the grace of baptism, imprinting an indelible character on the soul
- Teaches that Confirmation strengthens the baptismal conferral of the Holy Spirit on those confirmed in order to incorporate them more firmly in Christ, strengthen their bond with the Church, associate them more closely with the Church’s mission, increase in them the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and help them bear witness to the Christian faith in words and deeds
- Teaches about the role of the Holy Spirit, his gifts, and his fruits
Is developmentally appropriate and includes retreat experiences
- Includes instruction on the Rite of Confirmation and its basic symbols: the imposition of hands, the anointing with Sacred Chrism, and the words of the sacramental formula
- Ensures that parents and sponsors are involved in the catechetical preparation of the children for Confirmation
- Teaches that the bishop is the ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation (in the Eastern Churches, however, the priest is the ordinary minister of Chrismation)
D. Canons on Catechesis from Canon Law
The following canons establish the ecclesial authority for catechetics in the Church. Specific canons for Confirmation are included throughout the Guidelines.
CONFIRMATION VERIFICATION DOCUMENT
- There is a proper and serious duty, especially on the part of pastors souls, to provide for the catechesis of the Christian people so that the faith of the faithful becomes living, explicit and productive through formation in doctrine and the experience of Christian living [Canon 773].
- While observing the prescriptions of the Apostolic See it is the responsibility of the diocesan bishop to issue norms concerning catechetics and to make provision that suitable instruments for catechesis are available, even by preparing a catechism, if such seems appropriate, and by fostering and coordinating catechetical endeavors [Canon 775].
- In accordance with the norms established by the diocesan bishop, the pastor is to make particular provision that the faith of young people and adults be fortified, enlightened and developed though various means and endeavors [Canon 777].
- Catechetical formation is to be given by employing all those helps, teaching aids and communication media which appear to be more effective in enabling the faithful in light of their characteristics, talents, age and conditions of life, to learn the Catholic teaching more fully and practice it more suitably [Canon 779].
- Local ordinaries are to see to it that catechists are duly prepared to fulfill their tasks correctly, namely that continuing formation is made available to them, that they acquire a proper knowledge of the Church’s teaching, and that they learn in theory and in practice the norms proper to the pedagogical disciples .
Click on the link above to download.
Please print, sign, and bring this document to the orientation meeting.