Frequently Asked Questions
Can I delay Confirmation for my son/ daughter if I do not think he/she is ready or should I force him/her into receiving Confirmation now?
We can introduce youth to the catechesis of Confirmation at any age, but always stressing that the decision to actually receive the sacrament belongs to the person. At St. Joseph/St. Raphael, 8th grade is the first opportunity for most young people to be confirmed. A candidate can come back at any point after that initial invitation to receive the sacrament. Candidates are not to be pressured to receive the sacrament. However, the decision to delay should be made only after much thought and consultation. Fr. Bill, Deacon Norm or John, Patty and Lisa are all willing to help you and your son/ daughter try to decide what is best. The decision should not be based on whether or not the candidate is a mature Christian, but whether he/she is ready to freely accept the call to become a mature believer.
What if my child has special needs/disabilities?
When we consider the condition of a learning disability or special needs we must realize that it does not prevent a person from being a witness to the good news of Jesus. Everyone should also be made aware of their responsibility to share their gifts with the community no matter their abilities. A positive outcome of this may be to break down the patronizing attitudes towards those with special needs. Persons with severe disabilities may provide a most powerful witness by their presence as well as the gifts and dedication that they call forth from others, particularly parents and family members. Please make us aware of any mobility problems that might hinder the candidate from going up steps to the stage at the Kuss. Other arrangements are available at the Kuss that would avoid steps.
A sponsor can make an enormous difference in the preparation of a candidate for the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is important, therefore , that the candidates are encouraged to choose sponsors who are well suited to the role and who will be integral to the preparation process. This is one reason that we ask you to begin to look at sponsors in the 6th grade. Sponsors chosen early can be supportive during these years of preparation. The church encourages candidates to first look at their godparents as a possible choice for your sponsor. Your sponsor should be someone that you are comfortable with so that they can be a support to you throughout your life. When choosing a sponsor they must be: 17 years of age or older, be fully initiated in the Catholic Church(received, Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation), live a life of faith, not be the parent, and not be bound by any other canonical restrictions. (Code of Canon Law 893)
Is it necessary to choose another name for Confirmation?
When Baptism and Confirmation were celebrated together a new name was chosen to indicate that this person was no longer the same, but had assumed a new Christian lifestyle. In order to show the unity between Baptism and Confirmation, the baptismal name should be the first choice for a candidate’s Confirmation name. Although this has been the teaching for at least 20 years, it is a change from when many of us were encouraged to choose another saint’s name. If a candidate chooses a different saint’s name than his/her baptismal name it should be out of devotion to that particular saint or to honor someone he/she is close to. We ask the candidates even as 6th and 7th grade students to make their choice of a Confirmation name; with the understanding that as their preparation continues they may change their mind. We want to encourage the students to take this time to seriously consider this choice and research the name they have chosen.
Is there a dress code at the time of the Confirmation Mass?
There definitely is appropriate dress for the Confirmation celebration. Since this is an important occasion in the life of each candidate they are asked to dress up for the ceremony. Female candidates are asked to wear dresses or skirts of appropriate length or dress pants. Males should wear dress slacks a dress shirt and tie. A sweater or suit jacket may also be worn but is not mandatory. Dress shoes should be worn by all. Girls- please be aware that the stage is slippery. Do not wear heels if you are not used to walking in heels. Lastly, although we encourage the candidates to dress in a special way, this is not a prom or homecoming.
What does Confirmation Do?
Through the sacrament of Confirmation, those who have been born anew in Baptism celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and are bound more intimately to the Church. This sacrament conforms believers more perfectly to Christ and strengthens them so they may bear witness to Christ for the building up of His Body in faith and love.
Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments of the Church, and more specifically, one of the three sacraments of Initiation into the Church. Those who have been baptized continue on the path of Christian initiation through this sacrament. We are reminded of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent upon the Apostles to strengthen them for their mission. Later in the New Testament we see the apostles lay hands on the newly converted. Eventually bishops used oil to anoint those who had been washed in the waters of baptism. It was not until the Middle Ages, however, that the ritual action became definitely separated from baptism. In essence the bishop was confirming the baptism since it was not possible for him to baptize all that were coming to the Church. Today, Confirmation is offered to children above the age of reason, which is 7 years old, if the child is entering the Church at that time. Adults, participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) also receive Baptism and Confirmation at the same time. Typically children who have been baptized as infants receive Confirmation some time during adolescence.
Does Confirmation mean that my child is an adult in the Church?
The sacrament of Confirmation does not make a Christian more mature, but calls the one confirmed to greater maturity. Growth toward Christian maturity is a life-long process and the Holy Spirit makes this growth possible. Confirmation does not make us perfect Christians nor does the completion of the candidate’s preparation for this sacrament complete the education necessary for continued growth as a maturing Christian Religion. Confirmation is not a graduation from religious education. Being a believer is not primarily learning a set body of knowledge, but rather being in a relationship with our God. Religious education during the teen years is simply a preparation for ongoing education during adulthood. Continuing religious education is needed to respond to God’s call to live as effective Christian witnesses in the world. We are constantly being formed by the world around us, it is important to continue our formation in the faith not only in high school but also throughout our lives.
What is the anointing all about?
Christ was king, priest and prophet. Anointing is a sign of initiation into these roles. As followers of Christ we become united with Him and are called to live as king, priest and prophet. Therefore we are anointed with Holy Chrism on the forehead. Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam blessed by the bishop during Holy Week. Candidates are instructed not to wipe off the oil but let it soak into their skin as a sign of their acceptance of these roles.