Sacrament of




Confirmation began as one and the same sacrament as baptism.  While it is true that whole families were brought into the Church at once (Acts 16:15, 31-34), at this time, adult baptism was the norm.  At the Easter Vigil, deacons would baptize converts who would then go immediately to their bishop, who was present at the baptism, and the bishop would confirm (i.e. acknowledge) their baptism.  With baptism complete, these neophytes were brought to the Eucharistic table for the first time.

This original practice changed over the centuries: Once Christianity was entrenched, baptism became primarily a sacrament of infants, those born into Christianity and baptized at their birth, rather than of adult converts baptized at the Easter Vigil.

  • 300s: As Christianity continued to grow, bishops could no longer be at every baptism.  Instead, they would come later to confirm those already baptized.  We can already see a president for this separation between baptism and confirmation at the time of the Apostles (Acts 8:14-17).  Eventually, confirmation and first Eucharist became sacraments associated not with infants but with older youths.
  • 1000s: Confirmation and First Eucharist became separate rites from each other. 
  • Early 1900s: Many Catholics, while having received baptism, confirmation, and First Eucharist, were not receiving Communion regularly.  Pope Pius X moved First Communion from after confirmation to around age seven.  This was done in hopes of instilling the habit of regular Communion from an early age, and today many Catholics do receive Eucharist regularly.  Thus, First Communion now normally precedes confirmation.
  • Late 1900s: The RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, revives the original sacramental order.  Since RCIA candidates are confirmed at the Easter Vigil, the bishop appoints delegates, parish pastors, to confirm in his absence, for he cannot be at all of the parishes in a diocese in one evening.  Outside of the RCIA, the Church typically still follows the order recommended by Pope Pius X.

What is Confirmation?

“Both confirms baptism and strengthens baptismal grace.” 

CCC 1289

“[Is] a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit [and] his gifts”

CCC 1309

“Gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith…as true witnesses of Christ.”

CCC 1303

“[Is] a more intimate union with Christ.”

CCC 1309

“Marks our total belonging to Christ.”

CCC 1296

“[Awakens] a sense of belonging to the Church of…Christ.”

CCC 1309

What confirmation is NOT

  • Uniquely a sacrament of the Holy Spirit.  It shares this honor with baptism.  Indeed, the two sacraments are not really separate.  Confirmation continues what baptism started.  Confirmation is never independent of baptism; rather it is a completion of baptism.  With the reception of the sacraments of baptism, first Eucharist, and confirmation, one’s baptism is complete and one is a fullmember of the Catholic Church.
  • A rite of passage into adulthood, nor merely a renewal of Christian commitment.  When confirmation is administered to those who are older, these confirmation candidates must be given a choice in the matter.  This choice, though, while perhaps quite significant, is not the main point of the sacrament.  In fact, some legitimate and ancient Catholic liturgical traditions prescribe the confirmation of infants immediately after their baptism and immediately before their first Eucharist.
  • Required for marriage in the Catholic Church.  The Church encourages confirmation before marriage but does not require the sacrament. If confirmation is not possible before marriage, then the Church encourages one to seek confirmaton soon after the wedding.
  • A way to keep teens in religious education classes, nor is it a graduation from religious education.  Religious education is a life long process.  Parishes do well to have religious education classes for all four grades of high school, as well as adult education programs

Confirmation seals the recipient of the sacrament with the Holy Spirit. What exactly does this mean?

  • In ancient times, wax seals were used to ensure security.  Wax was melted and poured onto a scroll.  The wax held the scroll closed in such a way that if someone would read the scroll, the seal would be broken and it would be obvious that someone other than the intended recipient had read it.This, however, is not very secure by itself.  All the spy has to do is replace the seal with new wax and no one will know that he has read the proprietary material.A step up in security, then, is a sealing ring.  The ring has a unique design that, when pressed into the hot wax, cannot be easily reproduced by someone else (someone who does not have that unique ring).This method of sealing has the additional effect, then, of being like a return address label, letting the recipient know who sent you the scroll, in case there was any question.Being sealed with the Holy Spirit, then, is being marked for the Holy Spirit.  Essentially, confirmation says, “This person is the property of the Holy Spirit.”
Three Different Ways to Be


Teen Confirmation

For you who…

  • Were baptized Catholic at some point between birth and age seven,
  • And are now in 10th or 11th grade,
  • Have received your First Communion,
  • Are enrolled in religious education this year and were last year as well, and
  • Who have not been confirmed but want to be.

The presider at teen Confirmations is always a bishop.


For you who…

  • Were baptized Catholic at some point between birth and age seven,
  • Are now eighteen years of age or older,
  • Have received some Catholic education and your First Communion,
  • Practice your Catholic faith, and
  • Who have not been confirmed but want to be.

One of our local bishops presides at the confirmation Mass.

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)

For you who…

  • Are either baptized or unbaptized, but are not Catholic,
  • Are now seven years of age or older, and
  • Wish to become full members of the Catholic Church.

Or for you who…

  • Were baptized Catholic at some point between birth and age seven,
  • Are now seven years of age or older,
  • Who have received no religious education or sacrament beyond baptism, and
  • Wish to become full members of the Catholic Church.

In both cases, confirmation is celebrated (typically at the Easter Vigil) along with first Eucharist and, if necessary, baptism, with the pastor of the parish as the presider.

Where to find us

Holy Family Parish

Find one of us 6 Churches on the Galveston/Bolivar Peninsula area.