Confirmation

Preparing for Confirmation

History 

Scripture clearly testifies to the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian initiation. However, there is no record of a particular rite of confirmation.

Early Christians left no evidence about their specific understanding of a rite of confirmation. There is some testimony that the bishop used the same oil during the initiation rites (anointing with water and oil and sharing the Eucharist).

By the 5th century, the connection was made between anointing and the coming of the Holy Spirit. However, the anointing happened in conjunction with the water bath and the celebration of the Eucharist: the three rites of initiation.

As Christianity spread, the rites of initiation changed in different parts of the Church. In general, the Church in the West felt that the connection between the bishop and the anointing was more important than the sequence and connection between the sacraments of initiation. As a result, separate rites of baptism with water, confirmation and first Communion developed.

Theology

Confirmation is the second sacrament of initiation and it follows Baptism. It essentially consists of a prayer to call down the Holy Spirit and an anointing with sacred Chrism (oil).

Through this sacrament, Christians are given strength and promised the gifts of the Holy Spirit with which to live out their baptismal covenant.

Confirmation complements baptism and both lead to the Eucharist. The faithful are born anew in baptism, strengthened by confirmation and sustained by the Eucharist.