When a person has been baptized into the church, he may later choose to affirm his faith through the process of Confirmation, a Christian rite celebrated by Catholics and Protestants alike. A sponsor or Godparent serves as a role model in the Christian faith, encouraging the candidate to learn more about Christian teachings. After Confirmation, the confirmed person, the sponsor and the church share the responsibility to ensure that the confirmed person grows in the faith.
Two Views of Confirmation
Confirmation can be seen from two different perspectives in a church parish; it can be viewed as a one-time event or as a lifelong process. Those who treat Confirmation as a one-time event, see it as a rite of passage into full membership in a church or as a graduation from childhood to adult faith. A second perspective is to consider Confirmation as a repeatable rite that can be celebrated more than once and that serves to remind believers of the pledges made at their baptism throughout their lives.
The church continues to be responsible for the development and growth of confirmed members after the Confirmation event. Churches can follow up with confirmed members to hear their experiences and help them reflect on the rite of Confirmation. Churches are tasked to ensure that confirmed members have opportunities for meaningful worship and service by providing regular worship services or masses. Churches can plan small, inter-generational groups to share experiences on becoming more involved in the parish or offer classes that study the Christian faith at a level that is more in depth than Confirmation courses.
Sponsors are chosen to mentor a Confirmation candidate based on their unique ability to serve a role model in the Christian faith. After confirmation, the sponsor continues to pray for the life of the confirmed person and maintains contact by making visits, sending emails or calling. Sponsors may also attend retreats and participate in service projects with the confirmed person. Sponsors should also be ready to answer questions the confirmed person has about the Christian life.
Confirmed Person's Responsibilities
Confirmation brings the privilege of being a full member of a church parish. Among the responsibilities is regular attendance at worship services or mass or even participation in worship by reading the Scripture, being a liturgical minister or helping with maintenance. For Catholics, going to confession is also an important duty. Confirmed persons can look for other ways to be active in parish life by participating in service projects, joining youth groups or attending Bible study. Churches also encourage confirmed persons to have an active prayer life.
- The Church of England: What is Confirmation?
- The People of the United Methodist Church: Confirmation, Confirmation, A Lifelong Opportunity
- Office of Lifelong Faith Formation: Suggestions for Involvement
- Youth Ministry Associates: Understanding Confirmation as a Lifelong Process
- St. Patrick Catholic Church Religious Education K-8: Confirmation Interview
- St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church: The Expectations of Being a Sponsor
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