Every weekend until the early summer, hundreds of youngsters from across the Diocese are coming to the Cathedral, the Mother Church, to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and then to be sent out on mission. Here, Fr. Anthony Fyk, our Director of Liturgical Formation, continues a series of articles about the Sacrament of Confirmation, this week reflecting on the Renewal of Baptism Promises.
After the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word, each of those to be confirmed are called by name and approach the sanctuary. The candidate is accompanied by one of their sponsors or parents. The calling of a person by their name is not to be underestimated. This shows the ‘personable’ element of the sacraments. Through the sacrament, Jesus encounters us, and we encounter him. Although there is always a ‘personable’ element of the sacraments, they are always celebrated in an ecclesial context. We are called by our specific name to come forward, to encounter Jesus in this Sacrament. Our gesture of moving forward, by walking towards the sanctuary, is a gesture of readiness to know, love and serve the Lord with our whole being. A homily is then preached in order for us to have a deeper understanding of the mystery of Confirmation. This then brings us to the Renewal of our Baptismal Promises. We cannot understand Confirmation without Baptism. There is an intrinsic link between the two. Baptism is the basis of all the sacraments of the Church and the beginning of new life for us in Christ. In addition to forgiveness of original and all personal sins, we become adoptive sons and daughters of the Father, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. It is entering into relationship with the Trinity, into which we are baptised. Before we celebrate Confirmation, the Church asks to renew our promises made at baptism. We first renounce Satan and all his works and empty promises. In doing so, we renounce sin, selfishness, egotism, pride, injustice, and hatred. We turn away from being ‘inwards and downwards’ to being ‘outwards and upwards.’ Next, the Apostle’s Creed, with some modifications, is then professed. We profess our faith publicly in God the Father and his works, in God the Son, Jesus Christ, and his works, and in God the Holy Spirit and his works, especially in the context of his working in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Each time, the candidate responds, ‘I do’. A wilful and intentional response with our whole being, that we accept and embrace what God has revealed to us through Sacred Scripture and Tradition. We accept and embrace this invitation of a relationship with God who desires an intimate and life-giving relationship with each one for us. And simply put, this is our Faith, the faith that the Church teaches and that we profess proudly.