Q&A: When should we confirm baptized candidates?

Q. My parish has historically confirmed candidates for confirmation at the Easter Vigil — those who were baptized and uncatechized and those who were in need of confirmation only. We have been told recently to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation with the already-baptized at a time other than the Easter Vigil. So when should they be confirmed? When does the parish priest have the authority to confirm? It seems, then, that the order of reception of the sacraments of initiation must be reconsidered as most Catholics make their First Holy Communion years before their Confirmation.

A. While the Church does not give a specific date or time for the celebration of confirmation, many dioceses suggest celebrating the sacrament at some point during the Easter Season, or around the time of Pentecost. Also, some other dioceses permit the celebration of confirmation for adults during the Sundays of Ordinary Time. Check in with your diocesan worship office for any regulations set forth by your bishop regarding the timing of when to celebrate confirmation.

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What does my pastor need to know?

For baptized Catholics, a parish priest may request a delegation to confirm from the bishop who gives him the faculty to confirm at a community celebration, preferably within Mass. (Canon 884.1)

For a candidate received into the full communion of the Catholic Church, the priest has the faculty to confirm in line with RCIA 41, RCIA National Statutes 27 and 35, and Canon 883:2.

Also note that children of catechetical age who are received into full communion are also confirmed in the same liturgy; confirmation may not be deferred, and the candidate may not be admitted to the eucharist until they are confirmed (see National Statutes for the Catechumenate 35)

Your turn

How do you schedule the confirmation of baptized candidates in your parish? Who is involved in the conversation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Free Download: What are the requirements in the RCIA for a Lutheran becoming Catholic

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  1. If the candidate has received baptism but no other sacraments then in my diocese they are eligible for RCIA and will be received at the Easter Vigil. If the candidate has been baptised and received first communion then they are not put into RCIA but an adult confirmation program (6-8 weeks on one hour learning sessions). They then have their choice of being confirmed with the parish teens or at one of the archdiocesan adult confirmation ceremonies… but never confirmed at the vigil. However we do get special permission when an entire family is to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil.

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