DIOCESE OF RALEIGH. General Norms for the Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Formation of Candidates

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1 DIOCESE OF RALEIGH General Norms for the Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Formation of Candidates 1. THEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES 1.1 The Sacraments of Initiation Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist constitute the three sacraments of initiation. 1 These sacraments incorporate one into Christ and His Church by means of an immersion into his Paschal Mystery, i.e., his passion, death and resurrection. According to ancient tradition, Baptism initiates one into this paschal life and makes one part of the Body of Christ. It incorporates one into Christ and His Church, pardons sins as well as all punishment for sin, rescues one from the power of darkness and bestows on the individual the dignity of being a child of God. 2 Confirmation strengthens and seals this immersion and incorporation by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Eucharist nourishes the baptized so they may mature in their faith and be strengthened for their mission as the People of God. 1.2 Theological Development of Confirmation 1. Since the Patristic Period, it has been believed that the reception of the Holy Spirit occurred in the totality of Christian Initiation. 3 The baptized receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism and those confirmed also receive the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. This approach is based on the Jordan event where Christ is born of water and the Spirit and focused on making one a member of the Body of Christ, a redeemed people sent forth to evangelize the world as Christ commanded. Hence, Baptism and Confirmation were seen as two sides of one coin with Confirmation following immediately after Baptism. Holy Eucharist was understood to sustain the initiated individual and to strengthen the gifts received in Baptism and Confirmation. It also was understood as the visible sign of unity of those baptized and confirmed. This theological focus is the basis of the ancient catechumenate and its renewed appearance in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults after Vatican II. 2. By the Scholastic Period, a more linear understanding of the sacraments emerged in Roman Catholicism. This approach tended to see the sacraments of initiation in a more sequential order spread out over time. This reflected the praxis of the day for a number of reasons: 1) infants had become the norm for Baptism, 2) the bishop could no longer confirm everyone immediately after Baptism due to the large numbers being baptized, 3) a preference for Paul s emphasis on the relationship of Baptism to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ 1

2 symbolized in the water rite and 4) a growing theological distinction being made between the life-giving Spirit bestowed in Baptism and the prophetic Spirit bestowed in Confirmation. Holy Eucharist remained the third sacrament of Initiation. In this period, Confirmation became increasingly identified as a sacrament bestowing spiritual strength upon the candidates so they could attain spiritual perfection and witness to the faith in both word and deed. 3. Until 1910, Catholics were confirmed before their first reception of the Holy Eucharist. Pope St. Pius X lowered the age of First Communion to the age of discretion that year to encourage a more frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist and to promote the awareness and practice that the reception of Holy Communion was an integral part of the Mass rather than an exceptional experience. 4 With this change, Confirmation gradually became the third sacrament of initiation in order of reception in most of the world for those baptized in infancy as Catholics and who received their First Communion at the age of discretion. This contributed to the understanding that Confirmation was a sacrament of maturity and a personal acceptance of the faith accepted for them earlier by their parents and godparents. 4. The catechumenate was restored at Vatican II 5 as part of the liturgical renewal of the Church and to meet the wide range of pastoral circumstances the Church faced with those seeking the sacraments of initiation who were not being baptized as infants. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and its adaptations for 1) unbaptized children of catechetical age, 2) those baptized in other ecclesial communities seeking full communion with the Catholic Church and 3) those baptized in infancy as Catholics but who never received catechetical formation later in life, has retrieved the older tradition of celebrating Confirmation before the reception of the Holy Eucharist. 5. As a result, two traditions coexist regarding the order in which Confirmation is to be received. Both traditions normally require some type of catechetical formation. 1.3 Evangelization 1. As a sacrament of initiation, the celebration of Confirmation presumes a fundamental evangelization in the lives of the candidates. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults provides a general understanding of this evangelization. 6 Upon the completion of their formation, candidates are expected to have a living, dynamic relationship with God in Christ. There should be evidence of a regular spiritual life, both private and communal, a basic understanding of and commitment to the Church, a sustained relationship with the Christian community and an ability to name experiences of conversion and repentance in their lives. They should have an appropriate acquaintance with the dogmatic and doctrinal tradition of the Church suitable for their age, be regular in their worship of the Lord in a Catholic Church and give evidence of love of neighbor, even at the cost of self-renunciation. 2. In the case of younger candidates, an awareness of how contemporary post-modern culture influences their lives must be incorporated into their formation and evangelization with particular concern to the influence of relativism and secularism. This critique of culture is a 2

3 dimension of evangelization spoken of by Servant of God Pope Paul VI in Evangelization in the Modern World, re-emphasized by Blessed Pope John Paul II in his writings on the new evangelization and declared a significant focus by Pope Benedict XVI. 3. It is also essential that they understand the unique dimensions of the Catholic faith as they live it in a predominantly Protestant nation. Among the characteristics that would distinguish it from Protestantism would be an incarnational and sacramental worldview, the importance of the community and the mediation of grace It is also essential that they understand the unique dimensions of the Catholic faith as they live it in an increasingly secular culture. Some characteristics of secular culture that need to be addressed would be the commodification of Catholicism to secular culture (e.g., going to Mass is one choice among many on Sunday because all choices are of equal value), the increasing sense that one religion is as good as another, the neutralization of values and beliefs (e.g., no value is better than another), that sacrifice and suffering are unnecessary dimensions of human life, the unnecessary role of the Church in the public life of our society, etc. 5. An overview of the formation process for children of catechetical age will be provided later in this document (see #6 below). Adults in formation should follow the theological principles outlined above as incorporated in the parish s catechumenate. Children of catechetical age in formation should follow these principles adapted to their age and development using the overview provided later in this document (see #6 below). 1.4 Holy Spirit The theology of Baptism focuses primarily on the incorporation of the baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the incorporation into the Body of Christ. The theology of the Eucharist focuses primarily on sharing the Body and Blood of Christ and being sent forth to serve the Lord and others. Confirmation emphasizes the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the baptized. All formation for Confirmation should have an explicit treatment of the Holy Spirit as part of the Holy Trinity, as a distinct person within the Holy Trinity and the relationship of the Holy Spirit to a baptized Christian and the Body of Christ. Among the areas of importance regarding the Holy Spirit would be the following: 1. Scripture: a. The Advocate (John 14:16-17, 26; 15: 26; 16:7-15) b. Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-11) c. Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:1-2) d. Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) e. Church and Members as Temple of Holy Spirit (I Cor. 3:16-17; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22-22) 2. Tradition (Nicene Creed): a. Spirit as Divine Lord b. Who proceeds from the Father and the Son 3

4 c. The giver of life d. To be adored and glorified e. Who has spoken through the prophets 1.5 Sacramental Character 1. To be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit imparts a sacramental character upon the confirmand that can never be repeated. It is ritualized in the sign of the cross with Sacred Chrism on the forehead of the candidate by the minister of Confirmation. Its historic roots are tied to the seal by which an owner branded his property. It was like a tattoo and was also connected to the seal made by authorities on official documents and wills. The early Fathers believed that Confirmation branded or sealed one as a sheep of the flock of Christ or as a member of the army of Christ. It was a permanent spiritual marking to verify the authenticity of the sender, God, and the binding relationship between sender and recipient. 2. Addressing the sacramental character of Confirmation as a manifestation of God s irrevocable love and commitment to the candidates is indispensable to candidates who live in and are influenced by a society that both struggles to believe in the power of endless love and commitment and is increasingly unaware of the insatiable desire of God to be in relationship with us. 1.6 Ecclesiology 1. One of the effects of all sacraments is social because they bond the recipient not only to God but also to the community of faith. The community is also a beneficiary of the sacramental grace imparted on the recipient. In Confirmation, the common bond is the Holy Spirit. The Body of Christ, the Church, also benefits from the newly confirmed and is strengthened by the increase of grace in the community of faith. 2. In a culture that is highly individualized and privatized, it is especially important that candidates for Confirmation explore and understand the communal implications of this sacrament. There are three. First, the candidates receive ecclesial benefits from this sacrament. Their bond to the Church and its apostolic life is deepened. Second, the community also benefits from the candidates who are confirmed. They are signs of hope for the community as they bring new gifts, talents and energy to it. Lastly, the candidates deepen their commitment to be part of a community of faith on a regular basis. 1.7 Missiology 1. Through the Holy Spirit, Confirmation is a sign that the power needed to change the world and redeem the future is available to us. The confirmed are to spread and defend the faith in keeping with Christ s command to go out and tell the Good News to all. 2. In a culture that is increasingly narcissistic, this outward call is an essential dimension of formation for Confirmation candidates. Discovering what the Holy Spirit can give them to face the challenges of the world and that the Holy Spirit will help them make it a better place 4

5 once they empty themselves of their own preoccupations is an essential dimension of formation for the candidates. 1.8 Role of the Bishop 1. The bishop is the pastor of the diocese. Where the bishop is present, Christ is present par excellence because of his connection to Christ through apostolic succession and his ordination as bishop. Historically in the Latin Rite, the bishop has been tied to Confirmation as the apostles are tied to Pentecost. While not the only recipient of the Pentecostal presence of the Holy Spirit, the bishop nonetheless has a special relationship with the Holy Spirit through the apostolic bond he has received in his episcopal ordination. This is one reason he is the ordinary minister of Confirmation. 2. Because there are thousands of people to be confirmed each year and because he is unable to confirm each of them personally due to a variety of circumstances, he shares his ministry with priests who are delegated to act in his name in his absence or to help him when there are a large number of candidates. 8 While this is true of every priest, it is especially true of pastors. When circumstances warrant, a bishop will grant the faculty to a priest to confirm in the name of Christ and His Church, as a sign of his pastoral concern for the people he serves. 9 For a description of those circumstances in which a priest must petition for this faculty and the process to obtain it in the Diocese of Raleigh, please see Appendix One. This appendix also describes those circumstances in which a priest has the faculty de jure to confirm without needing delegation by the diocesan bishop. 2 PASTORAL CONTEXT OF CONFIRMATION 2.1 Two Traditions of the Sacrament of Confirmation Over the course of centuries, the Church has embraced two major traditions regarding the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. The ancient tradition places Confirmation as the second of the three sacraments of initiation. The newer tradition places Confirmation as the third sacrament of initiation, usually conferred upon children of catechetical age baptized in infancy as Catholics some years after their reception of the Holy Eucharist. Both traditions normally require some type of catechetical formation. 2.2 The Five Celebrations of Confirmation in the Roman Rite There are five contexts in which the two traditions of the Sacrament of Confirmation are normatively celebrated in the Roman Rite after appropriate formation. 1. An unbaptized adult or child of catechetical age 10 is ready to be baptized after formation: In this situation, all three sacraments of initiation (i.e., Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist) follow the ancient practice of the Church and are celebrated within one liturgical rite after appropriate formation. 11 The minister of Confirmation is the bishop or priest who 5

6 baptizes the individual. 12 The required rite is the Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation found within the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults A baptized but previously uncatechized adult or child of catechetical age 14 baptized in a separated ecclesial community is ready for admission to Full Communion with the Catholic Church: In this situation, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist are celebrated within the rite of reception after appropriate formation following the ancient practice of the Church. 15 The baptized adult or child of catechetical age is brought into Full Communion with the Catholic Church and then is confirmed immediately afterward. 16 The Holy Eucharist is given to the newly received at the normal time at the same Mass. The minister of Confirmation in this situation is the priest unless the bishop reserves the rite of reception to himself. 17 The required rite is the Rite of Reception within Mass found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults A baptized but previously uncatechized adult or child of catechetical age 19 baptized as a Roman Catholic in infancy or early childhood is ready for the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist: In this ritual, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist follow the ancient practice of the Church and are celebrated within one liturgical rite after appropriate formation. 20 If the Catholic, without fault, never put the faith into practice, the minister of Confirmation is the bishop. 21 For pastoral reasons (e.g., readiness of a Catholic to be confirmed and receive the Holy Eucharist at a time and/or location inconvenient for either the bishop or the Catholic, etc.), a priest lacking the faculty to confirm Catholics may request delegation from the bishop to confirm. The priest must receive that delegation prior to the celebration. 22 The required rite is the Rite of Confirmation unless those being received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church are celebrating Confirmation together with them. In this case, the Rite of Reception within Mass from the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is used and the Catholic candidates for Confirmation join the newly received at the time the Rite of Confirmation is celebrated. Sometimes there are Catholics in this category who are also preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony. They should be appropriately catechized for the sacraments of Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation and Matrimony. The priest must receive delegation to confirm prior to the celebration of Confirmation. If the Catholic has been an apostate from the Christian faith or has, without fault, been instructed in a non-catholic religion or adhered to a non-catholic religion, the minister of Confirmation is either a bishop or a priest. No delegation is required for a priest to confirm in these situations A child of catechetical age 24 who has been baptized in infancy as a Roman Catholic and has previously received Holy Eucharist is ready for the Sacrament of Confirmation: a. In the Diocese of Raleigh, a two-year formation program is required prior to the celebration of Confirmation. The minister of Confirmation is the bishop and the required rite is the Rite of Confirmation. In exceptional circumstances (e.g., moving out of the 6

7 diocese, etc.), a priest may request delegation from the bishop to confirm on a case-bycase basis. Exceptions are considered rare given the number of times and places the bishop celebrates Confirmation over the course of the year. In such cases, a written request for delegation must be received by the bishop six weeks prior to the celebration. 25 b. As the ordinary norm for this Diocese, thirteen is the minimum age for the reception of Confirmation for those who are preparing only for this sacrament. c. As the ordinary norm for this Diocese, the reception of Confirmation for this group is between the ages of (usually the ninth or tenth grade). 5. An adult 26 who has been baptized in infancy as a Roman Catholic and has previously received Holy Eucharist is ready for the Sacrament of Confirmation: a. Appropriate formation of flexible duration is required contingent upon the previous formation and present status of the Catholic. For an already catechized and practicing Catholic, the normal period of preparation may be as few as eight-to-ten weeks. In such circumstances, it should include a spiritual component including an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and liturgical catechesis on the sacrament. b. The minister of Confirmation is the bishop and the required rite is the Rite of Confirmation. In exceptional circumstances (e.g., deployment, advanced age, preparation for sacramental marriage, etc.), a priest may request delegation from the bishop to confirm on a case-by-case basis. In such cases, a written request for delegation must be received by the bishop six weeks prior to the celebration. 27 c. Sometimes there are Catholics in this category who are also preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony. They should be appropriately catechized for both sacraments. The priest must receive delegation to confirm prior to the celebration of Confirmation. d. Those preparing for Confirmation in a college or university setting are normally confirmed by the bishop at specially scheduled times during the academic year. 2.3 Celebration in Other Circumstances 1. Eastern Rite Catholics (e.g., Melkite, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, etc.) are members of the Catholic Church and normally are confirmed (i.e., chrismated) at the time of baptism. The Eastern Orthodox are not presently in union with the Catholic Church. However, their Confirmation (i.e., Chrismation) is valid and not repeated if a member of this Church enters into full communion with the Catholic Church Individuals without the use of reason are not required to receive formation as a prerequisite for the celebration of the sacrament Those with special needs are required to participate in suitable formation as a prerequisite for the celebration of the sacrament. The formation should be designed by those responsible for 7

8 3 THE SPONSOR sacramental preparation in the local parish after thorough consultation with and the agreement of those charged with the care of these individuals. All efforts should be made to welcome persons with special needs for the reception of Confirmation to ensure they have access to the special graces of the Holy Spirit. They are to be integrated into a faith formation program as much as possible utilizing catechesis that incorporates a wide range of learning abilities and strategies. 4. Those in danger of death may be confirmed within the rites for the dying without catechetical formation The sponsor sees that the one confirmed acts as a true witness to Christ and fulfills the obligation of the sacrament. 31 Specifically, the sponsor 1) helps the candidate live the Catholic life, 2) serves as a role model of faith for the candidate and 3) in the case of a candidate who is a child of catechetical age, supports the candidate s parents in their child s faith development. 3.2 One person usually serves as a sponsor for Confirmation. It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism Sensitive to cultural circumstances, there may be two sponsors when the baptismal godparents fulfill this role. 3.4 Qualifications of Sponsor(s): specifically designated by the one to be confirmed, the parents or the person who takes their place or in their absence by the pastor or minister of Confirmation 2. a member of the Roman Catholic Church 3. usually a minimum of 16 years of age recipient of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist 5. a Catholic in good standing (see footnote for description) in a marriage recognized by the Church as valid, if married 7. living a life consistent with a single person as defined by the Church, if unmarried. In addition, parents may not serve as sponsors for their children Unless the sponsors are known to the pastor, a certificate of eligibility must be presented by the sponsors to verify their ability to serve in this role. A sample form with instructions is found at the end of this document as Appendix Two. 3.5 Sponsors are not obligated to be present for the Confirmation and may be represented by a proxy. However, only the sponsors names are entered in the Confirmation Register. 8

9 4 CONFIRMATION NAME 4.1 Because of the intrinsic relationship between Baptism and Confirmation, candidates usually retain their baptismal name for the celebration of the sacrament. If the candidate s name is of Christian origin, the candidate is asked to become familiar with the life and witness of this saint. If the candidate s name is not of Christian origin, the candidate may desire to choose a saint s name for Confirmation and be confirmed by that name. 37 If a Christian name is chosen, the candidate is asked to become familiar with the life and witness of this saint. 4.2 A custom exists wherein a candidate with a Christian baptismal name chooses an additional name for Confirmation. The Bishop of Raleigh encourages this custom. Candidates desiring to practice this custom are asked to become familiar with the life and witness of this saint. 5 RECORD KEEPING FOR CONFIRMATION 5.1 An official copy of the candidate s baptismal record must be obtained for every candidate unless the candidate was baptized in the parish where the preparation will occur. 5.2 Each parish where the celebration of Confirmation occurs is to enter the names of all the candidates in its Confirmation Register When the celebration of Confirmation occurs outside the parish of the candidate, the parish in which the candidate is registered must provide all information to the parish where the celebration will occur prior to the conferral of the sacrament. 5.4 In celebrations where candidates from more than one parish are present, the home parish of the candidates is encouraged to enter the names in its Confirmation Register also since these numbers are to be included in the annual Status Animarum Report. 5.4 The parish where the celebration of Confirmation occurs is required to notify the church of Baptism of the conferral of Confirmation. 39 The Notification Form for Church of Baptism form (Appendix Three) is to be prepared by the home parish, signed by the pastor and presented to the host parish prior to the celebration of Confirmation. 5.5 Once the information from the notification form is entered into the Confirmation Register of the host parish, it is to be sent to the church of Baptism via stamped and addressed envelopes provided by the candidates parish with a copy of the notification form returned to the home parish in the event it wishes to enter the names of its candidates in its Confirmation Register. 9

10 6 FORMATION OF CANDIDATES FOR CONFIRMATION 6.1 Introduction 1. Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation. Therefore, the type of formation provided in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults serves as a foundational reference for all candidate formation. Formation faithful to the rite leads the candidate to a deeper relationship with the Holy Trinity (i.e., the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), awakens within the candidate a sense of belonging to the Church, forms the candidate in a spiritual life that is both personal and communal and establishes within the candidate a commitment to discipleship Religious instruction is introduced once these initiatory dimensions have begun to take root in the lives of the candidates since the initial foci of initiatory catechesis are evangelization, conversion, a personal relationship with the Holy Trinity and a church community, a spiritual life both personal and communal and a life of discipleship. 3. Because they must live their Catholic faith in the contemporary world, candidates for the sacrament will benefit from a formation that also addresses the challenges of the post-modern world and provides a suitable age-appropriate catechesis to live in that world. 4. It is also important that liturgical catechesis on the sacrament be incorporated in the formation of candidates. An exploration of the primary elements of the rite (i.e., Renewal of Baptismal Promises, the Laying on of Hands, the Confirmation Prayer, the Chrism, the Cross, the Sign of Peace, the Bishop and the Relationship of Confirmation to the Eucharist) is essential. This formation forms the core of the proximate preparation in the second year and the basis of the mystagogical catechesis that follows the celebration of Confirmation. 6.2 Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults as Guide The elements of formation presented in this official text of the Church are indispensable when preparing candidates for Confirmation, a sacrament of initiation. Chief among the elements to be incorporated into the candidate s formation are: 1. Evangelization Catechists are to make evangelization the initial priority of formation for without awakening their relationship to the God who loves them beyond their imagination, without helping them to personally meet Christ who suffered, died and rose from the dead so that they might have eternal happiness, without helping them discover the Holy Spirit who already dwells within them and the Church where those who wish to experience and deepen their experiences of Father, Son and Holy Spirit gather on a regular basis, future catechesis will more likely fall on deaf ears. Opportunities to experience prayer, both personal and communal, are essential. The incorporation of Sacred Scripture as spiritual guide and resource is necessary. A retreat is highly recommended as a component of evangelization. The Diocesan Safe Environment Policy must be adhered to for all aspects of the retreat. A sample retreat model may be found in Appendix Four. 10

11 2. Metanoia: Conversion As candidates awaken or deepen their relationship with God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Church, they will become increasingly aware of the challenges of developing this relationship, especially in light of the influences of the world in which they live. As their bond with the Holy Trinity and the Church strengthens they will struggle with changing priorities and values. As they become aware of a hierarchy of truth and that there are absolute truths and values, they will need assistance integrating this into their lives. 3. Kerygma: The Essentials of Faith Christian initiation teaches us that when someone s faith has been awakened and conversion has become a reality, the individual is ready to grow in other dimensions of faith. Critical to successful evangelization and conversion is an introduction to the essentials of faith, e.g., the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the Paschal Mystery, Pentecost and eternal life. These should be constant reference points throughout formation and should never be presumed or omitted in any consideration of other important doctrines being considered as part of the formation process. They should be part of a standardized curriculum throughout the diocese. 4. Koinonia: Community Christian initiation also teaches us that the Church, both universal and local, holds a significant place in the lives of Catholics. Candidates for Confirmation may need assistance in viewing the Church as an essential part of their lives. The involvement of adult parishioners and older peers is critical to convincing the candidates of the importance of relationship to a church community and a universal Church. 5. Leitourgia: Liturgy and Prayer Christian initiation is an official rite of the Church. Hence, the liturgical life is a constitutive element of formation. Candidates for Confirmation should be formed in the liturgical life of the Church so they may experience it more meaningfully. They will benefit from the care of and training by those who are involved in the liturgical life of the Church. Since the liturgy is the first school of formation for all Catholics, it is critical that the candidates be formed in this school through direct experience and liturgical catechesis on their experience, especially the Eucharistic Liturgy. 6. Diakonia: Discipleship Christian initiation teaches us that the Church s life is apostolic (i.e., one is sent). Candidates will be well-formed if they are helped to understand and to live the life of discipleship at a level appropriate for their age. Service within and beyond the parish are critical to the faithful formation of candidates for Confirmation. 11

12 6.3 Catechetical Models for Confirmation 1. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Formation using the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults applies to adults and children of catechetical age who: a. have never been baptized (see 2.2.1), b. are seeking admission to Full Communion with the Catholic Church (see 2.2.2) or c. were baptized as Roman Catholics in infancy or early childhood but never catechized and have not received their First Holy Communion (see 2.2.3) Pastors, formation directors and catechists should be acquainted with the rite and trained in its formational structures to faithfully assist the candidates mentioned above in their formation. 2. Adolescent Formation of Those Who Have Received Their First Communion In the Diocese of Raleigh, those who have been baptized in infancy as Roman Catholics, have been prepared for and have received their First Holy Communion and are approaching early adolescence undertake a two year formation program leading to the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. The following serve as norms for their catechetical formation: a. Length of Time for Formation For those approaching or in adolescence, a two year formation program is required. The first year is called the Remote Preparation Year. The second year is comprised of further remote preparation followed by proximate formation for the sacrament. It concludes with a mystagogical catechesis after the celebration of the sacrament. b. Location of Formation Formation during the remote phase takes place in a faith formation program provided by the parish, a Catholic school or in a home school setting. Formation during the remote phase of the second year will usually continue in the same setting as the first year. When the remote phase ends and the proximate phase begins, all candidates must meet together for their formation unless there are extenuating circumstances which will be considered by the pastor on a case-by-case basis. Smaller parishes may consider joining other parishes for some or all of their proximate preparation. 12

13 c. Catechetical Resources Only programs approved for use in the Diocese of Raleigh may be used. d. First Year: Remote Preparation In the remote phase, catechists are to give special attention to assisting the candidates in their evangelization, exposure to the essentials (i.e., kerygma (see 6.2.3) of the faith, experiences of conversion, community, liturgy and prayer. Catechetical resources and training are available through the Diocesan Department of Catholic Formation and Evangelization and the local parish director of faith formation. A retreat is ordinarily included in the First Year as a way to deepen the candidate s relationship with God and to develop community among the candidates through an experience of prayer, liturgy, reflection and fellowship. An opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation may be provided if this is deemed appropriate by those preparing and leading the retreat. e. Second Year: Remote Preparation, Proximate Preparation and Mystagogical Reflection In the second year, candidates are to conclude their remote preparation with enough time to incorporate the proximate preparation before the Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated. If candidates have experienced evangelization and conversion, have come to believe the kerygma of the Church (see 6.2.3), have begun a relationship with the parish and have begun to pray regularly both publicly with the community at Mass and privately, catechists may find candidates in the second year of remote formation more readily disposed to the doctrinal tradition of the Church and the call to discipleship. In the proximate phase, emphasis is to be placed on liturgical catechesis on the Sacrament of Confirmation, using the ritual components as the basis for an experiential preparation for the celebration (e.g., making promises, using spiritual gifts received, being anointed, the power of the cross, the bond of peace and the bond with the bishop). Liturgical catechesis explores the symbols associated with the sacrament and invites the candidates to consider the meaning of these symbols for their lives so that when they experience the symbols they may have a richer experience of Confirmation. This is distinct from a rehearsal where the focus is more likely to be placed on things like logistics and practicing responses. Because they are preparing to receive a sacrament of the Church, candidates should also be prepared for and given the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the proximate phase. A morning, afternoon or evening of reflection is also appropriate during the proximate preparation for Confirmation. It may include time to pray and learn about the saint whose name the candidate may be taking for Confirmation. Catechetical resources and training for this phase are available through the Diocesan Department of Catholic Formation and Evangelization and the local parish director of faith formation. 13

14 After the celebration of Confirmation, the newly confirmed are to be invited to a gathering in which they will reflect on what happened at their Confirmation, what it means for them and its implication regarding Christian life. This is referred to as a mystagogical catechesis. It should take place soon after the celebration while memories of the Mass are still fresh in the minds and hearts of the newly confirmed. f. Pastor/Pastoral Administrator Interview Sometime between the end of the first year of formation and the end of the remote preparation in the second year, pastors and pastoral administrators are to interview all their candidates to become more acquainted with the candidates, explore their formation experience and determine their desire and readiness for the sacrament. 3. Adult Formation of Baptized Catholics who have Received First Communion In the Diocese of Raleigh, those who have been baptized in infancy as Roman Catholics, have received their First Holy Communion and are 18 years old or above are welcomed and encouraged to undertake a formation program leading to the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. The following serve as norms for their catechetical formation: a. Minimally Catechized If they are largely uncatechized, a program of several months is appropriate. Structures found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for baptized but uncatechized adults may be very useful 41 with special attention paid to the principles noted above in 6.2. b. Relatively or Well Catechized If they are relatively or well catechized and practicing their faith, a program comparable to the proximate preparation for adolescents may be appropriate (see e above). The normal period of preparation may be as few as eight-to-ten weeks. In such circumstances, it should include liturgical catechesis on the sacrament, a spiritual component (e.g., morning, afternoon or evening of reflection) and an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 6.4 Postponement of the Sacrament 1. No one should ever be forced to receive a sacrament. Care should be taken to ensure that parental or peer pressure does not serve as a significant motivation of the candidate. The candidate should be provided with the opportunity to make a free decision about the reception of Confirmation by no later than the time of the candidate interviews with the pastor or pastoral administrator. If there are significant indicators in the first year that the candidate is being pressured to receive Confirmation, the catechist, in consultation with the candidate, the Director of Faith Formation and/or the pastor, should make every effort to assist the candidate to authentically discern his or her readiness to move forward with formation leading to the sacrament. While the pastor has a canonical responsibility to 14

15 ascertain the readiness of a candidate for Confirmation, denial based on doctrinal disagreement requires prior consultation with the Bishop of Raleigh of his delegate. 2. Those involved in the formation of the candidates must also exercise their right and responsibility to delay the approval of those candidates who are not suitably prepared or properly disposed to receive Confirmation. 3. Records should be kept regarding those candidates who have been delayed and outreach to the candidate should continue to keep the door open for the future celebration of Confirmation. 6.5 Responsibility for Formation Following the categories found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, those responsible for the formation of candidates for Confirmation, a sacrament of initiation, are many. They are identified in the following order of priority: 1. The Community of Faith The initiation of members in the Catholic Church is the responsibility of all the baptized. 42 The community speaks volumes to the candidates for Confirmation by their interest, investment, outreach and pastoral care. Pastors and others within the parish who are concerned about the development of the community (e.g., Pastoral Council) should do what is possible to encourage the community to be involved, directly or indirectly, in the formation of those preparing for Confirmation. 2. Sponsor The sponsor has an important role as a model of faith for the candidate. The sponsor must be more than a friend or relative of the candidate whom the candidate wishes to honor by inviting him or her to take this role. Sponsors should be solid in their faith and practicing Catholics who exemplify Catholic life. Qualified sponsors meet the criteria noted on the Sponsor Eligibility Form (Appendix #2). Because they are guarantors of the candidate s faith, they should be aware of the candidate s faith and commitment. 3. Parents/Grandparents As the first teachers of the faith, parents (and sometimes grandparents) have a special commitment to the faith life of their children/grandchildren. The sacrifices they undertake to help make formation for Confirmation a priority, e.g., driving them to sessions, getting them to Mass regularly, adjusting family schedules, meals, etc., in order that the child/grandchild may participate in the formation program, is not missed by their children/grandchildren and speaks volumes to them about the importance of the sacrament and all that it implies for the life of a Catholic. 15

16 4. Bishop The bishop is the principal teacher of the diocese. It is his responsibility to see that his diocese has the best possible formation available for Confirmation candidates. He is also responsible for the meaningful celebration of the Mass of Confirmation as this will often be the only time a Confirmation candidate will celebrate Mass with the local bishop. 5. Pastors Pastors bear great responsibility to see that all the baptized are helped to complete their initiation and to ensure they are prepared for Confirmation and beyond. He will normally delegate catechists and other dedicated members of the community to assist him in this ministry and should make sufficient human and material resources available to them so that what they do in the name of Christ and the Church may be successful. 6. Catechists Catechists are privileged to accompany the candidates on their journey of faith and to share their own love of the Lord and their commitment to serve with them. They have an indispensable role in guiding and mentoring the candidates to Confirmation and deserve great respect for their time, dedication and effort to prepare these candidates. 7. Candidate: Since the candidate is old enough to make the choice to be confirmed, the candidate also needs to demonstrate a level of responsibility commensurate with his or her age. Among the areas of responsibility would be regular attendance at and participation in all formation sessions and weekly Mass. These norms are faithful to what the Church asks and respectful of the pastoral needs of the faithful completing their initiation into the Body of Christ through the Sacrament of Confirmation. May these directives guide us to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and sealed with the power of His manifold gifts for the benefit of the mission of Christ and His Church. This document is promulgated by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh on May 6, 2013 and effective in the Diocese of Raleigh on the Solemnity of Pentecost, May 19, All particular law contrary to these norms is abrogated with this promulgation. Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge Bishop of Raleigh 1 See Christian Initiation, General Introduction, Praenotanda de initiatione christiana, 19 February 1984, 1-2 and Code of Canon Law, canon 842, 2. 2 See Christian Initiation, General Introduction, Praenotanda de initiatione christiana, 19 February 1987, See Gerard Austin, Anointing with the Holy Spirit: The Rite of Confirmation and the Use of Oil and Chrism. New York: Pueblo Publishing Company,

17 4 Quam Singulari. Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacraments on First Communion. August 8, Annual reception of Holy Communion was the common practice by the laity for centuries before this change was made by Pope St. Pius X. 5 See Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, and Decree on the Church s Missionary Activity, See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 42, For a description of these distinctions, see The Catholic Imagination in Being Catholic in a Culture of Choice by Thomas Rausch. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, See Code of Canon Law, canon 884, 2. 9 Ibid., canon 884, Ibid., canon 97. Children of catechetical age are those who have acquired the use of reason, generally by the age of seven, and who have not yet celebrated their eighteenth birthday. 11 See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 206, 215 and National Statutes, 14, See Code of Canon Law, canon 883, See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, See Code of Canon Law, canon 97. Children of catechetical age are those who have acquired the use of reason, generally by the age of seven, and who have not yet celebrated their eighteenth birthday. 15 See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 400 and National Statutes, 31, See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 473, 481, 493 and National Statutes, See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 481 and National Statutes, See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, See Code of Canon Law, canon 97. Children of catechetical age are those who have acquired the use of reason, generally by the age of seven, and who have not yet celebrated their eighteenth birthday. 20 See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 400 and National Statutes, See National Statutes, 28c. 22 See National Statutes, 29 and Clarification on the Delegation Needed from the Bishop of Raleigh for the Faculty to Celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, See National Statutes, 28 and Clarification on the Delegation Needed from the Bishop of Raleigh for the Faculty to Celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, See Code of Canon Law, canon 97. Children of catechetical age are those who have acquired the use of reason, generally by the age of seven, and who have not yet celebrated their eighteenth birthday. 25 See Clarification on the Delegation Needed from the Bishop of Raleigh for the Faculty to Celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, See Code of Canon Law, canon Adults are those who have celebrated their eighteenth birthday. 27 Ibid. 28 Decree on Ecumenism, 18 and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, See Code of Canon Law, canon 889, 2 and the Rite of Confirmation, See Pastoral Care of the Sick, Chapter VIII, Christian Initiation of the Dying. 31 See Code of Canon Law, canon See Code of Canon Law, canon 893, See Code of Canon Law, canons 893, A younger age may be approved by the pastor or minister of Confirmation for legitimate reasons in individual cases. 35 There is no canonical definition of a Catholic in good standing. However, one might consider the Precepts of the Church to be descriptive of such a Catholic. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church ( ), the precepts are: 1) attends Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation; 2) goes to Confession if in the state of serious sin at least once a year; 3) receives Holy Communion at least during the Easter season; 4) observes the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church; and 5) provides for the material needs of the Church according to one s ability. 36 Christian Initiation, General Introduction, See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 73, See Code of Canon Law, canon Ibid. 40 See Catechism of the Catholic Church, See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Chapter See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 9. 17

18 DIÓCESIS DE RALEIGH Normas Generales para la Celebración del Sacramento de la Confirmación y la Formación de los Candidatos 1. PRINCIPIOS TEOLOGALES 1.1 Los Sacramentos de Iniciación El Bautismo, la Confirmación y la Eucaristía constituyen los tres sacramentos de iniciación. 1 Estos sacramentos nos incorporan a Cristo y Su Iglesia mediante la inmersión al Misterio Pascual, es decir, su pasión, muerte y resurrección. De acuerdo a la antigua tradición, el Bautismo nos inicia a la vida pascual y nos hace parte del Cuerpo de Cristo. Nos incorpora a Cristo y Su Iglesia, perdona los pecados así como todo castigo por el pecado, nos rescata del poder de la oscuridad y derrama sobre la persona la dignidad de ser hijo(a) de Dios. 2 La Confirmación fortalece y sella esta inmersión e incorporación por la gracia del Espíritu Santo. La Santa Eucaristía nutre al bautizado para que madure su fe y se fortalezca para su misión como Pueblo de Dios. 1.2 Desarrollo Teológico de la Confirmación 1. Desde la época patrística, se ha creído que la recepción del Espíritu Santo se produjo en la totalidad de la Iniciación Cristiana. 3 Los bautizados reciben el Espíritu Santo en el Bautismo y los confirmados también reciben el Espíritu Santo en la Confirmación. Esta cercanía se basa en el evento del Jordán donde Cristo es nacido del agua y del Espíritu centrándose en hacernos miembros del Cuerpo de Cristo, un pueblo redimido enviado a evangelizar al mundo como manda Cristo. Por lo tanto, el Bautismo y la Confirmación eran vistos como la moneda de dos caras seguida por la Confirmación inmediatamente después del Bautismo. También se consideró como el signo visible de unidad de los bautizados y confirmados. Este enfoque teológico es la base del antiguo catecumenado y su aspecto renovado en el Rito de Iniciación Cristiana de Adultos después del Vaticano II. 2. Por el período de la Escolástica, una comprensión más lineal de los sacramentos surgió en el Catolicismo Romano. Esta cercanía tiende a ver los sacramentos de iniciación en un orden más secuencial al paso del tiempo. Esto refleja la praxis del día por una serie de razones: 1) 18

19 los infantes se han convertido en la norma para el bautismo, 2) el obispo no puede confirmar a todos inmediatamente después del bautismo debido a la gran cantidad de bautizados, 3) una preferencia del énfasis de Pablo en relación al bautismo, muerte y resurrección de Jesucristo lo simboliza en el rito del agua y 4) una distinción teológica creciente entre el Espíritu vivificante derramado en el bautismo y el Espíritu profético derramado en la confirmación. La Santa Eucaristía seguiría siendo el tercer Sacramento de Iniciación. En este período, la Confirmación cada vez más se identificaba como un Sacramento derramando su fuerza espiritual sobre los candidatos, para alcanzar la perfección espiritual y el testimonio de fe, en palabra y obra. 3. Hasta 1910, los católicos eran confirmados antes de su primera recepción de la Sagrada Eucaristía. El Papa San Pío X disminuyó la edad de la primera comunión a la edad de discreción para fomentar una recepción más frecuente de la Sagrada Eucaristía y promover el conocimiento y la práctica de que la recepción de la Santa Comunión era parte integrante de la Misa en lugar de una experiencia excepcional. 4 Con este cambio, la Confirmación, poco a poco se convirtió en el tercer Sacramento de Iniciación en la orden de recepción en la mayor parte del mundo para aquellos infantes católicos bautizados que recibieron su primera comunión a la edad de discreción. Esto contribuyó a que la comprensión de la Confirmación era un sacramento de madurez y una aceptación personal de la fe, que por medio de sus padres y padrinos, había sido aceptada anteriormente. 4. El catecumenado fue restaurado en el Vaticano II 5 como parte de la renovación litúrgica de la Iglesia y para satisfacer la amplia gama de circunstancias pastorales que la Iglesia enfrenta con aquellos que buscan los sacramentos de iniciación que no fueron bautizados siendo infantes. El Rito de Iniciación Cristiana para Adultos y sus adaptaciones para 1) un niño no bautizado de edad catequética, 2) aquellos bautizados en otras comunidades eclesiales buscando la plena comunión con la Iglesia Católica y 3) aquellos bautizados infantes Católicos pero que nunca recibieron la formación catequética después en la vida, han obtenido la más antigua tradición de celebrar la Confirmación antes de la recepción de la Sagrada Eucaristía. 5. Como resultado, existen dos tradiciones con respecto al orden en el que la Confirmación debe ser recibida. Ambas tradiciones generalmente requieren de algún tipo de formación catequética. 1.3 Evangelización 1. Como sacramento de iniciación, la celebración de la Confirmación presume una evangelización fundamental en la vida de los candidatos. El Rito de Iniciación Cristiana de Adultos ofrece una comprensión general de esta evangelización. 6 Al terminar su formación, los candidatos deben tener una relación viva y dinámica con Dios en Cristo. Debe haber evidencia de una vida espiritual, privada y comunitariamente, una comprensión básica y compromiso con la Iglesia, una relación sustancial con la comunidad cristiana y habilidad para nombrar experiencias de conversión y de arrepentimiento en sus vidas. Deben tener un conocimiento adecuado acerca de la tradición dogmática y la doctrina de la Iglesia de 19

20 acuerdo a su edad, asistir regularmente a la adoración del Señor en la Iglesia Católica y dar evidencia del amor al prójimo, incluso al costo de renunciarse a sí mismo. 2. En el caso de los candidatos más jóvenes, concientizarlos en cómo una cultura posmoderna contemporánea tiene influencia en sus vidas, debe ser incorporada a la formación y evangelización con la preocupación particularmente en el relativismo y secularismo. Esta crítica de culturas es una dimensión de la evangelización hecha por el Siervo de Dios Papa Pablo VI en la Evangelización en el Mundo Moderno, reiterado por el Beato Papa Juan Pablo II en sus escritos sobre la nueva evangelización y declarado como un enfoque significativo por el Papa Benedicto XVI. 3. También es esencial que entiendan las dimensiones únicas de la fe Católica al vivirla en una nación predominante Protestante. Entre las características que la distinguen del protestantismo sería una cosmovisión encarnacional y sacramental, la importancia de la comunidad y la mediación de gracia También es esencial que entiendan las dimensiones únicas de la fe Católica al vivirla en una cultura cada vez más secular. Algunas características de la cultura secular que deberían presentarse serían la mercantilización del Catolicismo a la cultura secular (por ejemplo, ir a misa es una elección entre muchos domingos porque todas las opciones son iguales), el sentido que una religión es tan buena como la otra, la neutralización de los valores y creencias (por ejemplo, ningún valor es mejor que el otro), que el sacrificio y el sufrimiento son dimensiones innecesarias de la vida humana, el papel innecesario de la Iglesia en la vida pública de nuestra sociedad, etc. 5. Se proporcionará un resumen sobre el proceso de la formación para los niños de edad catequética más adelante en este documento (véase #6 abajo). Los adultos de la formación deben seguir los principios teologales, señalados arriba, incorporados en el catecumenado parroquial. Los niños en edad catequética de la formación deben seguir estos principios adaptados a su edad y desarrollados utilizando la descripción proporcionada más adelante en este documento (véase más abajo #6). 1.4 El Espíritu Santo La teología del Bautismo se centra primeramente en la incorporación del bautizado a la muerte y resurrección de Cristo Jesús y a la incorporación al Cuerpo de Cristo. La teología de la Eucaristía se enfoca primeramente en compartir el Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo al ser enviados a servir al Señor y a los demás. La Confirmación enfatiza la importancia del Espíritu Santo en la vida del bautizado. Toda formación para la Confirmación debe tener tratamiento explícito del Espíritu Santo como parte de la Santísima Trinidad, como persona distinta en la Santísima Trinidad y la relación del Espíritu Santo para ser un cristiano bautizado en el Cuerpo de Cristo. Entre las áreas de la importancia con respecto al Espíritu Santo están las siguientes: 1. Lecturas a. El abogado (Juan 14:16-17, 26; 15: 26; 16:7-15) b. Descendiente del Espíritu Santo (Hechos 2:1-11) 20

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