Being made firm or strong in our faith.
The matter consists of the imposition of hands and the anointing of the forehead with chrism, which is made of olive oil mixed with balm, and blessed by the Bishop on Maundy Thursday. The form consists of the words ‘I sign thee’, etc.
Gives the Holy Spirit and a special sacramental grace which strengthens and perfects the soul.
The exact time of institution is not given in the Gospels, but it is almost certain that it was after the Resurrection. Instances of its administration by the Apostles—
- SS. Peter and John, being sent to confirm the Samaritans, laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14–17);
- St. Paul at Ephesus: ‘And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied’. (Acts 19:6)
A Bishop. The Pope may confer the power upon a priest to administer Confirmation in a case where it is very difficult to obtain a Bishop; but even then the chrism must have been blessed by a Bishop.
Parish priests and certain other priests have this power from the Holy See for the benefit of the dying.