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Confirmation

“Then Peter and John laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit” – Acts 8:14-17

The Gifts of the Spirit

Confirmation is the anointing with sacred chrism by the bishop or priest which signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit. This sacrament gives us special divine strength to share and “defend our faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ” and never to be ashamed of his Cross. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1303)

Fully Graced and Sent on Mission

“By the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, fully graced to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1285)

Youth Confirmation

Our regular parish program for Confirmation is a two-year process typically beginning in the 7th grade and is conducted through our Religious Education program. Trained Catechists instruct candidates weekly in the central doctrines of our faith as they are expressed in the Apostle’s Creed and the teachings of Christ. Candidates also complete church and community service as a requirement for Confirmation.

Please note: The Diocese of Arlington requires at least two years of consecutive Faith Formation, whether in a Catholic parochial school or parish Faith Formation program, prior to the celebration of the Sacraments.

Confirmation Preparation Goals for Children

  • To develop a deeper understanding, appreciation and active participation in the Eucharist.
  • To understand the major symbols of the sacrament and their meaning: laying on of hands and anointing with sacred chrism.
  • To foster personal spiritual growth as well as participate in communal worship.
  • To encourage a sense of discipleship and life of service both within the parish community and the wider community.

For more information about Confirmation preparation, please contact us via email or call Sheila Noble at 703-221-3127.

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When will the Sacrament of Confirmation be celebrated?

We typically celebrate in the Spring. The exact date depends on the schedule of the Bishop, but in any case the date is usually announced early so that you can plan and let loved ones know.

What is the required paperwork for the Confirmation Program?

Will the candidates for Confirmation pick a confirmation name of a Saint?

Yes! As we go through our sacramental preparation for Confirmation, Confirmation saints are chosen to be a person we want to be like, as well as someone who can pray for us from heaven. Through the process of canonization, when someone is declared by the Church to be a saint, the Church is proclaiming that this member of the faithful practiced heroic virtue during their life on earth, ‘the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors’ (CCC 828).

It is important to remember that as members of the Church, we are never alone, as St. Paul said, ‘We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses’ (Hebrews 12:1). These witnesses are the saints who continually intercede for us (CCC 956); in choosing a confirmation saint, we are choosing a special friend to intercede for us in heaven and after whom we can model our lives while here on earth.

What is the role of a Confirmation Sponsor?

The primary responsibility of the sponsor is to provide the candidate prayerful support and guidance in his or her Christian walk and to “take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament” (canon 892).

Being a sponsor is a lifelong commitment. A sponsor takes on the role of a spiritual parent who “brings the candidate to receive the sacrament, presents him to the minister for the anointing, and will later help him to fulfill his baptismal promises faithfully under the influence of the Holy Spirit” (Rite of Confirmation 5).

Some of the responsibilities of a sponsor to the candidate before Confirmation:

  • Be a convinced, enthusiastic Catholic who lives a life of faith, and is committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of a sponsor.
  • Pray regularly for and with the candidate, showing him/her how to pray by example.
  • Attend all the confirmation classes, retreats, or special liturgies offered.
  • Cultivate a supportive and encouraging relationship with the confirmand.
  • Be involved in the catechetical preparation of the candidate with great heart and dedication.
  • Have knowledge of the personal faith of the candidate and share your own faith experience.
  • Lead and guide the candidate to a personal relationship with the Lord and to a deeper familiarity “with the Holy Spirit—his actions, his gifts, and his biddings—in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life” (CCC 1309).

Some of the responsibilities of a sponsor to the confirmed after Confirmation:

  • Maintain regular contact with the confirmed by phone, email. Also, sending a card on the anniversary of his/her confirmation.
  • Pray regularly for the confirmed and when possible pray with him/her.
  • Help the confirmed to learn how to experience a deeper prayer life.
  • Encourage participation in the life of the Church, especially through his/her parish.
    Continue ongoing catechesis (e.g., sharing good books) and be available for questions.
  • Help the confirmed to understand how to bear witness to Christ in the world and to fulfill his/her baptismal promises faithfully through the Holy Spirit.

My child attends a Catholic School. Do they have to participate in the Sacramental Preparation program in order to receive one of the sacraments this year?

Yes. While it is wonderful that your child is studying the Catholic faith at his or her appropriate grade level in school, the seven Sacraments are celebrations of the Church and are therefore prepared for and celebrated in the parish community with which you worship. At St. Francis, we encourage faith formation that is ongoing and lifelong, extending far beyond the school-aged years. Thus, Sacramental Preparation is a freestanding parish process. This includes weekly Sunday Mass attendance, active participation in our parish community events, and attendance of all sessions for the preparation of the Sacraments.

My child was in Sacramental Preparation at another parish. Can they join your program?

Yes. If your son or daughter is joining mid-year, our Director of Faith Formation will consult with the parents in order to best place the child. A letter from the parish where the child was attending should be obtained and included with the registration paperwork. 

Teen Confirmation

Do you have a High School student who would like to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation? Reach out to Sheila Noble via email or call (703-221-3127) so we can tailor a solution that makes sense to the family and the parish.

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Adult Confirmation

It is not uncommon to encounter adults who have been baptized, but never received the Sacrament of Confirmation. It happens that in one diocese the age of Confirmation is as a junior in high school and then the family moves to a diocese in which they confirm 5th graders…and the youth was a sophmore in high school.

Confirmation is the final sacrament of the “Sacraments of Christian Initiation” to be celebrated. The completion of these most fundamental Sacraments is why the Church asks that a person be confirmed before receiving one of the “Sacraments of Christian Vocation,” most often Marriage. The upcoming nuptials become the motivation to more deeply explore the faith.

The parish offers a six-week program after Easter for Catholic adults who have already received the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist (First Communion) and would like to complete their initiation with Confirmation. Sessions focus on a re-introduction and re-familiarization of all of the Catholic sacraments with special emphasis on the Sacrament of Confirmation, as well as topics such as the Church and living a sacramental and moral life.

Please email Sheila Noble or call her at 703-221-3127 for more information and schedules

If you have not yet been baptized please contact Sheila about receiving the first of the Sacraments of Initiation. Learn more about the RCIA program.

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Important information about the process.

Here is the quick 4-1-1

How? – Preparation is offered through a series of 5-7 sessions.
When? – Typically Adult Confirmation sessions are offered 1-2 times each year in English.  Clases de español se ofrecen 1-2 vezes al año.
Where? – Usually on campus or through zoom
Who is involved? – The adult seeking Confirmation and his/her Confirmation Sponsor if they live in the area.  Spouses and/or significant others are welcome to join during the process.
Requirements? – (1) a baptismal certificate , (2) information regarding your current marital status.  If baptized witin the Catholic Church, you must contact your church of baptism and request a newly issued certificate (a photocopy of your original is not sufficient). The certificate issue date must be within  months of the date we receive it from you. If baptised in a Christian denomination, a photocopy will suffice.

What is the role of a Confirmation Sponsor

The primary responsibility of the sponsor is to provide the candidate prayerful support and guidance in his or her Christian walk and to “take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament” (canon 892).

Being a sponsor is a lifelong commitment. A sponsor takes on the role of a spiritual parent who “brings the candidate to receive the sacrament, presents him to the minister for the anointing, and will later help him to fulfill his baptismal promises faithfully under the influence of the Holy Spirit” (Rite of Confirmation 5).

Some of the responsibilities of a sponsor to the candidate before Confirmation:

  • Be a convinced, enthusiastic Catholic who lives a life of faith, and is committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of a sponsor.
  • Pray regularly for and with the candidate, showing him/her how to pray by example.
  • Attend all the confirmation classes, retreats, or special liturgies offered.
  • Cultivate a supportive and encouraging relationship with the confirmand.
  • Be involved in the catechetical preparation of the candidate with great heart and dedication.
  • Have knowledge of the personal faith of the candidate and share your own faith experience.
  • Lead and guide the candidate to a personal relationship with the Lord and to a deeper familiarity “with the Holy Spirit—his actions, his gifts, and his biddings—in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life” (CCC 1309).

Some of the responsibilities of a sponsor to the confirmed after Confirmation:

  • Maintain regular contact with the confirmed by phone, email. Also, sending a card on the anniversary of his/her confirmation.
  • Pray regularly for the confirmed and when possible pray with him/her.
  • Help the confirmed to learn how to experience a deeper prayer life.
  • Encourage participation in the life of the Church, especially through his/her parish.
    Continue ongoing catechesis (e.g., sharing good books) and be available for questions.
  • Help the confirmed to understand how to bear witness to Christ in the world and to fulfill his/her baptismal promises faithfully through the Holy Spirit.

Can my spouse or fiance be my Confirmation Sponsor?

Technically, yes…but we would suggest another person. Our experience is that for young, newer relationship couples, it is not the best of ideas. They are still getting to know each other, and there is risk the transformation conversion process can be compromised because of a reluctance by the candidate to be totally open.

A sponsor is a companion and must be objective in listening to the genuine doubts, concerns of the candidate. An ideal candidate is another parishioner, mature in their faith and commitment to God.

For long term marriages where they know each other very well, it can be a very beautiful and rewarding experience for the both of them.

Confirmation Sponsors

The primary role of a sponsor is to help in preparing the confirmandi and vouch for the readiness and beliefs of the candidates. Please read the frequently asked questions for more information about the role and requirements of being a Confirmation Sponsor.

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What is the role of the Sponsor?

The primary responsibility of the sponsor is to provide the candidate prayerful support and guidance in his or her Christian walk and to “take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament” (canon 892).

Being a sponsor is a lifelong commitment. A sponsor takes on the role of a spiritual parent who “brings the candidate to receive the sacrament, presents him to the minister for the anointing, and will later help him to fulfill his baptismal promises faithfully under the influence of the Holy Spirit” (Rite of Confirmation 5).

Some of the responsibilities of a sponsor to the candidate before Confirmation:

  • Be a convinced, enthusiastic Catholic who lives a life of faith, and is committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of a sponsor.
  • Pray regularly for and with the candidate, showing him/her how to pray by example.
  • Attend all the confirmation classes, retreats, or special liturgies offered.
  • Cultivate a supportive and encouraging relationship with the confirmand.
  • Be involved in the catechetical preparation of the candidate with great heart and dedication.
  • Have knowledge of the personal faith of the candidate and share your own faith experience.
  • Lead and guide the candidate to a personal relationship with the Lord and to a deeper familiarity “with the Holy Spirit—his actions, his gifts, and his biddings—in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life” (CCC 1309).

Some of the responsibilities of a sponsor to the confirmed after Confirmation:

  • Maintain regular contact with the confirmed by phone, email. Also, sending a card on the anniversary of his/her confirmation.
  • Pray regularly for the confirmed and when possible pray with him/her.
  • Help the confirmed to learn how to experience a deeper prayer life.
  • Encourage participation in the life of the Church, especially through his/her parish.
    Continue ongoing catechesis (e.g., sharing good books) and be available for questions.
  • Help the confirmed to understand how to bear witness to Christ in the world and to fulfill his/her baptismal promises faithfully through the Holy Spirit.

How should we choose the Sponsor? Are there requirements?

Whether the candidates select very close friends or family members as their sponsor, it is a very personal decision. However, the Church does ask that certain requirements be met. In order to be a Catholic Sponsor, a person must be:

  • At least 16 years of age;
  • A practicing Catholic who is Baptized, Confirmed and has received First Holy Communion;
  • Someone other than the parents of the child;
  • If married, the marriage is Sacramentally blessed by the Catholic Church, and
  • Leading a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and the role they are about to assume.

Can I have more than one Sponsor?

It is the norm to only have one sponsor. But if there are special circumstances, please talk to Sheila Noble.

Does the Sponsor have to be Catholic?

Yes, a Sponsor, by definition, is necessarily Catholic.

 

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some additional FAQs that folks ask as regards the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Let us know if you have more questions … who knows, we might add them to this list!!

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I am Catholic, but my spouse is not. May our child be confirmed in the Catholic Church?

If one of the parents is a practicing Catholic, as long as the other parent is in agreement, the child can be Confirmed.

I am a single parent. Does the father (mother) of the child have to agree to the Confirmation?

Under normal conditions when there is an amicable relationship between the parents, it is required that the other parent be informed of the plans for the child to celebrate Confirmation. Our experience is that there is rarely objection since it was often discussed and agreed when the parents were together. If there is other-than-amicable relationship, that is something to be dicussed with the pastor/priest.

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