The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation is presently the final stage in the sacramental initiation of the young Christian. “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me….” (Luke 4:18). The candidates for Confirmation will be anointed for their part in the mission of the Church. The time of preparation is in effect a time of “apprenticeship” as disciples of the Lord and members of the Church. it there requires serious preparation.

The Catechetical process:

The process used on the Confirmation Journey is to be modelled on the RCIA and will include:

  • adequate and complete catechesis – including:
    • what we believe  (the Creed)
    • how we celebrate the Christian mysteries (sacraments)
    • how we are to have life in Christ (the commandments and the moral teaching of the church)
    • how we should pray
    • how we understand the social dimension of the Gospel
  • rites of passage modelled on those of the RCIA
  • involvement of the candidates in some form of parish or community ministry
  • mutual discernment of readiness by the candidate, the catechist, the parish priest/deacon, the parents and the sponsors.

The Goals of the Process for Confirmation:

Age: The Confirmation Journey takes place between 14 and 17 years of age. A candidate being admitted for celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation must be 16 years of age or be in Grade 11, and must have had adequate catechetical formation and be practising the faith by attending Life Teen in the Parish.

The role and Tasks of the Candidates:

All candidates for Confirmation are obliged to:

  • Participate in the parish catechetical process for Confirmation. This applies to teenagers in all Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese. The norm is for Sacraments of Initiation to be celebrated in the local parish. Permission must be sought on each occasion from the Archbishop for the preparation and celebration of these Sacraments in a Catholic School. Any conditions imposed by the Archbishop must be strictly adhered to
  • Be present and participate in the parish Sunday Eucharist each week
  • Be present and participate in the celebration of the Sacred paschal Triduum
  • Follow the prescribed catechetical programme of the Archdiocese
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and practise of the Catholic faith
  • Exhibit a growing conversion to Christ and the Church
  • Be involved in projects for justice and reconciliation
  • Participate in parish ministry in conjunction with the members of these
  • Be present and participate in ALL the liturgical celebrations on the journey to
  • Be prepared to give adequate reasons in writing to the parish priest as to why
    they should be admitted to the Sacrament of Confirmation
  • Be present at all interviews with the parish priest or deacon
  • Be willing to get involved in the various social and apostolic aspects of parish life.

The Role of Parents

  • Parents must present their teenagers for inclusion in the pre-Confirmation process
  • Parents must be present at all liturgical the celebrations which mark the passage to Confirmation
  • Parents must be supportive of their teenagers in the various activities of the programme
  • They are required to attend the Parents’ meetings so that there is a regular flow of communication
  • Parents should be encouraged to sign tasks and assignments given
  • It is recommended that parents sign a commitment to accompany their children on the journey.
  • Parents should be encouraged to attend a day of prayer together with the candidates and the sponsors each year.

The Role of Sponsors & Godparents:

  • Sponsors must be confirmed and practising Catholics.
  • Sponsors must be at least 16 years of age
  • It is recommended that they should be members of the parish community
  • In choosing a sponsor, consideration must be given to the one who undertook this role at the baptism of the candidate.
  • Sponsors must be encourage to walk the journey with the candidates and to participate in the sessions wherever possible. Sponsors should be encouraged to attend days of prayer together with the candidates and their parents
  • As sponsors they need to understand their ongoing role of support and encouragement for the candidate.

The Role of the Parish Community

  • Candidates should be introduced to the parish community at the start of their journey.
  • The parish should be encouraged to accompany the candidates on their Confirmation Journey
  • Since candidates will be required to get involved in a ministry or society within the parish, these societies and ministries should be encouraged to adopt a candidate
  • The parish liturgy team should be encouraged to involve the confirmation candidates in the important liturgical celebrations of the parish
  • The parish should pray for the candidates at appropriate moments throughout their journey.

Discerning the readiness of the Candidates for Confirmation:

When we confirm a person, we confirm his/her growing conversion to Christ and His way. It is possible to notice the growing conversion in young people if those responsible for their catechesis take time to engage with them on their actions. Conversation with them will also reveal the degree of their inner conversion. The discernment process should take place in conjunction with the candidate, the catechist, the parents and the sponsors.

Baptism is a necessary requirement for Confirmation, so therefore proof of Baptism is required.

Important Criteria for Discernment:

  • Attendance at catechism sessions and at Mass
  • The candidate’s willingness to be involved in the Confirmation journey
  • A positive and generous attitude towards others
  • The candidate should write a personal letter explaining why he/she seeks Confirmation. Candidates could choose a scripture passage personal to them and explain the meaning it has for them
  • A suitable name should be chosen by each candidate which could either be their baptismal name or another saint’s name. The candidate should have a sound reason for choosing their saint’s name.

Liturgical Celebration:

  • The parish priest and deacon will celebrate the rites of passage modelled on those of the RCIA
  • Candidates, catechists and sponsors should be involved in the preparation and celebration of these rites which mark their progress on the journey
  • Opportunities for regular participation in the celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist
  • Special events in the lives of the young people should be celebrated
  • The Archbishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation. He may delegate this office to another bishop or priest.

The Mystagogia (Post confirmation):

The newly confirmed, together with their parents, sponsors and catechists should have an opportunity to reflect together:

  • On their experience of their Confirmation celebration
  • On the experience of the Confirmation process
  • On what it now means to be a sacramentally initiated Christian
  • On further opportunities for ongoing catechesis as young adults in the Church and in society.

Guidelines taken from the Catechetics Policy Document presented by the Centre of Pastoral Development – Archdiocese of Cape Town