When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”
They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, “What does this mean?”
The Sacrament of Confirmation finds its foundation in the great events of Pentecost, which saw the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles in Jerusalem. Before ascending into heaven, Christ promised not to abandon us, but to send the Holy Spirit to fill, guide, and strengthen us until He comes again. The Holy Spirit of God is above all a transforming spirit. It took a group of frightened, uncertain people and remade them into fearless witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ. The scriptures tell us that there are seven signs by which we may identify someone filled with the Holy Spirit: Charity, Joy, Peace, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, and Faithfulness.
The Holy Spirit of Pentecost is a gift passed on through generation after generation in the Church by the laying on of hands in an unbroken line of succession stretching back to the Apostles present that first Pentecost day. In the Sacrament of Confirmation the bishop, a successor of the Apostles, transmits the Holy Spirit in a powerful way to the candidate, using prayer and an anointing with the sacred oil of chrism. The Holy Spirit is a living and powerful help and guide to those with open and prayerful hearts.
Following Baptism and First Eucharist, Confirmation is the final sacrament of initiation. Once Confirmed, a man or woman is considered a full member of the Catholic Church. Provided one practices the faith by attending Mass weekly and living a life in keeping with the moral teachings of the faith, a Confirmed Catholic now qualifies to serve as a Godparent for Baptism or as a Sponsor for another’s Confirmation.
For information about St. Mary’s Confirmation program for Catholic teens, click here.
If you are a non-Catholic, or a Catholic seeking Confirmation as an adult, click here to read about RCIA (The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).
To read more about the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, click here.