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Chapter 16. Confirmation: Consecrated for Mission • 203


The reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is nec-

essary for the completion of baptismal grace. . . . “By

the sacrament of Confirmation [the baptized] are more

perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a

special strength of the Holy Spirit.”

—CCC, no. 1285, citing LG, no. 11

Confirmation, together with Baptism and Eucharist, form the Sacraments

of Initiation that are all intimately connected. In the Sacrament of

Confirmation, the baptized person is “sealed with the gift of the Holy

Spirit” and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ.

The prophets of the Old Testament foretold that God’s Spirit would

rest upon the Messiah to sustain his mission. Their prophecy was ful-

filled when Jesus the Messiah was conceived by the Spirit and born of

the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus on the occasion of

his baptism by John. Jesus’ entire mission occurred in communion with

the Spirit. Before he died, Jesus promised that the Spirit would be given

to the Apostles and to the entire Church. After his death, he was raised

by the Father in the power of the Spirit.

The New Testament reports many manifestations of the Holy Spirit,

two of which we note here. St. John’s Gospel describes an outpouring

of the Spirit on Easter night when Jesus breathed on the Apostles and

said, “Receive the holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22). St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles

gives another account of the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,

fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ (cf. Acts 2). Filled with the

Holy Spirit, the Apostles proclaimed God’s mighty deeds. Peter preached

that this coming of the Spirit fulfilled the prophecy of Joel: “In the last

days . . . I will pour out a portion of my spirit / upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17;

cf. Jl 3:1).

Those who believed in the Apostles’ preaching were baptized and

received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. The Apostles

baptized believers in water and the Spirit. Then they imparted the spe-

cial gift of the Spirit through the laying on of hands. “The imposition

of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of