The sacrament of Confirmation is different yet connected to the sacrament of Baptism. While the sacrament of Baptism is about a rebirth to a wholly forgiven and enriched supernatural life, the sacrament of Confirmation is of the maturity and coming of age within the faith. Confirmation is the rite in which Catholics receive a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Through the rite of Confirmation, the Holy Spirit provides an enriched ability to practice and witness the works of Christ in their everyday situation. Confirmation serves as a secure commitment to the Catholic faith and its doctrines.
It is said that once you undergo the rite of Confirmation, a special mark or character is placed upon your soul—a seal that can never be removed. Christ himself once declared that he was marked with his Father’s seal. It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commission us—he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. This seal of the Holy Spirit marks and signifies our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service forever, as well as the promise of his divine protection in the great eschatological trial.
In the Catholic faith, this rite is normally administered upon the youth of around the 12th grade who are poised to take on a more active, mature, and adult role in the Church. They who are going to undergo the sacrament are called “confirmands” and would need to have gone through the sacrament of Baptism to be considered a candidate for confirmation. There usually needs to a period of instruction or preparation before undergoing the sacrament in order for the confrimand to truly understand and decide if they are willing and able to undergo the rite.
For the youth that already attend Catholic schools, in the year or a few months before their Confirmation ritual, they may find their usual religious classes to be centered solely on the rite and what it means for those who practice the Catholic faith.
For any who are already baptized and who are in danger of death, even infants, may receive the rite of confirmation. Confirmation is administered by a Bishop but even priests may also perform the sacrament. The rite is done during the Mass. The presiding Bishop or priest performs a laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism which is accompanied by prayer. Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism is quite rich in its meaning. The oil that is used is a sign of abundance and joy. The oil cleanses and soothes the soul of the anointed which fully enables the recipient to fully channel the blessings of the Holy Spirit.
To be able to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, one must be in a state of grace. Confirmands must receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit to come. Candidates for Confirmation need to seek out a spiritual sponsor, much like in baptism. A sponsor (preferably the godparents) helps to emphasize the unity of the two sacraments (Baptism and Confirmation).