Liturgical Guidelines for Confirmations
- Deacons at the celebration:
- If the Bishop is celebrating the Sacraments at the parish, a Cathedral Deacon will be assigned to assist the Bishop. Deacons from the parish will also assist as there should be three Deacons at the liturgy.
- If a Dean is assigned to celebrate the liturgy, the Deacons of the parish will assist the Dean unless the parish specifically requests a Cathedral Deacon be assigned to the Dean.
- Please provide a clearly marked parking place for the Bishop or Dean. It is helpful to inform them of where this spot will be prior to their arrival.
- For Confirmation only, the Mass text will normally be the proper ritual Mass for Confirmation found in the Sacramentary, with the preface of the Holy Spirit, using red vestments. When Confirmation is celebrated together with the First Eucharist, one might consider choosing prayers from the Ritual Mass for Baptism #1 or from the Ritual Mass for Confirmation set A or B. When Confirmation is celebrated together with First Eucharist, the color of vestments is white. It is appropriate for the Pastor and other priests assigned to the parish to distribute first communion to the candidates. On the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Eastertide, and on other solemnities, the Mass is that of the day with the appropriate colored vestments.
- Three scripture readings will always be proclaimed, taken from among those selections found in the lectionary for the ritual Mass of Confirmation, or in the case of a solemnity or Sunday from the Mass of the day.
- Allpriests present are invited to concelebrate the Eucharist with the Bishop/Dean.
- It is appropriate that two of the candidates read the scriptures, but only if they are well prepared and able to proclaim the text. Otherwise, a trained lector should be used.
- The Profession of Faith is omitted since the Bishop/Dean will lead the candidates in the renewal of the Baptismal Promises as a part of the Rite.
- Enough altar servers should be provided to perform the normal duties of serving Mass. (If the Bishop is present additional servers may be appointed to handle his miter and crosier.)
- Altar servers should be appropriately trained and dressed. No torn jeans, logo t-shirts or tattered shoes should be worn under the servers albs and cassocks. Albs and cassocks should be the appropriate length so that the clothing worn under the albs cannot be seen.
- Confirmation/First Eucharist certificates are not distributed during the liturgy.
- The community should be encouraged to refrain from taking flash pictures during the liturgies. The communities should be reminded that this is a celebration of the solemn sacraments and they should refrain from walking, blocking or standing in the aisles and walking into the sanctuary areas during the conferring of the sacraments.
- Please remind the candidates for Confirmation to dress in a modest fashion (no spaghetti straps or bare shoulders, no shorts etc.)
- The Bishop/Dean will be happy to pose with the Confirmandi for candid photos outside the Church after Mass, but not for professional photographers.
- At the end of the ceremony, the Bishop and the ministers will leave first in procession, followed by the newly confirmed.
- The Rite as presented in the Roman Pontifical will be followed exactly. Please consult the Office of Worship if you need clarification.
- The Gospel is proclaimed by a Deacon or one of the concelebrating Priests.
- Immediately after the Gospel, the pastor presents the candidates to the Bishop/Dean. The whole group is presented at one time. The candidates rise when presented and remain standing while the Bishop/Dean addresses them. The Bishop/Dean will instruct them to be seated at the appropriate time.
- The Bishop/Dean addresses the candidates in the homily.
- Following the homily, the Bishop/Dean leads the candidates in the renewal of the Baptismal promises. Then, the Bishop/Dean and the priests present impose hands over those to be confirmed. Those to be confirmed kneel for this, while everyone else stands. (During the Easter Season all remain standing.)
- The candidates then approach the Bishop, with their Sponsors (Parents may not be sponsors at Confirmation.) Name tags should be worn by the candidates and include only the name chosen for Confirmation. Sponsors do not need to verbally present candidates for Confirmation. It is important especially when there are a large number of candidates to keep the procession moving. Long pauses for pictures or other reasons in between candidates coming forward to be confirmed add up when we are confirming large numbers.
- During the anointing the sponsor places his/her hand on the candidate’s right shoulder.
- For the anointing, a Deacon/Assistant stands with the Bishop/Dean with the container of chrism.
- Those in charge of preparing the candidates should be sure that they are aware of the two responses they will be asked to make during the reception of the anointing: “Amen” and “And also with you.”
- After the anointing, the Bishop’s/Dean’s hands are washed. A lemon sliced in four parts should be prepared and then a basin and plenty of water in a separate pitcher is sufficient.
- During the prayers of the faithful, petitions are made by a Deacon. It is appropriate that some of the candidates present the gifts in the procession at the offertory.
- The person in charge of the music for the ceremony should meet with the Bishop/Dean immediately beforehand to explain which parts of the liturgy will be sung.
- First Eucharist is distributed at the beginning of the communion rite by the Pastor and priests assigned to the parish. It is customary for the Pastor to invite the Bishop to assist with First Communion. The Dean will assist in distribution after First Communion is complete.
Order for Rite of Confirmation within a Mass
- Liturgy of the Word
- Presentation of Candidates
- Renewal of Baptismal Promises
- Laying on of Hands
- Anointing with Chrism
- General Intercessions
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Since the celebration of Confirmation/First Eucharistis a solemn occasion in the parish, as much singing as possible should take place. Although a choir is always appropriate, care must be taken that the congregation has full opportunity to share in the singing. Music and singing may be included at every proper place in the liturgy, but at least the following parts of the Mass must always be sung:
- Entrance song
- Alleluia/ Gospel Acclamation
- Acclamations at the Eucharistic Prayer: Holy, Holy, Holy; Memorial Acclamation; and the Great Amen
- Communion processional
- Recessional (sung or instrumental)
CHECK LIST OF ITEMS TO PREPARE BEFOREHAND:
- Everything normally needed for Mass.
- Bread and wine prepared for the offertory procession.
- A lemon sliced in four parts, plus a large dry bowl with a pitcher with plenty of water, and a large towel.
- The Sacramentary and lectionary arranged for the proper texts.
- The Bishop/Dean will bring the book containing the Rite of Confirmation. Chrism from the parish will be used.
- Servers to assist Bishop with miter and pastoral staff.
(From the Rite of Confirmation)
The general intercessions follow, in this form:
Bishop: My brothers and sisters: Let us be one in prayer to God our Father as we are one in the faith, hope and love his Spirit gives.
Deacon or minister: For our brothers and sisters, confirmed by the gift of the Spirit, that with faith and love as the foundation of their lives they may be witnesses to Christ the Lord. Let us pray to the Lord.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.
Deacon or minister: For the parents and godparents who brought these newly-confirmed to the faith, that by word and example they may encourage them to follow the way of Jesus Christ. Let us pray to the Lord,
Deacon or minister: For the holy Church of God, in union with N. our pope, N. our Bishop, and all the Bishops, that God, who gathers us together by the Holy Spirit, may help us grow in unity of faith and love until his Son returns in glory. Let us pray to the Lord,
Deacon or minister: For the whole world, that all who have but one Father, one Maker, may see beyond racial and national differences to their common brotherhood, and seek the kingdom of God in the peace of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray to the Lord,
Bishop: God our Father, you sent the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and through them and their successors you give the Spirit to your people. May the faith and love that spread everywhere when the gospel was first preached Continue to grow through the hearts of all who believe.
Published by the Office of Worship with the approval of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, April 2006.