Mary Clare's Confirmation
May 15, 2016
Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham
CCC 1285 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 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, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."
Confirmation is an extension of Baptism, where candidates receive more fully the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the graces necessary to be a Christian witness to the world. It is a free, unmerited gift of grace through the Church, and the anointing with oil imprints a spiritual seal on the soul. It is fitting to receive this sacrament on Pentecost Sunday as this is when the Church was formed and when the Church received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
CCC 1288 From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church."
Mary Clare has been preparing for this sacrament over the past year. She has been attending a weekly class, she has been studying the history of the Church and Acts of the Apostles in her daily religion work, and she has been preparing her heart through prayer and the sacraments of penance and communion. She chose Philomena as her Confirmation name. St. Philomena was a martyr of the early Church, said to have been a young Greek princess killed in the 4th century. Her relics were discovered in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in 1802. Soon after, her veneration began and miracles have been attributed to her intercession. Mary Clare has been interested in her story ever since a mom in Corpus Christi gave a presentation on her life to the homeschool children. We ask for St. Philomena to pray for Mary Clare as she receives this great gift of the Holy Spirit.
Homeschool friends who attend our parish and received Confirmation at the same mass
"You can only understand from the inside looking out, not the outside looking in."
CCC1299 In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. The bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:
All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
"the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through the words: 'Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti' [Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.]."
Mary Clare chose her Godmother Veronica as her sponsor for Confirmation. This was a beautiful moment as I fondly recall being a sponsor myself and standing behind Veronica as she entered into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 1998.
CCC1302 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.
Our rector Fr. Hough and Bishop Lopes with Mary Clare and with our family
We are very proud of Mary Clare and are grateful for the gift of the Church and most especially the Holy Spirit who will continue to shower her with graces to live out her Christian calling in this world.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.