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Confirmation is a responsible decision to become a full member of the Church. When the person was a child their parents made the decision for them to be baptised, now as an adult the person can decide whether they agree to retake the promises that their parents made on their behalf. The age of confirmation varies but is usually no younger than twelve. The ceremony calls down the Holy Spirit to give the person's life new vigour.
Confirmation confirms (makes solid) the person's faith. It is usually presided over by the local bishop. He is the authority in the diocese and represents the Church. Although each person is confirmed as an individual there are usually other people from the same church confirmed on the same day. The confirmation candidate will have prepared by attending classes organised by their priest and parishioners. The preparation should make the candidate aware of the responsibilities that confirmation brings. On the day of the confirmation the candidate will also be accompanied by a sponsor who is a full member of the Church. The sponsor vouches that the confirmation candidate is suitable to become a full member of the Church. The sponsor is usually a close friend who can help the candidate grow in the understanding of their faith.
Before Jesus finally left his friends he promised them that he would send them help and support, [Luke 24:49].
In the preparation classes the confirmation candidates learn that their confirmation will reminds all those present of Pentecost, this is when Jesus kept his promise and sent the Holy Spirit to his friends. The events of Pentecost day can be read about [Acts 2:1-13]. The Holy Spirit filled those it entered with confidence and the ability to spread the Good News about Jesus. Those present on Pentecost laid their hands on others and gave them the Holy Spirit too.
The anointing with Chrism
As in the sacrament of Baptism, Chrism oil is used to remind the candidate that they have been specially chosen by God to be his disciple. The bishop anoints the candidate on the forehead with Chrism.
The Confirmation Ceremony - Laying on of Hands
The bishop places his hands on the candidate's head and prays that the Holy Spirit will enter them just like on the day of Pentecost. The bishop will wear red vestments to represent fire which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The bishop has the authority to pass on the Holy Spirit because he is part of an unbroken chain of bishops who stretch back to the first Pentecost.
Effects of Confirmation on Lifestyle and Behaviour
During confirmation the candidate receives the Holy Spirit. The bishop wears red vestments to represent fire which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Traditionally the effect of the Holy Spirit are understood in terms of seven gifts which the person receives to help them in their Christian life:
Confirmation is also understood as an adult acceptance of faith and a deepening of commitment to the life of the Church. A person, as a full member of the Church, has the privilege to guide other people in their faith and may, in their turn, themselves be a sponsor for a confirmation candidate. Confirmation is a strengthening of the faith and commitment of the person being confirmed.
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