Value of Adult Confirmation

Hi there!

My name is Michael (I’m new) and I thought I’d start myself off here on the forums with a question. Hope you don’t mind!

I was raised Catholic, and when I was 18 spent a year in the seminary preparing for the priesthood. Because of some experiences in my life, I never was confirmed in the church, and after leaving the seminary it just never came up again.

Now that I am going to mass again and making an effort to return to my Catholic identity, I’m once again curious about confirmation. I’m wondering if it is important to go through RCIA (though I’m a member of the Church?) or some other process to be confirmed? Is there a value in someone already 25 years old and familiar with the Church to receive this sacrament? My friend and I were talking about it and he mentioned when he was confirmed it was basically a ‘I’ve gotta do it’ experience and no one in his class of 16 year olds really cared. I know as an adult confirmation would mean much more to me, but I’m more concerned with it’s necessity than anything else. What does the Church say about this matter?

Thanks for any insights,

Michael

Hi and welcome :thumbsup:

Confirmation, like all the other sacraments, is not so much a subjective learning experience, but a means of grace. Through the sacrament, the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us at Baptism is deepened.

Sadly many people would doubtless view it as a solely “rite of passage” kind of ceremony, with no attention as to the great spiritual advantages. But they are there, they are many, and yes, it is necessary to recieve it.

You might find it helpful to review what the Catechism says about confirmation.

I’m not sure how you got into the seminary without having been confirmed…I was sure that was a requirement. :confused: Anyway…

It is more of a means of grace than a learning experience, but that is not to say that the part of experiencing it isn’t important. The catechism defines a sacrament as a sign instituted by Christ through which we receive grace. Why an outward sign? The outward sign is for us. It is to emphasize that this is something important. Unless you are confirmed as a baby- like Eastern Christians are- then I think you should know why you are doing what you are doing. The age group that is most commonly confirmed needs that outward sign to show them that this is a big deal.

I understand that - that’s why I said “not so much a learning experience”. The impression I had got from the OP’s post was that the sacrament was viewed more or less solely along the lines of a subjective experience-kind of like a better Catechism lesson?

But thanks for making it clearer, at any rate. :slight_smile:

Hi there… what’s an OP?

While I appreciate the responses - I think what I was trying to ask was what the sacrament of confirmation really DOES for one’s relationship and membership in the church. I understand it’s an outward sign - and that the age group that most commonly receives confirmation really needs that assurance. Why then would I need to be confirmed? I already understand my relationship with the Holy Spirit… do I need this sacrament to further my relationship with the Church? It does feel like something I would like to do if it’s both obligatory and helpful – I do want to do what’s right in the eye of God and His Church.

As far as why I was still allowed into the seminary and was not confirmed, you’d have to ask the people who accepted my application. I don’t see how that’s relevant to my question.

Michael

Original Poster, in this case, you :slight_smile: .

While I appreciate the responses - I think what I was trying to ask was what the sacrament of confirmation really DOES for one’s relationship and membership in the church. I understand it’s an outward sign - and that the age group that most commonly receives confirmation really needs that assurance. Why then would I need to be confirmed? I already understand my relationship with the Holy Spirit… do I need this sacrament to further my relationship with the Church? It does feel like something I would like to do if it’s both obligatory and helpful – I do want to do what’s right in the eye of God and His Church.

Michael

Someone will probably explain it better- but the Holy Spirit is a gift. And God has decided to distribute this Gift throguh the sacraments. Confirmation is not solely to be in good standng with the Church- it is to deepen your relationship with God. You may understand your relationship with the Holy Spriti but (forgive if I seem a bit pompous with this) you may be just at the tip . The Catholic life is so much fuller and richer through the sacrament of Confirmation when the Holy Spirit comes with His graces.

In any case, thsi section of the Catechism may answer your question and you might want to look at the whole bit

1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:

  • it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;
  • it unites us more firmly to Christ;
  • it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
  • it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
  • it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:
Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.

1304 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.

1305 This “character” perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and “the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi Ex officio).”

Those paragraphs in the Catechism explain it perfectly well - thanks for having them at your fingertips! And you didn’t sound pompous at all (are you often accused of being so? :slight_smile: ) Much appreciated and thanks for your help… I’ll ponder this a bit and write a response.

Michael

call your parish and find out about adult confirmation classes, which in many places are beginning right now, and prepare to be confirmed the next time the bishop offers this sacrament to Catholic adults (sometimes on Pentecost in a diocesan-wide celebration, sometimes when he visits individual parishes for youth confirmaiton). welcome home, your continuing conversion is a cause for rejoicing.

In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we receive the seven gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Right Judgement, Courage, Piety, and Awe of the Lord.

Through the anointing of Chrism on our foreheads, we are made “Christ”-ian (literally, anointed in Christ) - imitators of Christ, and soldiers in the war against evil, so to speak - and this is the point when we become responsible for our own faith journey - it is no longer up to others to make sure we do what we are supposed to do - it now becomes up to us.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is a Sacrament of Initiation, like Baptism (which precedes it) and First Holy Communion, which can either precede Confirmation, or be given shortly afterwards, depending on where you live, and what your situation is.

We also have the opportunity to take the name of a Saint at Confirmation, and through the prayers of our Confirmation Saint (should we choose to have one), we are brought to greater holiness.

Thank you, very much!

Forgive my naivete, are ‘adult confirmation classes’ the same as the RCIA program?

No, they are different. At our parish, there is a six-week program for adult Catholics being Confirmed. RCIA is for non-Catholics who are converting.

If there is not much demand, or if volunteers are in short supply, they might send adult Catholics to the RCIA for Catechesis and Sacramental Preparation, instead of having a separate class.

It completes the Sacraments of Initiation, and you receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Huh? Why do you believe Confirmation is only for a particular age group? It is a Sacrament for EVERY Catholic.

Yes, you do. You receive additional gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation.

You also must be Confirmed prior to receiving the Sacrament of Marriage.

I hope you will read the Catechism reference linked above.

Confirmation completes baptism, the two sacraments are so tightly linked that Christian initiation is incomplete without both (and of course, Eucharist) at the age determined by the bishop, to whom confirmation is reserved (in the west or when delegated by law to the priest, such as in RCIA). To reject confirmation is to reject the authority of the bishop, to reject the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are conferred in this sacrament, and to reject the fullness of Christian initiation. If the sacraments have been delayed beyond the prescribed age the deficiency should be remedied as soon as the person is prepared and worthily disposed. One cannot be ordained or married until this is done (except, in the case of marriage, in extraordinary circumstances). Catholic adults participate in suitable preparation for confirmation, NOT RCIA, although, as a practical matter, the doctrinal portion of the preparation may happen along with adults preparing for reception into the Church.

No. but as I say, for the doctrinal portion of the preparation, and possibly for retreats or other helpful adjuncts to preparation, you may participate alongside those non-Catholics preparing for reception into the Church, OR, you diocese or parish might have an alternate arrangment.

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