Frequently Asked Questions
Who has time for Confirmation?
No one does. Living in a world where our teens are constantly pressed for time, involving themselves in sports, music, drama, getting ready for college, etc., it seems difficult to think that you could squeeze in one more thing. But actually, Confirmation isn’t just one more thing. Confirmation actually can help us to make sense of our hectic lives. Instead of being “one more thing,” it is in a category all by itself and one that helps to balance all of the other pieces. Everyone is busy – and we all have to make choices and decide what is most important in our lives, as faithful Catholics, we believe that growing in our faith with God should be a top priority.
What is Confirmation and why should I get Confirmed?
- Is one of the initiation Sacraments, completing your initiation into the church
- Strengthens the Spirit that was given to you at Baptism, at Baptism you were anointed as chosen and now Confirmation strengthens your Baptism
- Unites us more firmly to Christ
- Increases the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in us
- Bonds us closer with the church
- Gives us strength to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses to Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly and to never be ashamed of the cross
- Confirmation is not
- Choosing to be Catholic, you’re already Catholic
- The end of your faith journey or your graduation
No one can force you to be Confirmed – it must be something that you choose for yourself. In Confirmation, God is asking you to let Him complete the work He started at Baptism, to seal you in His spirit and let the Gifts of the Holy Spirit fully manifest themselves in and through you. And while it is a choice, because of what God is offering you, Confirmation is much more of a gift to be received – The choice comes in deciding whether or not to receive it.
How did Confirmation get started and where are we now?
“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Act 8:14-16
- Jesus sent the Spirit to the Apostles at Pentecost
- The Apostles spread the Word of God, baptized people and imparted the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.
- Baptism and Confirmation are linked as initiation Sacraments for people coming into the church, and you will renew your Baptismal promises at your Confirmation.
- Confirmation solidifies the connection between the 3 initiation Sacraments
Why are people Confirmed at different ages depending on where they live?
Canon law says people can get Confirmed at the Age of Discretion, which is known as 7. It also allows Bishops in each country to decide at what age they want to Confirm. And then in the US and Canada, each Bishop can set the age he considers best for his diocese. We require that candidates be 16 years of age or older at the time of Confirmation.
What can I do to make preparation for Confirmation a more worthwhile experience?
The single most important thing you can do for yourself in this process is to be open to it. Some of us come to Confirmation on our own, many at the urging of our parents or because it is what we think we are supposed to do as young Catholic. However you get here, know that if you enter the process with an open mind and HEART, that God will do amazing things for and with you in the months to come. Trust your parents, your parish, your sponsor and God. This is part of your faith journey.
What do I have to do to get ready for Confirmation and how long does it take?
At the informational meeting, you will recieve a schedule of the MANDATORY sessions and other requirements of the program. Some dioceses require 2 years of Confirmation preparation; ours requires a minimum of 6 sessions. At Holy Family, the program lasts from October through May, with a total of 9 sessions, other faith formation activites and 1 weekend retreat, a reconciliation service, rehearsal, and Mass.
I’ve been attending religion classes or going to Catholic school since I was 6… what else is there for me to learn?
There is always something more for you to learn and you learn and experience differently at every age. The way that you will learn and discuss your faith at the age of 16 or 17 will be considerably different from the way you did at the age of 6, or 12 or even just last year. You will encounter new topics, regardless of how much you know. But the more important thing to remember is that Confirmation is all about the transformation of the heart, not stockpiling facts.
Do I have to do service projects for Confirmation?
This year, we are asking that you participate in 2 of 3 “Service Saturday” events with the Confirmation class. More information and dates for these events are available on the main Confirmation page!
Do I have to choose a Confirmation name?
It’s up to you! In the Bible, conversion is often symbolized by a name change. While your parents gave you a name at Baptism to symbolize your new life in Christ, you can choose a symbolic name at Confirmation. However, you should choose a name because you admire some quality of the Saint, not just because you don’t like your name or just like the Saint’s name!
Will I have to go to confession? I haven’t gone in years, what will the priest think?
We do ask that you go to reconciliation as part of the process of preparing yourself to receive the Sacrament. One of the requirements of the Church to receive the Sacrament is that you be in a “state of grace” – which means you are free from all serious sin. If you have not been to Confession in a long time, don’t worry about it! It is never too late to come back to the Sacrament – and the priest will be more than okay with it, he’ll be excited that you’re there!
Do I have to go on a retreat – what will it be like?
You are required through this process to go on our Confirmation Retreat at Camp Brotherhood at Mt. Vernon. This is a time to get away from everything and focus on your faith. It is a time of learning and growth and is usually one of people’s favorite things about the Confirmation process. We won’t tell you a lot about what to expect or what it will be like – because part of the retreat process is letting go of those sorts of expectations and just being open to the movements of the Holy Spirit in your heart!
How are my parents involved in this process?
This is something that needs to be your choice, and your parents cannot make this choice for you. They made the choice to have you Baptized, and now it is your choice to receive the gift of Confirmation. At the same time, understand they are very wise and desire for you to learn more about Confirmation. Parents can be strong supports through the process by praying for you, discussing your journey with you and helping you to keep your schedule straight!
Why do I need a sponsor? Who can be my sponsor? What will they do?
Your sponsor fills the role of role model, companion, mentor, and witness for you to the entire church. See Who Can Be A Sponsor? for more information.
Does my parish community do anything to help me?
Yes! They will officially welcome you at the Rite Of Enrollment. They will pray for you – each of you will have a prayer partner. They will also celebrate your Confirmation with you at Mass.
Do I have to do this now? Can I wait a while?
If you are still trying to decide, I suggest that you look at the schedule, think about it, talk about it with your parents, and pray about it. You should enter in to it willingly – otherwise you won’t get anything from the process. You can always be Confirmed later, but the gift is there, waiting for you right now. I suggest giving it a try. You don’t have to commit to getting Confirmed right away but the process should help you know whether it is right for you at this time in your life or not! And starting the program does not commit you to Confirmation – at any time, if you have concerns or questions, or feel like this is not the right time for you to be Confirmed, you can talk to Amanda and she will help you discern if you should continue or not.
What if I don’t feel holy or good enough for this?
If we waited until we were perfect, none of us would ever get Confirmed! God’s love is a gift, we don’t earn it. We have the choice to accept or reject the gift. This is not a graduation from faith, it is a step in the journey!
What happens if I choose not to be Confirmed?
You will not be punished or rejected by the Church. You may experience tension at home, but Amanda and your sponsor will help you talk to your parents about your decision, if you wish. Again, we would love for you to come to the meetings, open yourself to the process and pray for God to show you His will.