CONFIRMATION LITURGY: THE THEORETICAL AND THEOLOGICAL
General Preparation: The Confirmation liturgy demands careful preparation by a team that should include the parish priest, Confirmation catechists, possibly some of the candidates themselves, the director of Religious Education and the music director.
Symbols: The primary symbols inherent to the liturgy itself need to be given careful attention, i.e., the Chrism, the book of Scripture, the bread and wine, the Easter candle and the assembly.
- Easter Candle:Since Confirmation is an initiation liturgy, it is appropriate to highlight the Easter Candle.
- Chrism: "When (those baptized) are anointed with this holy oil and made the temples of your glory...Let this be indeed the Chrism of salvation for those who will be born again of water and the Holy Spirit." (Roman Missal Sacramentary, Consecration of the Chrism, n. 25). The Bishop will normally use the Chrism of the Parish and it may even be carried in the Entrance Procession. It shall be placed in an area of prominence, near the font, or on the table holding the vessel of water.
In order that the fullness of the sacramental signs may be evident, the Chrism is not to be wiped off the foreheads of the newly confirmed.
- Choosing Ministers: Those selected for the various ministries within the Confirmation liturgy should be individuals who are prepared and who regularly serve in this capacity for the community.
- Lectors: While it may seem desirable to include Confirmation candidates as proclaimers of the Word, it is more effective to encourage their full participation in other ways. Freed from the anxiety of reading well or being in the right place at the right time, candidates are better able to reflect on the importance and meaning of the celebration and even feel supported by the witness of adult members who serve as readers. At OLM, we use our trained lectors.
- Acolytes: Four trained servers are necessary for the Confirmation liturgy: an incense bearer, a cross bearer, a miter bearer and a crozier bearer.
- Seating. The candidates sit with their sponsors in the front center rows. These rows should be marked with a reserved sign. If the parents would like a lottery to determine where they and relatives will be seated, this may be done a month or so before the ceremony. Normally we use a first come, first serve basis.
A designated sacristan should attend to the following details:
- Vestments: For Sunday Masses (excluding Pentecost) in which Confirmation is celebrated during the Easter Season, WHITE vestments are to be worn. When Confirmation is celebrated on Pentecost, RED VESTMENTS ARE WORN.
- Presider’s Chair: The Presidential chair is to be located in a place that is visible to the entire assembly. Altar Servers do not sit next to the Bishop. A chair should be provided for the Bishop’s Master of Ceremonies and should be positioned near the servers.
- Microphone: A cordless microphone should be in place at the Presider’s chair and the batteries should be fresh.
- Ritual Books: The following should be set up before the Liturgy begins:
Lectionary: This is carried in the entrance procession by a reader, unless the Book of the Gospel is used.
- Credence Table: A large credence table is necessary, holding:
- a large bowl of water and special branch for the Sprinkling Rite at beginning of Mass;
- corporals for the altar;
- chalice and purificator for the Bishop;
- empty ciboria—sufficient number for the orderly distribution of the Body of Christ;
- cruet of water;
- one lemon, quartered, and a towel for the Bishop; soap is not needed, for the washing of the Bishop’s hands;
- pitcher of water, bowl and two towels to wash the Bishops hands twice (after the Anointing, and during the offertory).
LITURGY—ORDER of CELEBRATION
The Confirmation Candidates and Sponsors should be in their designated places in the pews prior to the scheduled time so that the ceremony is able to begin promptly at the appointed hour. If the bishop wishes to speak with them before the Mass, they should be punctual (with sponsors) in the small chapel.
Monición de entrada: Good Morning and welcome to Our Lady of Mercy. Una bienvenida muy cálida a la gente de habla española. Today we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation and our presiding celebrant is Archbishop XXX, our pastor Fr. Ron will be concelebrating. All the music and Spanish responses for today’s Eucharist may be found in the worship aid. (IF bilingual): Please remember that even though some parts of the Mass will be in Spanish, you are encouraged to respond loudly and with faith filled hearts.
Order Of Procession
- Incense Bearer
- Cross Bearer
- Deacon with Book of Gospels (if available)
- Concelebrating Priests
- Crozier Bearer and Miter Bearer
Entrance or Gathering Song: When the Bishop arrives at the altar, he may incense the Altar. The Entrance Song or background music should accompany the incensation.
Fr. Ron will welcome the bishop after the liturgical greeting.
Rite of Sprinkling: When Confirmation is celebrated during the Easter Season, and to highlight the bond between Confirmation and Baptism, The Rite of Sprinkling replaces the Penitential Rite. (This is only if the bishop wishes to do so)
Gloria: It is preferred that the Gloria be sung rather than recited. It also may be sung during the Sprinkling Rite.
Opening Prayer: Prayed aloud by the Bishop.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
Scripture Readings All Scripture readings should be proclaimed from the ambo.
Gospel: A Priest or Deacon proclaims the Gospel; if a Deacon is not available, one of the Priests proclaims the Gospel. Incensation of the Book normally takes place. The priest or deacon receives a blessing from the Bishop while the Bishop is seated. The Gospel book is brought back to the Bishop for reverencing after the proclamation of the Gospel has been completed. All remain standing until the Bishop has reverenced the Gospel book.
RITE OF CONFIRMATION
Presentation of the Candidates: After the Gospel, before the homily, the Pastor presents the candidates for Confirmation in these or similar words:
Bishop <name>, the parish community of <parish name here> wishes to present to you its young men and women [and adult candidates] who have prepared and are ready to receive the fullness of Christian Initiation in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Each candidate has been well instructed and is accompanied by a sponsor. It is my privilege to present them to you at this time. I invite the candidates for Confirmation to please stand once there name is read and respond by saying present..
(The Confirmation candidates remain standing until the Bishop invites them to be seated.)
Homily: The Bishop will give the homily.
RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL PROMISES
After the homily, ONLY THE CANDIDATES TO BE CONFIRMED STAND and renew their Baptismal Promises in a voice to be heard by all. The Bishop leads the renewal with the following form
|Bishop||Do you believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?|
|Bishop||Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?|
|Bishop||Do you reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises?|
|Bishop||Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who came upon the apostles at Pentecost and today is given to you sacramentally in confirmation?|
|Bishop||Do you believe in the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?|
Following this renewal, the Bishop gives his assent to the candidates' profession of faith and proclaims the faith of the Church with these words:
|Bishop||This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus our Lord.|
|NOTE: It will be necessary to print the Baptismal Promises in the worship aid if we use the Spanish form which requires the assembly’s response.|
THE LAYING ON OF HANDS
During the Imposition of Hands the CANDIDATES ONLY WILL KNEEL. The Bishop, without miter, stands facing the candidates and addresses the assembly in these words:
|Bishop||My dear friends, in Baptism God our Father gave the new birth of eternal life to his chosen sons and daughters. Let u pray to our Father that he will pour out the Holy Spirit to strengthen his sons and daughters with his gifts and anoint them to be more like Christ the Son of God.|
All pray in silence for a short time. The Bishop extends his hands over the candidates and prays:
|Bishop||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. We ask this through Christ our Lord.|
|NOTE: It is not necessary to print these two prayers in the worship aid.|
THE ANOINTING WITH CHRISM
The priest brings the parish’s decanter of Chrism to the Bishop.
The candidates approach the Bishop two by two, with their sponsors. The candidates kneel for the anointing. The sponsor places his/her right hand on the left shoulder of the candidate. The sponsor should state the Confirmation name loudly and clearly to the Bishop. Candidates should likewise be rehearsed to speak their "Amen" and “And also with you” in an audible voice. Care should be taken to keep the procession moving toward the site of anointing in a respectful pace, without undue delay.
The Bishop dips his right thumb in the Chrism and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of the one to be confirmed using this formula:
|Bishop||<name of Confirmandi> be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.|
|Bishop||Peace be with you.|
|Confirmandi||And also with you|
The procession of candidates and sponsors to the Bishop should be planned allowing the assembly maximum visibility of the Rite, e.g., the candidates and sponsors might process up the side aisles and return down the center aisle. The newly confirmed and their sponsors should be seated upon returning to their places.
The oil is left on the forehead of the candidate.
The Anointing with Chrism is accompanied by a dialogue between the Bishop and Candidate. Only very soft, background instrumental music should accompany this rite—but no singing, in order not to render inaudible the words spoken by the Bishop and the candidate. In the past we have sung Veni Sancti Spiritu and may do so in the future as long as the choir uses no microphones.
After the last person has been confirmed, two acolytes approach the Bishop with the pitcher of water, bowl, lemon, soap, and two towels. At this time, those who will proclaim the General Intercessions should approach the podium and be in place.
Profession of Faith: The Profession of Faith is omitted, since it has already been proclaimed in the Renewal of Baptismal Promises.
General Intercessions: These are prepared by the priest and read by the assigned lector of the day.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Presentation of the Gifts: It is appropriate that two or three of the newly-confirmed present the gifts of the people (bread, wine, optional gifts for the poor) to the Bishop.
Eucharistic Prayer: The decision about which Eucharist Prayer to pray is reserved to the Bishop.
Prayer After Communion: Before the prayer, a brief silence is observed.
Announcements: If there are any announcements they should be brief and follow the Prayer after Communion. Expressions of gratitude to all who have helped in the Confirmation process are more fittingly printed in the worship aid, and not voiced during the liturgy.
Final Blessing: The Bishop will impart either the "Solemn Blessing" or the "Prayer over the People" from the Rite of Confirmation. The assembly will respond "Amen" to the Blessing.