Parent Tips – May
This is Confirmation season for many families, and with this Sacrament often come questions and family discussions. Parents, grandparents, and Confirmation sponsors, if you’d like to ‘brush up’ on some of the fundamentals of what this Sacrament means and be better prepared to talk about its importance, then read more. Here are some common questions that you, your child, or other family members may have about Sacrament of Confirmation:
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is the final Sacrament of Initiation. Just like the apostles at Pentecost, through the anointing we are sealed and strengthened with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The YOUCAT says that, “moved by God’s Spirit, we can change the face of the earth” (#113).
How do I choose a Confirmation sponsor?
According to Canon Law, the role of a Confirmation Sponsor is to “take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament” (Canon 892).
Therefore, those to be confirmed should choose an adult who is a role model especially in their practice of their Catholic faith. On a more practical note, it’s also helpful if it’s an adult who is already a fixture in the life of the one to be confirmed and their family, like a relative or close family friend, so the sponsor will naturally continue to interact with and be a role model after the Sacrament is conferred. If you don’t know many adult Catholics, ask the Confirmation coordinator in your parish. They might know of adults who are willing and able to be sponsors.
How do I choose a Confirmation saint?
Scripture is full of examples of God changing the names of those He calls to great missions. Two that come to mind are: Abram became Abraham, (Genesis 17:5) and Saul became Paul (Acts 13:9).
When we are confirmed we are given the name of a Saint whose virtues and qualities we hope to imitate, and who we would like to pray for us. It can be tough to choose a Confirmation saint- there are 2,000 years of amazing examples to consider- but there is an exhaustive list of examples found here: Biggest and Best List of Confirmation Saints (for Guys and Girls) – LifeTeen.com for Catholic Youth. Remember, you will identify with lots of saints in your life. The Sacrament of Confirmation is a chance to ask one to pray for you, but you’ll have a lifetime to cultivate your friendship with the Saints, so pick one for now and know that there will be many more that inspire you in the future.
Should I be confirmed if I don’t feel ready?
If you don’t feel ready, you’re in good company! In the Book of Acts, we see the Apostles are still unsure of their mission, asking, “Lord at this time are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). They thought of Jesus as coming to bring about a new political regime, and after the Ascension they seemed unsure of their mission. They went to the upper room, to pray and wait, and when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were empowered to do things they were clearly unable to do before Pentecost. Their zeal for sharing Christ was so intense that people thought they were drunk! (Acts 2:15).
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us in the Sacrament of Confirmation regardless of how ready we feel. At any point in our lives we can choose to “stir into flame the gift of God that you have received” (2 Timothy 1:6) and exercise the power we’ve been given in this Sacrament.
Through prayer, reception of the Eucharist, regular Confession, and continued study of our faith, we can use the gifts that we receive in this powerful Sacrament. Don’t wait to “feel” ready for the Sacrament of Confirmation, trust that it is receiving the Sacrament that makes us ready to follow Christ and share him with all we encounter!