What Is the Importance of Confirmation in the Catholic Church?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments that Christ gave the church. The sacrament indicates that a person's faith is confirmed and strong. A person who is confirmed also accepts the responsibilities of the faith. Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit endows the confirmed person with spiritual gifts, such as wisdom, understanding, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord.

During the confirmation ceremony, the bishop wears red vestments to symbolize the red tongues of fire that hovered over the heads of the apostles at Pentecost. During the ceremony, each candidate comes forward with a sponsor. The person selects a confirmation name, which is often the name of a canonized saint or a hero from the Bible. The bishop anoints the person with oil and says "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Although bishops normally preside over a confirmation ceremony, a priest can perform the ceremony if necessary. Catholics are usually baptised as infants and confirmed as adolescents. Adult converts are baptised, confirmed and receive their First Communion at the same Mass.

Other religious traditions, such as Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and Latter Day Saint, also practice confirmation, although each has its own unique beliefs and practices.