Receiving Confirmation at St. Bernard’s
The Sacrament of Confirmation is conferred at The Church of St. Bernard on two separate occasions every year. The first occasion is during the Confirmation Liturgy, which is celebrated at the end of the Religious Education academic year. Students completing their 8th year of religious education instruction receive the Sacrament of Confirmation from a New York Auxiliary Bishop. The second occasion is during the Easter Vigil liturgy when our Parish Priests confer the Sacrament on the adult Candidates in our Rite of Christian Initiation Program (RCIA). To learn more about our RCIA program click here.
Confirmation is one of three sacraments of Christian initiation; the other two are Baptism and Eucharist. The reception of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of Baptismal grace. Like Baptism, which it completes, it is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character”, which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of His Spirit by clothing him or her with power from on high so that he or she may be His witness (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1304).
Christ himself declared that He was marked with his Father’s seal. Christians are also marked with a seal:”It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Cor 1:21-22).” The seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in His service forever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great escatological trial (CCC 1296).
The Effects of Confirmation
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. From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
1) It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;
2) It unites us more firmly to Christ;
3) It increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
4) It renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
5) It gives us a 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 on the Cross. (CCC 1302-1303)