The Truth about Confirmation – EpicPew

The Truth about Confirmation

It’s Confirmation season, or so it seems. Religious education directors everywhere are scrambling to finalize details on sacramental preparation. In the backs of their minds, they’re hoping for some reprieve before the next cycle of planning and organizing begins. (We know that hardly exists, especially with First Communions and early registration happening.)

While we let the RE Directors work that out, let’s clear up some misconceptions about the sacrament.

Confirmation is NOT CCD graduation

Perhaps you’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating. Confirmation is not CCD graduation. It’s a sacrament of the Church and more importantly a rite of initiation, and therefore an event at the beginning—not the end—of one’s chapter in life.

“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.” (CCC 1285)

Confirmation is about continuing a spiritual journey which began with Baptism. Since, in the Latin rite, the Sacrament is conferred upon someone of the age of reason (CCC 1307), it often marks the end of religious education (or CCD). This gives way to the idea that it’s “graduation from CCD.” Yet, since it’s a rite of initiation, it actually signifies the start of one’s journey as a Catholic. This person has become fully initiated in the Catholic Church, receiving the opportunity for the fullness of graces.

Saint names are Bgneficial

It is beneficial to have a special devotion and a spiritual role model on your journey to sainthood. The practice came about to give one a saint to model after (Catholic Answers). After all, we know the saints hear our prayers and pray on our behalf. So, who better to have in your prayer list than a friend in heaven who sees and prays from a better position than us on earth?

Now, in some parishes, the idea of taking a Confirmation name from a grandparent or loved one instead of a saint (or one’s Baptismal name) has gained traction. Grandparents’ names are often used signifying their influence on young people who are still figuring out their faith. Since the catechism doesn’t expressly define rules here, this is permissible and quite an honor to said grandparents.

All that said, this catechist must emphasize that no matter the name chosen, Confirmandi would be remiss if they didn’t additionally choose a saint to model in their journey. Choose a couple if you like. Increase your prayer life and devotion, asking those saints to pray for you. This world is messy. We could all benefit from having an army in heaven praying for us.

Confirmation doesn’t have to be in high school

This is a two-part point, and heavily leaning on the Latin rite.

One, Confirmation happens at the age of reason. There is no further definition by specific age, grade, or maturity. The Catechism tells us, “We must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth” (CCC 1308). Therefore, the candidate need not be as old as a high schooler, so long as he or she has reached the age of reason. (Which is generally age seven.) In fact, many parishes are lowering their Confirmation class from tenth to eighth grade.

This might concern some who feel a teen isn’t ready for Confirmation or doesn’t fully understand the Sacrament. But the Catechism (in 1308) goes on to remind us to not “forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need ‘ratification’ to become effective.”

So, a soul must be of the age of reason, a willing participant, but need not be in full understanding. The candidate must be willing because, once at the age of reason, that person must renew the baptismal vows. If saying such things are a lie, they are a sin and this person is not in a state of grace. Therefore, the person must be willing to at the very least intend to be faithful.

That was all the first part; the second part is shorter.

Should a teen refuse, feel unwilling (CCC 1319) to state the baptismal vows honestly, or not be in a state of grace, then he or she may defer to a later time in life. This is not optimal as their baptism is not complete, but sometimes conflict occurs preventing the reception of sacraments.

Parents, continue to pray for your children. Encourage them to come home to the Catholic faith. Lead by example. There’s so many resources on this topic. In any case, adults are free to go through the process of receiving Confirmation. There’s no age limit, so any time a person feels willing to come into the faith, seek a priest, and renew that journey right away.

Confirmation is the completion of Baptism in the Catholic faith. It’s available to all through a process of catechesis and evangelization (CCC 1309). Confirmation is not the end of one’s faith journey. Every effort must be made to complete the process. Our very souls rely on the grace of God for salvation. As we continue our faith journeys and work to inspire others, let’s make sure we know enough about our faith to teach the sacraments in line with the Catechism.

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