The Sacrament of Confirmation
Friday 19th May 2017
Augustinians are confirmed
The institution of the Sacrament of Confirmation at Pentecost is told in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2: 1 – 42) when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles as he had promised:
‘When Pentecost day came round, they had all met together, when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves.’ (Acts 2: 1 – 4)
At this time of year candidates for Confirmation gather in their parishes to be confirmed by their Bishop after having undergone programmes of preparation. For several years we have welcomed the Ealing Abbey Confirmation programme candidates who hold their Retreat here at the end of their Confirmation programme.
In Confirmation we are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit; receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord; are made soldiers of Christ to defend the Faith and are made witnesses to spread the Good News to all the earth.
Every year pupils from St Augustine’s Priory are confirmed at their parishes during May and June. The pupils this year who have been, or are soon to be, confirmed are: Cordelia Beadsworth, Emilie Walsham, Sorcha Tipping, Naomi Jeffries, Amelia Phillips, Antonia Higgins and Taylor Cameron.
Sorcha Tipping and Cordelia Beadsworth, Upper IV Alpha, were two of the St Augustine’s Priory pupils who were confirmed at Ealing Abbey on 13th May and they here tell us of their experience preparing for and undergoing the Sacrament of Confirmation:
‘On 13th May Cordelia Beadsworth, Sorcha Tipping, Naomi Jeffries and Emilie Walsham received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Ealing Abbey. In September last year we started our Confirmation course, learning about many Catholics beliefs and about the Sacrament of Confirmation. These sessions happened once a month at Ealing Abbey’s Church Hall and, although the sessions were long lasting, it was well worth it when our day to be confirmed came.
The service started at ten o’clock in the morning, and we were confirmed by Bishop John Wilson. The Mass started as usual but, after the Gospel reading, all the candidates stood and renewed their Baptismal Promises. This is when the Bishop asks us to promise that we will reject Satan, believe in God, his son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Catholic Church. We all responded “I do”. After this came the Laying on of the Hands, which is when the candidates all kneel down and the Bishop blesses us. Next, we each walked up with our sponsors, (someone close to you, who the candidate chooses who promises to help guide us in our faith). We approached the Bishop, told him the saint’s name we wished to choose, which would become our second name, and also explained why we chose that particular saint. In our cases, Sorcha chose St Angela, because she was inspired by her passion for teaching, and Cordelia chose St Rose of Lima, because St Rose believed in the power of prayer and was generous and kind towards the poor. The Bishop then told us to follow the example of these Saints and our sponsors also promised to help guide us through this path.
Finally, the Bishop anointed us with Chrism, an oil he puts on the forehead of the candidates in the shape of a cross. After this we continued with the Mass and, at the end, the Bishop blessed the whole congregation. After the blessing, and when the service had finished, all the candidates joined the Bishop for photographs to remember this special occasion. We then went home and celebrated with all our friends and family our receiving of the Holy Spirit.’
Congratulations to all those who have received, or are about to receive, the Sacrament of Confirmation. The words of Pope Francis on Confirmation are an inspiring guide for all of us, but especially for Confirmation candidates:
‘Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide. Pay attention, my young friends: to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage! There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives. With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of being his disciples, his witnesses.’