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The sacrament by which, through the laying on of hands, anointing with chrism, and prayer, a baptized person is strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that he can steadfastly profess the Catholic faith.
This sacrament brings a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as it was once granted to the Apostles at Pentecost.
Confirmation, like Baptism and Holy Orders, places an indelible character or mark on the human soul that God can see, which remains visible for all eternity.
The celebrant for confirmations of born Catholics is usually the bishop, to show recipients the importance of professing the Faith. However, persons who have become complete in the Catholic faith as adults are usually confirmed at their parish church on Easter Vigil. Since the bishop cannot be everywhere at once, the priest usually celebrates these Confirmations.
The essential rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation occurs when the celebrant anoints the recipient with chrism and says, “Name, be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Confirmation is neither a “Catholic bar-mitzvah” nor a Protestant-type confirmation that a person accepts the baptism that he formerly received. It is a strengthening.
Confirmation is not necessary for the salvation of a child under the age of discretion. However, we have a grave obligation to receive this sacrament when we reach the age of discretion. If we make no effort to receive Confirmation after a priest recommends it, we are in mortal sin and cannot attain heaven. We recover by confessing the capital sin of sloth, receiving sacramental absolution, and then as soon as possible thereafter receive Confirmation.
The matter of confirmation is chrism. The person may be immersed in the water, or the water may be poured or sprinkled on the person.
The form of confirmation is the words of the essential rite pronounced by the bishop: “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Confirmation is a sacrament of the living. We must be in the state of grace to receive it fruitfully. It is customary to receive the Sacrament of Penance shortly before receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation. The other two are Baptism and Holy Eucharist.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1285-1321
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
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