“When the day of Pentecost came it found them gathered in one place. Suddenly from up in the sky there came a noise like a strong, driving wind which was heard all through the house where they were seated. Tongues of fire appeared, which parted and came to rest on each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:1-4)
The purpose of the sacrament of Confirmation is to strengthen the individual in the Holy Spirit, empowering him or her to act more strongly as a witness to Christ’s Gospel. During this sacrament, the Bishop (or his delegate) anoints the candidates with oil and confers upon them the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Preparation for Confirmation involves a three year period of reflection and deeper immersion into one’s relationship with Christ and the Church. Beginning in ninth grade, those interested in receiving the sacrament are asked to open themselves to more opportunities to explore their membership in the Church through study, Youth Ministry events, retreats, service projects, and mentoring with parents, their sponsors, and their catechists and pastor. Conferring of the sacrament takes place in the eleventh grade. A minimum of two years enrollment in a Catholic School or Parish School of Religion is a prerequisite for entering preparation, and attendance in a formal religious education program must continue during the ninth through eleventh grade.
In order to be confirmed, a person must be able to renew their baptismal promises, participate regularly in the Celebration of the Eucharist, be free from serious sin, and present a reasonable indication of intention to live out the Catholic faith. Rather than a completion of tasks to “earn” the sacrament, Confirmation preparation activities and works are meant to provide the environment for one to examine their faith and lifestyle and come to the realization that receiving the sacrament of Confirmation is not an ending of a program or graduation from a course but is an experience of growth and commitment to one’s faith.