Article: Welcoming our young people for Confirmation

Newry Cathedral News

Newry Cathedral Parish prepares to welcome our young people for Confirmation

Newry Cathedral Parish will be embarking on their Confirmation ceremonies over the next number of weeks. Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and we are given the strength to witness to God’s love in both word and deed. The Sacrament can only be administered once and leaves a permanent or indelible mark on a person’s soul – marking them out forever as a Christian. Confirmation has its roots in Old Testament prophecy. Isaiah prophesied that the promised Messiah would be specially anointed with the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew word Messiah literally means ‘anointed one’.

The tradition of taking a new name at Confirmation signals a new identity of being called as a witness to your faith. For our Baptism, our names and godparents are chosen for us by our families but we decide on our own Confirmation names and sponsor. God knows us by our name. Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, we become full members of the Catholic Church and are called to be witnesses for our faith to all those whom we encounter throughout our life.

In our parish, young people who are 11 – 12 years old will join with others in parishes all over Ireland to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. The priests and parish community wish to acknowledge families and teachers who have prepared the boys and girls ensuring that the Confirmation ceremony is a special moment of connection between Family, Parish and School. Canon Francis Brown, Administrator of the Parish says, ‘It is an opportunity to recognise how much we all need each other and to underline the importance of our working together in order to offer the very best start to our young people as they prepare to for the Sacrament of Confirmation. We look forward to welcoming the P7 pupils, their parents, families and teachers from across the parish to our services over the next month’.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

Isaiah foretold that the Holy Spirit would rest upon the promised Messiah and that he would possess wisdom and understanding, counsel and fortitude, knowledge, fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2), and piety. As Jesus was blessed with these gifts by his Father, every believer is blessed with the same gifts by the Holy Spirit.

Wisdom is first gift of the Holy Spirit. It is the ability to exercise good judgment. It is grounded in common sense. Wisdom distinguishes between right and wrong, seeks and upholds truth and justice, and balances personal good with the common good.

Understanding is the gift of intelligence and enlightenment. We can know God better through this gift.

Right Judgement/ Counsel is good advice. The Holy Spirit offers this special gift to parents, teachers, mentors and elders. Counsel is not only the ability to give good advice, but to receive it as well.

Courage/Fortitude is an unwavering commitment to God or a proper course of action. Sometimes it is not popular to do certain things and adhering to our faith can cause rejection or criticism.

Knowledge is the ability to study and learn; to acquire, and to put it to good use for constructive purposes. The gift of the Holy Spirit is to know and understand God’s truth and His plan for us.

Wonder and awe in God’s Presence/Fear of the Lord is awe, reverence, and respect for God. It acknowledges that everything comes from God.

Reverence/Piety. Through this we show our love and respect for God. Piety is personal holiness, the ability to live a decent life, free of sin, devoted to God, and obedient to God’s will.

As we prepare as a community for the Confirmation of our young people let us pray for them.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Lord Jesus Christ, send down your Spirit upon them.
When they are uncertain, grant them wisdom.
When they are confused, grant them understanding.
When they are not sure, grant them knowledge.
When they are wandering, bless them with judgement.
When they are afraid, grant them courage.
When they are separated from you, bring them back to revere you.
When they are selfish, remind them everything comes from God.
We ask for an outpouring of your Spirit with all of these gifts in your name.

The services for Confirmation in Newry Cathedral Parish are as follows.