Confirmation is the “in between” Sacrament, the one sandwiched between Baptism and Eucharist. These three are the Sacraments of Initiation whereby a person becomes a full member of the Body of Christ, the People of God.
The usual minister of Confirmation is the Diocesan Bishop. Confirmation completes Baptism and, in the Archdiocese of Wellington, is administered to children prior to their First Communion.
The Bishop marks the forehead of the candidate with the oil of Chrism while saying, Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The candidate responds with, Amen. The Bishop then offers the Sign of Peace: Peace be with you, to which the response is, And with your spirit.
While both preparation and celebration are the responsibility of the whole faith community, the main teaching role is given to the candidate’s parents, with support from parish and school.
This Sacrament considers the place of the Holy Spirit, as Third Person of the Trinity, in the life of the Christian and the Church as a whole. Many resources are available. Adults who have not been confirmed should apply to their respective parish. The Easter Vigil is an occasion when Confirmation can be celebrated, but adults can also choose to join the children’s celebration.
Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptised] 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, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1285