We have 53 confirmation candidates (28 of them are Form 5 students, 20 Myanmaris and 5 from the RCIA programme) who are scheduled to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday, 14 July 2019 during Mass at 6.00 pm. Through this sacrament, our candidates receive a special grace by which their faith is deepened and strengthened, one that is strong enough, not only for their own needs but also for the needs of others, with whom they shall try to share this.
Over the past 4 days, I met with the Form 5 students individually, at my office. I called it a “pre-confirmation chit-chat” to basically get to know them, to find out about their faith journey and to ascertain their understanding and readiness for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Prior to the session, each student was asked to write a 50-word reflection about their expectations, their faith journey and their relationship with God – and during our chats, I listened to them express their feelings of excitement and trepidation as they journeyed forward in faith. The chit-chat sessions are a prelude to their upcoming confirmation spiritual retreat (camp) which will be held on Friday, 7 June to Sunday, 9 June 2019 at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Kuala Lumpur.
These Form 5 students have attended Catechism since preschool, and soon their formal religious education will come to an end. But before that happens, I wanted to highlight some important details:
First, I talked about the upcoming Confirmation Retreat at which activities, games, fellowship, prayers and spiritual guidance form part of the programme. I reminded them that this spiritual retreat allows them to set aside time to be with God and to nurture their personal integration of what they have learnt at catechism over the years.
Second, was to remind them that they need to make a sincere and genuine confession before receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. During the Sacrament of Confirmation, they will be sealed with the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-2). I explained about these gifts and what Confirmation is all about:
Like Baptism, Confirmation is given only once, for it imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the ‘character,’ which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of the Holy Spirit and complete the Sacrament of Initiation, and empowers us to be witnesses to Christ, (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1302-1305).
During the chit-chat, I showed them the oil of Chrism (Sacrum Chrisma – Sacred Chrism) which was consecrated during the Chrism Mass. This oil of Chrism is reserved only for Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. It is also used for the consecration of a new Church.
Third, I reminded them about their duty and responsibility of coming for Sunday Mass faithfully to fulfill their obligation, even after their Confirmation. I also spoke to them about the importance of commitment, by being involved in Church activities and ministries.
Fourth, I shared with them, the importance of Education. In a few months’ time, these Form 5 students will sit for their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations. Therefore, they need to put in extra effort and increase their study hours to prepare for it, in order to attain good results and achieve their ambitions.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is a spiritual “growing up” as it gives us a special grace, and the Form 5 Confirmation candidates are well on their way to a grace-filled chapter of their lives. I hope that they will continue to read the Bible, in order to grow spiritually, and I also pray that ALL of our candidates continue to learn and live their faith daily, sharing it with everyone they meet.
By Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy.