"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit." - Acts of the Apostles 8:14-17
Confirmation is the Sacrament that graces one with the Holy Spirit. The rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead with the oil of chrism, together with the laying on of the Presider's hands and the words, "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit."
The recipient receives the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3) and may receive one or more of the charismatic gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
The ecclesial effect and sacramental grace of the sacrament gives the recipient the strength and character to witness for Jesus.
At St. Mary’s, there are two programmes of preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation, depending on the age of the person being confirmed:
Confirmation of Children
The policy in the Auckland Diocese is that children receive the sacrament of Confirmation before receiving First Communion. At St. Mary’s, parents who wish to have a child confirmed need to attend a number of preparation sessions with the child. As part of the Sacramental programme the child will receive the sacrament of First Reconciliation. Confirmation and First Communion preparation usually takes place during the Easter season with the celebration of both Confirmation and First Communion occurring around the weekend of the Body and Blood of our Lord. Keep an eye on the Parish newsletters for the dates of the next session. Contact the parish office for further information.
Confirmation of Adults
The RCIA programme is a wonderful series of steps that can lead an adult to participation in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (Communion).
The Celebration of Confirmation
Regardless of the person’s age, the blessed sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated as follows:
|Those who are being confirmed, their families, friends and the church community gather together.
|Words of welcome are exchanged and all present unite in the opening prayers.
|Everyone present listens to the Word of God read from Scripture.
|All present renew their own baptismal vows.
|A prayer is offered, calling on the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Bishop then lays his hands on the head of each candidate.
|The sponsors each present their candidate to the Bishop giving their candidate’s chosen confirmation name.
|Oil of Chrism
|Each candidate is then anointed by the Bishop with Oil of Chrism, calling them by their chosen name, to be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
|Prayers are then offered for all present, for the Church and for men and women.
|The celebration of the Eucharist may follow.