Celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation
Our custom in the Diocese of Reno has been to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for Teenagers during the Easter Season. Accordingly, each parish has their own distinct customs which need to be honored but also given due thought. Since despite parish customs there is still universal liturgical laws and traditions that need to be respected. Please consider the following.
1. The pastor, parochial vicar(s) and other priests associated with the parish or Confirmation candidates are to concelebrate the Mass with the bishop.
2. Deacons assigned to the parish should assist at the Mass. If there is only one deacon, he will carry the Book of the Gospels in procession; if two or more, one deacon will carry the Book of Gospels and the other (two) at the bishop's side. The deacon(s) will sit next to the bishop in the sanctuary. They will also stand by the bishop's side, holding the vessel of chrism for the conferral of Confirmation and assist the bishop at the altar.
3. There should be five altar servers for the liturgy (six if incense will be used): one to carry the cross, two for the candles, one for the miter and one for the crozier. The servers should be assembled and vested at least 20 minutes before the liturgy to be instructed by the Master of Ceremonies.
5. If candidates for Confirmation or their sponsors or others involved in their catechesis are to be the lectors at Mass, they should be properly prepared so that they can truly proclaim the Word of God. However, a good suggestion is that since the Candidates are being ministered to in the celebration, consider having some of your best ordinary lectors proclaim at this mass and NOT the candidates for Confirmation.
The candidates for Confirmation process into the church before the ministers and clergy. The name they chose for Confirmation may be the name given to them at Baptism or they may select a new name to express the beginning a new level of their relationship with Christ with the celebration of Confirmation. If they choose a new name, the name is to be a Christian name. The name chosen for the sacrament is to be printed legibly on a nametag worn by the candidate. If this is not possible, then it is to be printed on a card which the sponsor will hand to the bishop when the candidate comes up to be confirmed. Candidates are not to indicate their names only by telling the bishop when they come forward, since it has been the experience that some candidates speak inaudibly their names. The name of the saint chosen by a candidate is to be printed on the name tag or card without a title, for example, Elizabeth and not St. Elizabeth or Guadalupe and not Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Conferral of the Sacrament
1. Presentation of the Candidates: The pastor or pastoral life coordinator will present the candidates for Confirmation. The religious education director or the catechist responsible for the candidates' formation may participate in the presentation. The presentation may use the following or words similar to these:
"Bishop Calvo, the parish community of __________wishes to present to you its young men and women who have been prepared and are ready to complete the process of Christian initiation by receiving the sacrament of Confirmation. Each candidate has prepared for this sacrament over a period of ______months. During this time the candidates have participated in a retreat and have individually expressed their desire to be active members of the Church. Their parents, sponsors and teachers, together with the parish community, attest to their readiness and are happy to present them to you at this time as candidates for Confirmation."
2. After the homily the candidates stand for the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. At the conclusion of the promises, the bishop says, "This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus our Lord." The assembly responds: "Amen"
3. Immediately following the Renewal of Baptismal Promises, the pastor (and parish priests) stand(s) next to the Bishop and deacon (who holds the vessel of chrism). For the laying on of hands, the bishop and priests extend their hands over the candidates, who are standing in their places.
4. Anointing of the Candidates: The candidates approach the bishop two by two, with their sponsors. Each candidate will come before the bishop within arm's reach. The sponsor is to stand behind the candidate and placed his/her right hand on the right shoulder of the candidate. The bishop anoints the forehead with chrism, saying: N., be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The newly confirmed responds: Amen. Then the bishop says, Peace be with you. and the newly confirmed says, And with your spirit. The candidate and sponsor return to their places.
It has been the past experience that a newly confirmed would process up to the bishop for communion and then ask for only a blessing instead of receiving the Body of Christ. Obviously, this person did not understand that, if he or she is spiritually ready to receive Confirmation, then he or she is likewise ready to receive the Eucharist. To use traditional terminology, one must be in the state of sanctifying grace to receive Confirmation as well as to take communion. Please make sure this point is clear to the candidates well before the celebration of Confirmation. Please review with the candidates and the sponsors the correct way to receive Communion.
The bishop is usually available for pictures with the newly confirmed after the Mass.