Today we welcome our Bishop, R. Daniel Conlon who will confirm 84 of our young high school parishioners. We congratulate and welcome these young adults as fully initiated members of the Church. Here is a little bit of history on Confirmation.
In the early Church the three Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist – were celebrated in the same ceremony by adult catechumens at the Easter Vigil which was presided over by the bishop. Then by the fourth century when Constantine proclaimed Christianity the state religion, many more people, with their children were being baptized, and not just at the Easter Vigil. Christianity also spread from the cities to the countryside. It became impossible for bishops, who were now also involved in governing, to preside at every Baptism.
The bishops of the East solved the problem by delegating the Sacraments of Initiation to the presbyter (priest), reserving for themselves only the blessing of the oil used in the rite. To this day, the Eastern churches initiate with all three sacraments at once, whether the person is an infant or adult. The bishops of the West also delegated Baptism to priests, but retained the function of performing the initial anointing and laying on of hands. This they would do whenever they visited a particular locality. Thus, in the West the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation was done at a later time than the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism. In 1932 it became common in the West to receive Eucharist before Confirmation.
The theological debates continues today about when Confirmation should be administered. Some say put it back in its original order. Some say 8th grade is the right time and others say high school and older. But whenever Confirmation is received, it brings baptismal grace to completion and strengthens us to live our baptismal commission to be a disciple of Jesus, and make more disciples!
Have a blessed week!