Confirmation takes place annually in Balyna Parish. In terms of the administration of the Sacrament, there is an alternating system between the Bishop and the Parish Priest. Bishop Nulty administered the Sacrament in 2016. Therefore, Fr. Breen will administer the Sacrament in 2017. When the Bishop administers the Sacrament, he always chooses the date. When Fr. Breen administers the Sacrament, the date is negotiable between teachers, parents and priest.
Who Can Receive?
Any baptised Catholic can receive Confirmation. For young people in Ireland, this is usually part of the 5th/6th class primary school programme.
For adults who were not confirmed as children, it means taking part in the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
A sponsor stands behind the candidate for Confirmation at the Confirmation ceremony and places their hand on the shoulder of the candidate as a sign that they will support them in living out their baptismal promises. However, the role of the sponsor is not just for one day. The sponsor undertakes to assist the confirmed person in growing in the fullness of their faith and in their membership of the Catholic Church.
A person qualifies as a sponsor by being a reasonably mature adult, who is at least 16 years old, and has already received the Sacraments of Initiation, (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) themselves. The Confirmation sponsor may be one of the people who was a sponsor at Baptism (subject to the notes here).
Choosing a Sponsor
(Ref. Code of Canon Law §874) To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
- be appointed by the candidate, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
- be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;
- be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
- not labor under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;
- not be either the father or the mother of the candidate.
The tradition of taking a new name at Confirmation emphasises the new identity of a Christian being called to witness to their faith. People are encouraged to take the name of a saint or a person from the Bible who inspires them in some way.
The White Robe Dating back to the days of the Early Church, the person being baptised was clothed in a white garment. This white garment is a sign of the Resurrection and a call to share in the Christain way of life. In our Church community of Balyna, we use the white garment not only in Baptism, but also in First Holy Communion, Confirmation and at Funerals. In Baptism the white garment is a sign of being brought into the death and resurrection of Christ and symbolises clothing the child with His love. In First Communion we use the garment again to signify that in the eyes of God all are equal, male and female, rich and poor and are all clothed in God’s love. It helps restore the meaning of what we are celebrating. This symbolism is carried through to Confirmation and this time the candidate is acknowledging and confirming the gift of God’s love as given in Baptism. Since 2010, the confirmation candidates wear the robe at the Confirmation Ceremony.