Confirmations held in cathedral

May 1, 2012

Bishops Mulvey and Carmody extend blessings over confirmation candidates from Our Lady of Pilar and St. Joseph parishes.  (David Perrone, Picture Playhouse)
 
According to Canon Law, “The sacrament of confirmation strengthens the baptized and obliges them more firmly to be witnesses of Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith. It imprints a character, enriches by the gift of the Holy Spirit the baptized continuing on the path of Christian initiation, and binds them more perfectly to the Church.”

In the Centennial Jubilee year of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey is doing all confirmations at the Corpus Christi Cathedral, the Mother Church of the diocese.

Bishop Mulvey began this year’s confirmations at the Cathedral on March 31 with candidates from the Corpus Christi parishes of St. Joseph and Our Lady of Pilar. Confirmations of some 2,000 candidates will continue at the Cathedral through the month of May.

Having confirmations at the Cathedral “made it special, Yulisa Garcia said.

“This is nice; different, more symbolic. Wasn’t the same ole thing,” said Charlette Valdez whose daughter Mia was confirmed with the group from Our Lady of Pilar Parish.

Except on rare occasions, the bishop is the only one that can perform the sacrament of confirmation. This year, Bishop Emeritus Edmond Carmody is assisting Bishop Mulvey with the confirmations.

Bishop Mulvey embraces Msgr. Marcos Martinez, pastor at Our Lady of Pilar, during confirmation Mass. (Mary Cottingham  South Texas Catholic)
“Confirmation is all about confirming you in the Holy Spirit and to send you out,” Bishop Mulvey said to those making their confirmation. “Never forget what Jesus said,  ‘the Spirit of the Lord is now upon me and He has sent me.’”

Christ came to spread the Good News and commanded His disciples to do the same. The newly confirmed, the bishop said, are also required to evangelize or proclaim the Gospel, which means good news.

“You will be hearing the word evangelization a lot so get used to it,” Bishop Mulvey said. He challenged them to be evangelizers not just in words but also by their example, which takes courage.

The Christian life is all about living Christ not “like Christ.” “Let Christ live in you,” Bishop Mulvey said.

He told the candidates for confirmation that in order to make a difference in their family, school, society and in the world, they must first change themselves. It is too easy to follow the crowd, not to stand out so people will not see “what we are doing,” the bishop said.

“That is not the life of a Christian, that is not he life of a Catholic. A Catholic stands out; a Christian stands out and is noticed, not because they want to be but because their actions are different.

“Where other people are hating other people, we love them; where other people are out looking for revenge because somebody hurt them, we forgive them; where other people see the needs of others who are hungry and ignore them, we help them. That’s what is means to be a disciple of Christ. That’s what it means to be a follower of Christ. And that is what you’re being confirmed into today—into that life,” Bishop Mulvey said.

The bishop invited those confirmed to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in order to change. “You have to make a decision everyday. ‘I don’t have to live like everyone else; I do want to stand out, I do want to be different,’ not to be seen but to be an evangelizer for the New Evangelization, to bring Christi, to be Christ for others,” Bishop Mulvey said.

The bishop confers the sacrament of confirmation through the anointing with chrism oil on the forehead and proclaiming “Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti,” which means, “be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”

He and Bishop Carmody extended their hands over the whole group and invoked the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the words, “All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit You freed Your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in Your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church specifies that “Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit—his actions, his gifts, and his biddings—in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life.”

Each baptized Catholic has the right and the obligation to receive the sacrament of confirmation, but the candidate has the responsibility to personally choose to complete initiation into the faith life of the Church. The parish community bears special responsibility for the preparation of candidates.

In the Diocese of Corpus Christi, students receive confirmation at the end of their sophomore year.  Preparation is a two-year process beginning in the 9th grade. Extensive catechesis is required, distinct from the regular religious education program.

To receive confirmation one should receive the sacrament of penance. Candidates for confirmation, as for baptism, should have the spiritual help of a sponsor. The sponsors should participate with the candidates in their preparation, as well as the celebration.  It is desirable—to emphasize the unity of the two sacraments—to choose as a sponsor the same person that served as sponsor for baptism.

Parents also play an important role as a spiritual companion and advisor; together, the parents and child learn and grow in understanding of Catholic traditions and beliefs.  As part of their continuing support and witness, parents are asked to attend catechetical sessions provided by the parish.

“Rely on the power and strength of God. When that happens, you see your life changed and this is the beautiful transforming powder of the Spirit. You become joyful, you become people of self-control who know right from wrong,” Bishop Mulvey told those receiving confirmation.

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