Sealed with the Holy Spirit
St. John Neumann Parish is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton. Traditionally, the bishop of the diocese confirms those students who have prepared for the sacrament of Confirmation at their parish. At St. John Neumann, Confirmation preparation includes the successful completion of two years of classes.
Beginning in 2019, the bishop will delegate pastors of parishes to confer the sacrament of Confirmation at each parish during the Feast of Pentecost.
A Brief Theology of the Sacrament of Confirmation
The origin of Confirmation is found in the Acts of the Apostles. As the first disciples, apostles, and the Virgin Mary prayed for nine days in the upper room after Jesus ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent and rested upon the members of the early Church. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and inspired to go out into the world to preach the Gospel. Since that time, the successors to the apostles - our bishops - have been entrusted with passing on this gift of the Holy Spirit to all the faithful in the Church through Baptism and Confirmation.
During the first centuries of the Church, Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist were all received together at the Easter Vigil. At that time, the bishop, as pastor of the local church, presided at this liturgy of full initiation. However, as the Church continued to grow, more and more people needed to be baptized into the Church. Thus, the bishop delegated local priests to baptize children, but the bishop reserved the rite of Confirmation, that sacred anointing with the chrism after baptism, for himself.
The three sacraments of initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist - became separated gradually over time. But Confirmation retained its tie to the local bishop. However, due to the growing difficulty of bishops to get to every parish in their diocese for Confirmation, they are increasingly designating parish pastors to confer the sacrament of Confirmation. Of course, the sacrament is still linked to the bishop by his delegation of the pastor as well as the sacred chrism that is used, which is blessed by the bishop.
In the sacrament of Confirmation, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, courage, knowledge, right judgment, wonder-and-awe, understanding, and reverence.
In the sacrament of Confirmation, we are equipped with God's grace to go out to preach the Gospel with our words and lives.
In the sacrament of Confirmation, we confirm the commitments of our baptism to be faithful to our journey of Christian discipleship.