YEAR OF FAITH - The Sacraments of Initiation (2) Confirmation
Post date: Jun 21, 2013 12:49:38 PM
The Sacrament of Confirmation completes our Baptism. It gives us special gifts from the Holy Spirit through whom we are strengthened, empowered, filled with joy, made into true witnesses to Christ, and enabled to become ambassadors of our Faith to the outside world.
In the early days of the Church, there was no separation of Baptism and Confirmation. Immediately after the new Christian emerged from the Baptismal bath and put on their white garment, the Bishop would lay his hands on them and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen them and give them His gifts. It was only when infant Baptism became normal; and converts started to be received in larger numbers that it made sense for Baptism and Confirmation to be separated in the Western Church. The Bishop would travel around his diocese, just as today, and confirm the people who had already been baptised by their local priest or deacon. The Eastern Church still has the custom for everyone, including infants, to receive the
Sacrament of Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist immediately after Baptism.
Whenever Confirmation is separated from Baptism, it is necessary for those receiving the Sacrament to renew their Baptismal promises, and make their own declaration of faith. As well as the laying on of hands, the person being confirmed is anointed with oil of chrism, which has been consecrated by the Bishop at the special chrism Mass during Holy Week. This symbolises that they are marked, or sealed, as a Christian. The celebration of Confirmation always takes place during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Mass, which emphasises the unity of the three Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist; and their importance in our lives.
The St Hugh’s Year of Faith discussion group will take a break during July & August,
meeting again on Saturday, 21st September. If you would like to view Bishop Malcolm’s short videos for yourself, please log into
www.nottingham-diocese.org.uk. Click on the icon for the Year of Faith, and then “VIDEOS.”