Confirmation in the Faith

Confirmation compliments baptism by sealing and strengthening the believer to live as a child of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The ordinary minister of the sacrament is a bishop who – through the “laying on of hands” and “anointing with chrism oil” – invokes the presence of the Holy Spirit on the baptized person.  In this powerful encounter with God, we experience again the grace of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the Apostles!

Over time, two traditions developed in the administration of Confirmation in the Catholic Church.  In the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, the sacrament is given at the time of baptism whether one is child or adult… even to newborn infants!  Often this is done by a priest using the oil consecrated by the bishop.

In the West, (in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church), the sacrament is ordinarily administered by the Bishop sometime after the age of reason.  When children are baptized as infants they receive confirmation at a later time.  Adults who participate in the “Right of Christian Inititation of Adults” always receive confirmation immediately following baptism by their pastor.  In the case of a baptism when one is in danger of death any priest has the authority to confer Confirmation following baptism provided that he has the proper oil of chrism available at the time of the baptism.  This is the case with both adults and infants.

This sacrament provides an increase and deepening of the grace of Baptism which increase the gifts of the Holy Spirit received in Baptism.

The Catechism provides a clear list of these specific graces in #1303:


  • Roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”
  • Unites us more firmly to Christ
  • Increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us
  • Renders our bod with the Church more perfect
  • Gives us the 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.

Common Questions

What are the qualifications to be a Confirmation sponsor?
Be at least sixteen (16) years of age
Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the sacrament of Holy Eucharist
If married, must be married in the Catholic Church
Be leading a life in harmony with the faith and role to be undertaken
Not be bound by any canonical penalty
Not be the mother or father of the one to be baptized. (Canon 874.2)
Why is preparation necessary to receive Confirmation?
While the age for reception of Confirmation varies from one diocese to the next, the need for preparation is universal. Preparation involves general formation for the life of discipleship and specific formation leading the confirmand to a greater unity with the Church. The Catechism explains that “preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively 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.” (1309)
What is required to be ready to receive Confirmation?
In additional to preparation classes one must be spiritually prepared. “To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act.” (Catechism, 1310)

Videos about Confirmation

A Full Overview of Confirmation
Fr. Muir explains the Sacrament of Confirmation