The preparation and celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation follow the same guiding principles established in the Archdiocese.
Sacramental preparation in the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan is rooted in the following fundamental beliefs:
- All sacraments are ecclesial celebrations, i.e. celebrations of the Church.
- Parents are the primary educators of their children in the ways of faith. Parent/family involvement in the preparation is vital for the child’s faith development.
- Catholic schools where they exist are an integral part of the on-going religious education of children, and provide valuable assistance in the foundational preparation for the sacraments.
The sacrament of Confirmation is usually prepared for and celebrated in grade 6 or about age 11.
The Sacrament of Confirmation may take place at any time of the year. However, given the penitential nature of the season of Lent, the celebration of sacraments such as Confirmation is discouraged during that period. When the Archbishop’s pastoral visitations transpire in a particular deanery, it is strongly recommended that Confirmation be celebrated during the time of visitation in the parishes of that deanery. All other parishes in the Archdiocese may request a date anytime outside of these dates. Please use the form Request for the Sacrament of Confirmation to be Celebrated in Your Parish, which can be found immediately following this policy.
The pastor is ultimately responsible for the proper preparation of the sacrament of Confirmation and his direct involvement in catechesis is vital. The catechetical team, consisting of the pastor and trained catechists from the parish and Catholic School, are all called to work together in a collaborative effort to support the growth of faith in our parents and young people.
There will always be some youth from outside our Catholic schools who will need to be included in catechesis and preparations for the celebration.
The program and text for the preparation of this sacrament in the Archdiocese is Alive in the Spirit published by Novalis. Other suggested resources and support materials are available from the Diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.
In planning the liturgy for the Sacrament of Confirmation, every effort is to be made to avoid the feel, the conduct, and the appearance of a “graduation”. Confirmation candidates are to be dressed simply and modestly, to keep the focus on Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is not a graduation from a school or program, but the deepening of a relationship with Christ and the willingness to be his disciple.
As the candidates prepare to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, the celebration of Reconciliation is integral to their moral and spiritual readiness.
Please keep in mind the following directives for the liturgical celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation:
- Depending on the capacity of the church, the preferred seating arrangement is a pew for each Confirmation candidate, sponsor and immediate family members.
- When the celebration of Confirmation takes place at a Sunday Mass, the prayers of the Sunday liturgy are to be used, as well as the readings prescribed for that Sunday. If the celebration happens on a weekday, there is greater flexibility for choosing the Mass texts and the readings.
- The liturgical ministers of the ceremony should be chosen as much as possible from among the confirmandi, but only with adequate planning and preparation.
- The rite of anointing takes place in a standing position for both the Archbishop and those receiving Confirmation.
- The music at a Mass of Confirmation is to be good liturgical music, which encourages the active participation of everyone. A suitable question to ask in the selection of music is, “Is this song or piece of music something we would use at any other Sunday Mass?”
- Power point can be used to support the celebration of the liturgy for music and the prayers of the Mass. It cannot be used for extra audio-visual presentations during the liturgy. A very appropriate time to show these is during the reception following the liturgy.
- Following the Mass and the recessional hymn, parents and others are welcome to take group and individual photos with the Archbishop. To keep the focus on the sacrament, only the designated photographer may take pictures during the ceremony and the Mass. This should be made clear before the Confirmation Day and again before the liturgy.
The flow of the Confirmation liturgy is the following:
- Gospel (proclaimed by the pastor or deacon or other priest)
- Presentation of the Candidates (by the pastor or a catechist; using option A on page 93 of the ritual book Rite of Confirmation, ©CCCB
- Renewal of Baptismal Promises
- Laying on of Hands (the bishop’s hands are extended over the candidates, who are standing)
- Anointing with Chrism (while sponsors lay their hands on the confirmandi’s shoulders)
- General Intercessions
Please contact the Archbishop in advance if you are planning any adaptations to the rite. If you are printing a program, please provide a draft copy before printing multiple copies.
Refer to the archdiocesan handbook, Sacramental Guidelines: The Initiation of Children, for further suggestions for preparing the celebration liturgy.
Accepted by the College of Consultors on 16 February 2011
Amended by the College of Consultors on 14 January 2015