CONFIRMATION SACRAMENTAL POLICY
Those who have been baptized continue on the path of Christian initiation through the sacrament of confirmation. In this sacrament they receive the Holy Spirit whom the Lord sent upon the apostles on Pentecost. (RITE OF CONFIRMATION #1)
1. Pastors are to encourage those in their parish who have not received the sacrament of confirmation to receive it.
2. The ordinary age for confirmation in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is during High School years. (1) The confirmation name must be the name of a saint. The candidate may choose his/her baptismal name.
3. According to Canon 852 §1, children with the use of reason who are seeking baptism or full communion have the same rights as adults. Therefore, if children are unbaptized, they are to be fully initiated at the Easter Vigil; that is, they are to celebrate baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. This is required, except for grave reason, by Canon 866 and the RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS, National Statutes of the Catechumenate #18 and #35. If children (baptized, non-Catholic) are received into the faith, whether at the Easter Vigil or a Sunday Eucharist, they are to celebrate both confirmation and Eucharist. No special permission is needed. However, Archbishop Sheehan wishes to allow pastoral discretion in this regard. If a pastor sees a genuine need to delay confirmation of children with the use of reason until a later time, he may do so. No special permission is needed. There should be no delay in the reception of Holy Communion.
REQUEST FOR THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
4. Request for the sacrament of confirmation to be celebrated in a parish is made through the Archbishop’s Office.
4.1 Confirmation is ordinarily to be celebrated during the Easter Season (Easter to Pentecost).
4.2 If the confirmation is to take place during the Easter Season, the request must be presented in writing by
September 1st of the previous year.
5. Pastors and parents are to ascertain that the person to be confirmed has chosen freely to receive this sacrament. In the latter stages of preparation each candidate should indicate by letter to the Archbishop, his or her desire to receive the sacrament on the occasion offered. Instructions on preparing and sending the letters will be provided to the parish by the Archbishop’s office.
6. Pastors are to make sure that proof of baptism is established for all candidates to be confirmed.
7 Pastors shall urge those to be confirmed to approach the sacrament of penance prior to the celebration of confirmation, unless the candidate is a catechumen. (2)
10 A preparation program for candidates for confirmation should ordinarily be offered in parishes each year. If a preparation program is not offered every year, it should be offered at least every second year.
11 A pastor may not present a member of another parish for confirmation without the permission of the proper pastor.
12 Confirmation preparation is one of many opportunities for ongoing faith formation in the life of young people. It is the obligation of parents to see that their children continue to participate in the catechesis and other faith formation offered by the parish throughout their high school years, even after the celebration of confirmation. Confirmation preparation will include the following:
12.1 Prior to entrance into the final preparation period for confirmation, young people should have recently
completed at least one year of catechesis or religious formation at the parish or be enrolled in a Catholic high
school where they participate in daily theology classes.
12.2 A final period of four to six months of confirmation preparation is held at the local parish for all candidates,
including those attending Catholic high schools. This period of preparation is required and is to include
orientation, catechesis on the sacrament of confirmation, spiritual and community outreach activities, retreats,
and the practical and liturgical arrangements for the celebration.
12.3 The four to six month period of proximate preparation for confirmation will include sessions for parents and
sponsors to aid them in their mentoring roles.
12.4 Catechesis for Catholic youth across the four years of high school before and after confirmation is to be based
on the doctrinal content described in the 2008 USCCB curriculum framework. The topics include:
1) The Revelation of Jesus Christ in Scripture;
2) Who is Jesus Christ?;
3)The Mission of Jesus Christ (The Paschal Mystery);
4) Jesus Christ’s Mission Continues in the Church;
5) Sacraments as Privileged Encounters with Jesus Christ;
6) Life in Jesus Christ.
For a complete outline of the content see Adaptation of the Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for
the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age for Use in Parish and Youth
13 Whenever possible a parish community is to have a program coordinator who assists the pastor and others on the parish staff in designing and coordinating the program. Proper election of catechists and other adult leaders is of importance.
14 Those entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, who have been validly confirmed in their church are not to be confirmed again. (5)
15 No fee or offering in connection with the administration of confirmation may be required from those who are to be confirmed or from their parents or sponsors.
16 The following norms apply to the faculty of the pastor, parochial vicar or the presbyter who legitimately takes their place, to confirm. (6)
16.1 The minister described above who baptizes one who is no longer an infant, has by universal law the faculty to
confirm. (cf. CIC 852, 866, 883, §2)
16.2 The minister described above who receives into full communion one who is no longer an infant and was
baptized in a non-Catholic community, employs by universal law the faculty to confirm. (CIC 883, §2)
17 Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan has given delegation for uncatechized Catholics, after proper formation, to complete their initiation at the Easter Vigil. The presider needs no special delegation to confirm and share first Eucharist with them at the Easter Vigil.
17.1 However, in this Archdiocese, uncatechized Catholics may not complete their initiation through confirmation
and Eucharist together outside of the Easter Vigil. Outside the Easter Vigil, uncatechized Catholics may share
in first Eucharist at any Sunday Eucharistic liturgy with the assembly, but must wait to be confirmed until the
Archbishop or his delegate comes to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation at the parish. So the permission
to complete the initiation (confirmation and Eucharist) of uncatechized Catholics is only given when celebrated
at the Easter Vigil.
17.2 In extreme cases, special delegation may be sought from the Archbishop.
18 Any presbyter may confirm in case of danger of death. (CIC 883, §3)
19 Deacons may not confirm under any circumstances.
20 In preparing the liturgical celebration, the directives of the liturgical books are to be followed.
21 As soon as possible, the pastor is to see that the proper information is entered into the parish register of confirmation according to the Sacramental Records Policy (2008) of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The following information must be entered:
21.1 Name of the confirmed.
21.2 Name of parents
21.3 Date and place of baptism
21.4 Name of sponsors
21.5 Name of the minister
21.6 Date and place of conferral of confirmation.
22 Sacramental records for those who are confirmed at an Archdiocesan Adult Confirmation Liturgy should be entered in the Confirmation register of the parish where they were prepared for the Sacrament of Confirmation, not the parish where Confirmation took place.
23 The pastor is also to see that the proper information is sent to the parish of baptism so that the proper entry may be made in the baptismal register in accord with the norms of canon 535, §2. (cf. CIC 895 )
(1) The Archbishop of Santa Fe reserves the right to confirm infants (those under the age of 7) in accord with the centenary and immemorial customs established in New Mexico. (c. 26) Requests are to be made directly to the Archbishop.
(2) A catechumen is an unbaptized person. If the person was baptized in another Christian communion he/she is not a catechumen.
(3) Care must be taken in the interpretation of “leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken.” It should not be interpreted too strictly. Under no circumstances are the ministers to use the celebration of the sacrament of confirmation as a means to force godparents to enter into a sacramental marriage. However, in those cases where their marital status can be rectified, they should be encouraged to do so. Married sponsors should be in a valid marriage. Rare exceptions may be made by the pastor. Use of the form “Affidavit of Eligibility for the Ministry of Baptism or Confirmation Sponsor” assists pastors with their responsibility in this regard.
(4) These are legitimately imposed penalties by a Tribunal of the Church. No one may impose his own penalties. Penalties in the Church must be imposed or declared by a judicial process (e.g. excommunications, suspensions, interdicts).
(5) At this time we recognize as valid the confirmation administered by presbyters or bishops of the Orthodox Churches. Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran, or other non-Orthodox confirmations are not recognized as valid. When in doubt call the Archdiocese of Sanata Fe Tribunal Office at 505-831-8177.
(6) Other presbyters need explicit delegation from the Archbishop for the validity of the sacrament. Please note that the same priest who baptizes, or welcomes someone into full communion with the Church, is the one that enjoys the faculty to confirm. The two actions must be celebrated by the same priest; otherwise the confirmation is invalid.