Questions about Confirmation

In the Diocese of Richmond, who can receive the Sacrament of Confirmation?
By virtue of the authority granted by the Catholic Church, Bishop DiLorenzo has set the appropriate age for preparation and reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation for an individual (who has been Baptized and received First Communion in the Catholic Church) to be when he/she is both at least 15 years of age (at the reception of the Sacrament) and enrolled in at least the tenth grade. This new age is effective July 1, 2010.

If a teen hasn’t received either Baptism or First Eucharist, please contact the Office of Christian Formation at St. Stephen Martyr at 757-421-7416.

When my older daughter went through the process, it was a three year program. What is the process now?
Prior to 2010, the process was three years – 9th grade Religious Education, Confirmation Year I for 10th grade and Confirmation Year II for 11th grade. With the new change in 2010, the process was changed from three years to one year.

My teen wasn’t enrolled in religious education last year. Does she have to be this year?
According to the Diocese of Richmond Guidelines, “all candidates seeking Confirmation must be concurrently enrolled in a religious-education program during the year in which they prepare for the sacrament. Enrollment in a religious-education program is defined as one of the following:

    a. Participation in a systematic, parish-based religious education program (SSM’s High school program is LEGACY)
    b. Enrollment in a diocesan or private Catholic school (such as Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School)
    c. Participation in a home, school-based Catholic religious-education program, approved by Fr. Brian

There is no requirement that a candidate have been enrolled in formal religious education before beginning preparation for Confirmation.”

My son attends Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School. Does he need to attend LEGACY?
Since your son is enrolled in a diocesan Catholic school, he does not have to attend LEGACY. However, it is strongly recommended that he join LEGACY as it supplements individual growth and builds community with his peers.

My son wants to choose a relative who does not belong to SSM Parish as his confirmation sponsor. Is he allowed to?
Yes, as long as the relative meets Canons 892 & 893 (see the How to Choose a Sponsor Page), he/she is able to be a Confirmation Sponsor. However, since he/she is not from SSM, a letter from the his/her parish must be sent to the Confirmation Coordinator attesting that he/she meets the Church’s requirements to be a sponsor.

My daughter would like to choose a Confirmation name. Under the new policy, is she able to?
Since Confirmation is now seen in relationship to Baptism, any discussion of a Confirmation name must be placed in that contact. The current Rite of Confirmation presumes that the candidate will be addressed by their baptismal name. While the affirmation of one’s baptismal name is preferred, a Candidate can choose another saint’s name to be pronounced by the bishop in addition to (but not in place of) their baptismal name.

What is the purpose of the Letter of Intent?
The Diocese of Richmond asks that the pastor of the parish assess the readiness of a candidate to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. At OLMC, the process of assessing a candidate’s readiness is to write a letter to our pastor, Fr. Brian Rafferty. The purpose of this letter is for the candidate to formally request in writing his/her desire to be Confirmed and a willingness to make this commitment.

My teen isn’t sure he wants to be confirmed this year. What should I do?
Everyone will approach this Sacrament at different points in their life. Just because a person is eligible for the Sacrament does not necessarily mean he/she is ready for it. Pray with your teen and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. If your teen doesn’t feel he’s ready to receive the Sacrament, that is perfectly alright. He can receive it in his 11th or even 12th grade year.

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