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Chapter 16. Confirmation: Consecrated for Mission • 205

fort” (CCC, no. 1294). The Oil of Catechumens is used in Baptism. The

Oil of the Sick is used for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

The Recipient of Confirmation

Each baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the

Sacrament of Confirmation. In the Latin Church, it is customary to con-

firm candidates between the age of discretion, also called the age of rea-

son, and about sixteen years of age. It is not uncommon that Catholics

not confirmed during this period of their lives for a variety of reasons are

confirmed as adults, often on Pentecost Sunday. The candidate should be

in the state of grace (that is, without serious sin), be well prepared by

prayer and catechesis, and be committed to the responsibilities entailed

by the Sacrament.

The Essential Rite of Confirmation

In continuity with the New Testament custom of laying hands on those

who would receive the gift of the Spirit, the bishop extends his two

hands over all those to be confirmed. He recites a prayer that begs the

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and

for the seven gifts traditionally associated with the Spirit. These gifts are

permanent dispositions that move us to respond to the guidance of the

Spirit. The traditional list of the gifts is based on Isaiah 11:1-3: wisdom,

understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety (reverence), and fear

of the Lord (wonder and awe in God’s presence).

The essential rite then follows. In the Latin Rite, “the Sacrament

of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with Chrism on

the forehead, which is done by the laying on of hands, and through

the words, ‘Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Introduction

to the

Rite of Confirmation

, no. 9). In the Eastern Churches, after a

prayer for the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, the priest anoints

the forehead, eyes, nose, ears, lips, chest, back, hands, and feet of

the candidate with


(holy oil). With each anointing he says,

“The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The Eastern Churches call

Confirmation “Chrismation.”