This is a brief introduction to the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Parish of St Mary’s, Great Yarmouth. The following questions will be answered.
Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace.
It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;
It unites us more firmly to Christ; it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
It renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross
(Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Confirmation is thus closely linked with Baptism. The one distinctive aspect of the four characteristics mentioned above is the last. Confirmation makes us witnesses of Christ. One way of looking at it is to say that baptism transforms us, making us a new creation. Confirmation makes that public, so that we, in the power of the Spirit, might transform the world.
In the early church Confirmation was administered at the same time as Baptism, usually by the Bishop and usually to adults. With the growth of infant baptism the priest would baptise the infant, and that baptism would be confirmed by the Bishop when he next visited. Our current practice has grown out of this. By having the Bishop administer Confirmation we are reminded of our connection with the wider church.
In the diocese of East Anglia the normal minimum age for Confirmation is school year 10 (14/15 years old). This is seen as an appropriate age for the young people to take on responsibility for their own Catholic faith and to accept the responsibility of being witnesses to Christ. However it is the young people themselves who make a choice. Family and parish have a duty to encourage and support them, but the decision must be theirs.
Young people are confirmed each year at time convenient to the bishop. Prior to this they participate in a preparation course which begins in the previous autumn. Full participation in the course is essential.
The course is designed to help the candidates reflect on the meaning of their Catholic faith for their lives and how their faith affects their moral decisions and life choices. They will also explore how the power of the Holy Spirit can transform their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Details of the course and application are published annually. The candidates meet regularly throughout the year.
Students at Notre Dame High School will have the advantage of having studied Confirmation as part of their Religious Education Programme in year nine, and this basic background is presumed for the course. Parents of children at non-catholic schools should consider providing their child with some preparatory material so that their child will be able to decide if he or she wishes to join the Confirmation course.
Not in England and Wales. The Church strongly recommends that those to be married should be confirmed. However the Church also states that Confirmation should be chosen in its own right, and not merely as a preparation for another sacrament. However in some countries, e.g. Italy, Confirmation is normally required before being married in a Catholic Church.
If you are a regular worshipper in the parish but for some reason ‘missed the boat’ when you were younger and have yet to be confirmed, we would encourage you to seek this important sacrament. You may also be planning to get married in a country which requires you to be confirmed first. In either of these cases you need to approach the parish team about adult confirmation.
Adults seeking Confirmation normally join the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This is a relatively open process, meeting regularly to discuss aspects of the Catholic faith with parishioners and others who are seeking to be baptised or to join the Church. Please speak to the parish clergy. Adult Confirmation usually takes place at Walsingham at Pentecost
Anybody seeking to become a Catholic who has been baptised in another denomination will usually need to be confirmed when they are received.
To enquire further about adult Confirmation contact the parish office