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Rite for confirmation apart from danger of death

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When Administered by a Priest by Delegation of the Holy See Apart From the Case of Danger of Death

(Or When Administered by a Bishop or Lesser Prelate)

{For their convenience, the rite is arranged also for bishops and lesser prelates. The Motu Proprio "Sacram Liturgiam" of Paul VI specifies that confirmation may be administered in Mass, after the Gospel and homily (see also the notes for Rite I for Confirmation). For points of commentary, in addition to that given here, consult the introduction to confirmation. The music supplement contains an English processional hymn for the bishop's solemn entry and other appropriate music.}

1. When a priest administers confirmation in virtue of the faculty granted him by the Holy See, he is vested in surplice, white stole and even a cope of the same color. (A bishop or lesser prelate wears the vestments proper to his office.) He stands before the altar facing the people, who are arranged men on the right, women on the left. (A bishop first washes his hands before taking his position at the altar.) The priest explains to all present that a bishop alone is the ordinary minister of confirmation and that he himself is to confirm by special delegation of the Holy See.

2. Then, if the delegation was granted by indult, the pertinent document is read aloud and clearly in the vernacular. After this the priest admonishes that no one of the confirmed is to leave before the blessing which he will give at the end of the ceremony. If for a valid reason infants are admitted to the sacrament, the priest instructs the sponsors to hold them in the right arm. As for the adult candidates, he directs them to place one foot on the right foot of the sponsor, or he directs the sponsors to place the right hand on the right shoulder of the person being confirmed.

3. Now that all is ready the ceremony begins. As the candidates kneel before him with folded hands, the celebrant, remaining in the same position, folds his hands on his breast and says:

May the Holy Spirit come upon you, and may the power of the Most High keep you from sin.

All: Amen

4. Then, as he makes the sign of the cross on himself, he continues:

Celebrant: Our help is in the name of the Lord. All: Who made heaven and earth. Celebrant: Lord, heed my prayer. All: And let my cry be heard by you. Celebrant: The Lord be with you. All: May He also be with you.

First Laying on of Hands

{Laying on of hands, an ancient symbol of conferring a power, dignity, or an office, takes two forms, the one involving actual contact, laying hands on the head of the subject as will happen later; the other without it, in simply stretching forth hands over the subject as happens here. St. Luke, for example, says that at the ascension our Lord lifted up His hands and blessed the disciples (24.50). The latter method can also be seen in the sign of the cross which accompanies absolution or a blessing.}

5. Next he holds his hands outstretched over the recipients, saying:

Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, who once gave new life to these servants of yours by water and the Holy Spirit, forgiving them all their sins; send forth on them from heaven your Holy Spirit, the Advocate, along with His sevenfold gifts.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: The Spirit of wisdom and understanding.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: The Spirit of counsel and fortitude.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: The Spirit of knowledge and piety.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: Fill them with the Spirit of holy fear, and seal them with the sign of the cross + of Christ, in token of everlasting life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

{The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit just enumerated had been promised to the sacred humanity of the Messiah by the prophet Isaia (11.2 Sept.). What is given to our Lord is given to us, His members, by extension, first in baptism and now in fuller measure and in another phase in confirmation, enabling us to witness Christ and the Church to the world, to remain strong, steadfast, and sinless in the faith.}

Second Laying on of Hands and Anointing

{Confirmation is the completion of baptism and the making of a perfect Christian. Its minister now fixes Christ's seal on the baptized to close the vessel into which the Holy Spirit has poured His grace, to preserve this holy thing for God. The Christian, as a witness of Christ, receives the seal of the cross as well as the anointing with chrism on his forehead, for he ought to be proud of his faith and to radiate it in an unblushing front, in demeanor redolent of sincerity and conviction. His very body, too, is consecrated and raised up to its proper role as image of the soul. The whole man is engaged in the duty of being a prophet, yes, even a martyr of God. The fragrant perfume in the chrism of anointing signifies the fragrance of a virtuous life that should characterize the new people of God.}

6. Then the celebrant confirms them (a bishop wears the mitre at this time, and so does a higher prelate, such as a protonotary apostolic), as they kneel in line, first the males then the females. When one row is finished all rise and others kneel in place, and so on till the end. The celebrant asks the name of each one as he is presented by the godfather or the godmother; and dipping the tip of his thumb in chrism he confirms in the following way: laying his right hand on the head of the recipient he marks with his thumb the sign of the cross on the person's forehead, while saying the first part of the form up to the word cross inclusive, and goes on with the rest of the form, making a threefold sign of the cross over him at the places indicated:

N., I seal you with the sign of the + cross; and I confirm you with the chrism that sanctifies; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Then he strikes the confirmed lightly on the cheek, saying:

Peace be with you.

{This last action is a token of the kiss of peace given in earlier times; but it now has an added significance of reminding the confirmed to be ready at all times to suffer for the faith.}

7. Now a linen band is fastened around the head to cover the spot just anointed. But if this practice is not observed any longer, the priest wipes the spot carefully with cotton which is later burned. (When a bishop or prelate confirms, one of the assistants wipes off the chrism.)

8. After all have been confirmed the celebrant cleanses his fingers with bread and washes them over a bowl. The water together with the bread is poured into the sacrarium, and the same is done with the ashes of the burnt cotton.

9. During the washing of hands the entire congregation sings or recites the following antiphon (or if a priest confirms, and there is no one to sing the antiphon, he recites it himself later). The celebrant may intone the antiphon up to the asterisk (see the music supplement for the notes and organ accompaniment to this):


Confirm, O God, * the work you have begun in us from your heavenly sanctuary, the new Jerusalem. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Confirm, O God, the work you have begun in us from your heavenly sanctuary, the new Jerusalem.

{The prayer above is an Old Testament prayer from a psalm verse, but used here by the Church in an accommodated sense. It adds no new thought but is rather a part of the whole signification of this sacrament, recalling that God's work in the recipient began at baptism and is now being given a finishing touch.}

10. After the antiphon the celebrant. now standing with hands joined and facing the altar, sings or recites the following verses to which al present make the responses (a bishop or protonotary removes the mitre at this point):

Celebrant: Lord, show us your mercy.

All: And grant us your salvation.

Celebrant: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

Celebrant: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

While the newly confirmed kneel, the celebrant continues singing or reciting the following prayer:

Let us pray.

God, who gave to your apostles the Holy Spirit, ordaining that they and their successors should hand down that Gift to the rest of the faithful; look with favor on our lowly service, and grant that the same Holy Spirit may come on these persons whose brow we have anointed with holy chrism and sealed with the sign of the holy cross. May He consecrate their heart as a worthy dwelling for His glory. We ask this through you, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

11. Then he adds:

See, thus shall everyone be blessed who lives in the fear of the Lord.

Turning to the newly confirmed he blesses them with the sign of the cross:

The Lord bless + you from Sion on high, that you may see the glory of Jerusalem all your days and be rewarded with everlasting life.

All: Amen.

12. At the end of confirmation the celebrant is seated (a bishop and a protonotary wear the mitre at this time), and he counsels the sponsors to foster right living in their godchildren, to shun evil and do good and to teach them the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Hail Mary. It is customary in the U. S. for the celebrant to recite the last-named prayers with the congregation.

12a. If a bishop has confirmed, he may add the pontifical blessing at this time he wears the mitre and holds the crozier. If a protonotary apostolic gives this blessing, he wears the mitre but makes the sign of the cross only once while imparting the blessing.

Celebrant: May the name of the Lord be blessed.

All: Both now and forevermore.

Celebrant: Our help is in the name of the Lord. All: Who made heaven and earth. Celebrant: May almighty God bless you, the Father, Son, + and Holy + Spirit. All: Amen.

The following additional directives are given in the new "Instruction" of September 26, 1964:

no. 64. If confirmation is conferred within Mass, it is fitting that Mass be celebrated by the bishop himself. In this case he confers confirmation while vested in the Mass vestments. The Mass within which confirmation is conferred may be celebrated as a votive Mass of class II, of the Holy Spirit.

no. 65. After the Gospel and homily, before the reception of confirmation, it is praiseworthy that those to be confirmed renew the promises of baptism, according to the rite lawfully in use in the individual regions, unless this has already taken place before Mass.

no. 66. If the Mass is celebrated by another, it is fitting that the bishop assist at the Mass wearing the vestments prescribed for the conferral of confirmation, which may be either the color of the Mass or white. The bishop himself should give the homily, and the celebrant should resume the Mass only after confirmation.

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