What is Confirmation?

ConfirmandsConfirmation is the Order of the Church that follows baptism in a Christian’s life. It is a rite that is administered by the Bishop of the Church upon those who, having been baptized—either as an infant, child or adult—and having now reached an age of accountability, desire to make a personal affirmation of their Baptismal Vows—vows made on their behalf by parents and godparents if they were baptized as infants—and to renew their commitments to those vows and to their relationships with God.

Although, unlike Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Confirmation is not considered to be one of the Biblical Sacraments, it still is a very important event in the life of Christians and it is also the beginning of their ministries as a part of the priesthood of all who believe in Jesus (1 Peter 2:9).1

Confirmation is a two-part rite. In first part, individuals personally proclaim their rejection of the world, its ways and its ruler (the Devil), and, by the Holy Spirit’s help, affirm their desire to be in relationship with God, to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and to adhere to the tenets of the faith as outlined in the Creeds and 10 Commandments.

In the second part of the rite, the Confirmands, through the prayers of the Bishop and Congregation and by the laying on of hands by the Bishop, are blessed by God, the Holy Spirit. We pray that the Confirmand may receive the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, spiritual strength, knowledge, godliness and reverence—or awe—for God.2 We hope that they may experience continued repentance from sin, grow and be strengthened in knowledge and in expression of the gifts of the Spirit, and that they may have the assurance of God’s abiding presence with them for the rest of their lives and the firm hope of everlasting life in Christ.3

For youth this is also the point at which, in St. Thomas’ tradition, they are admitted to Holy Communion, and, for youth as well as adults, that they are fully a part of the ministry of Christ’s Body, the Holy Catholic Church.

Confirmation is of particular importance for youth since it also serves as a rite of passage for them: they each take a personal step in their relationship with God and accept responsibility for it. We live in a post-modern, post-enlightenment culture which lacks many of the historical rites of passage that have traditionally been a part of society—and continue to be in many non-western cultures. As a result there is a growing tendency for Western youth to experience an extended adolescence and to be inhibited in many ways from the need to grow up and take responsibility for themselves and for their actions.

By participating in the Confirmation course at St. Thomas, Confirmands will learn the content and nature of the Christian faith. Then, at Confirmation, they will have the opportunity to affirm these beliefs as their own and to enter into a new stage of life as full participants of the household of God.

To register for the class, please call the Church office at (713) 666-3111 or email Sharon Lambert.

Grace and Peace,
(The Rev’d) Mathew Fenlon

Notes

  1.  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 ESV
  2. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2 ESV
  3.  Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel Philippians 1:27 ESV