Just as bodies and minds grow, Catholics believe that the soul also needs to grow in the life of grace. The sacrament of Confirmation builds on the sacraments of Baptism, Penance, and Holy Communion, completing the process of initiation into the Catholic community.
Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments through which Catholics pass in the process of their religious upbringing and establishes young adults as full-fledged members of the faith. According to Catholic doctrine, in this sacrament they are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and are strengthened in their Christian life.
During Confirmation, the focus is on the Holy Spirit, who confirmed the apostles on Pentecost and gave them courage to practice their faith. Catholics believe that the same Holy Spirit confirms Catholics during the Sacrament of Confirmation and gives them the same gifts. By Confirmation they are enriched with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and are more closely linked to the Catholic Church. They are made strong soldiers of Christ, and so they are more firmly obliged by word and deed to be faithful witnesses of Christ, spreading and defending the Catholic faith.
During our Baptism, our parents and godparents make promises to renounce Satan and believe in God and the Church on our behalf. At Confirmation, we renew those same promises, this time speaking for ourselves. The sacrament is customarily conferred only on people old enough to understand it, and the ordinary minister of Confirmation is a bishop. Only for a serious reason may the diocesan bishop delegate a priest to administer the sacrament. However, a priest may confer the sacrament when he baptizes someone who is no longer an infant or admits a person already baptized to full communion with the Catholic Church, or if the person (adult or child) to be confirmed is in danger of death. Priests typically administer the sacrament during the Easter Vigil Mass to adults becoming members of the Catholic Church. It is the conclusion of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. Priests customarily ask for and are granted permission for this occasion.
Traditionally, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude (courage), knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts are supernatural graces given to the soul. The 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, Self-control, and chastity — human qualities that can be activated by the Holy Spirit.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Wisdom: The ability to see ourselves and others as God sees us.
Understanding: The ability to understand more about God and the larger mysteries of life.
Council: The gift of using our free will to do God's will and to make good moral decisions. (Also sometimes called "right judgment.")
Fortitude: The courage to face our fears and to stand up and defend our faith.
Knowledge: To know God and to see the uniqueness of each other as creations of God.
Piety: Reverence for all God's creations. Approaching life with reverence means we care and have concern for ourselves, others, and the world - including the environment.
Fear of the Lord: A better understanding of awe and wonder in God's presence. It helps us see God in the enormity of the world and in our small presence within it.
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Charity: Our unselfish devotion and care for God and our neighbor.
Joy: We recognize that true happiness comes from knowing and following Christ.
Peace: The inner peace we experience with God in our hearts. We work and pray for peace throughout the world.
Patience: We treat others with thoughtfulness and tolerance.
Kindness: We treat others as we want to be treated.
Goodness: We honor God by avoiding sin and always trying to do what we know is right.
Generosity: We share our gifts and possessions with others.
Gentleness: We act calmly and avoid actions that might lead others to anger or resentment.
Faithfulness: We live out our commitment to the teachings of Jesus, the Scriptures, and the Catholic Church.
Modesty: We exhibit modesty by being pure in our thoughts, words, and dress.
Self-control: We work to overcome the temptations we face and by trying always to do God’s will.
Chastity: We use the gift of sexuality wisely, according to God’s plan.
RECEIVING THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
In the Diocese of Nelson, the Sacrament of Confirmation is administered in grade 7.
Preparation for this Sacrament begins in first grade. For children attending grade 7 and higher, we are happy to prepare you to receive the sacrament.