Friday, April 28, 2006

Questions regarding confirmation prep...I'd love to hear what you know about this...

A student came to me today asking about the preparation her friend is going through for confirmation (her friend is not at the Academy). 1). The first question has to do with confirmation names...Her class was told that they will not choose a patron saint for whose name they will take at confirmation, but instead will just use their baptismal middle name. I have heard of this happening before, but needless to say the girl was disapointed. Is this right or wrong? or is this one of those broad subjects that some priests tend to "make their own"? Are rubrics available for the Sacrament of Confirmation that would include an explanation?

2). This girl says that the Priest does not lecture at all in their preparation classes, they just play games. Her mother is taking it into her own hands to properly prepare her daughter for the sacrament...Is their any sort of curriculum or guideline for what students should know in order to be considered well prepared to receive the sacrament? Where could I find info on it? Are Catechism (or CCD or whatever...) programs generally supposed to follow them?

Thanks guys!


Blogger JonP said...

Question 1:

This is an interesting topic; I knew nothing about this debate before today. It might be worth a discussion sometime:

The second to last paragraph addresses confirmation names.

"Many confirmands in the United States continue to choose a name by which they will be confirmed. Some of them research saints or choose the name of some other hero. Typically, the name is used in the formula, but never again. No one calls the candidates by this name on the day of confirmation or at any other time in their life. Only the bishop does so in the very words that confer the sacrament. The liturgy never envisioned this happening. Even the pre-Vatican II rite of confirmation never referred to taking a special confirmation name. The custom seems unique to the United States; it is unheard of in many other countries. Confirmation names never appeared in any of the discussions leading up to the publication of the revised rite, and they appear in no universal liturgical, canonical or catechetical document. Obviously, the baptismal name is preferred for conferring this sacrament."

If this is true, then making the kids use their middle name makes even less sense (in my mind) than allowing them to choose a Saint's name.

Other sites that talk about it:

Question 2:

Page 47 of the following document has a list of confirmation prep materials from various sources (OSV, Ignatius, Ave Maria Press, Loyola Press, etc.):

2:49 PM  
Blogger JonP said...

Regarding question 1 again:

This article mentions people taking confirmation names, but with no mention of it being "poo poo-ed".

A Diocese of San Diego policy book reads thus:

"The new rite says nothing about taking a new name at Confirmation. Therefore, candidates may retain their baptismal name rather than take a new one. This is desirable because it manifests an understanding of the fact that confirmation “completes the grace of Baptism.” Nonetheless, a special Confirmation name may be taken if desired. In this case it should be the name of a saint whose life-style or virtues the candidate wishes to emulate."

Policy 311 in the San Diego handbook talks about preparation (at least in that Diocese) for confirmation.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I found this at Although it doesn't show that new names are a must in the Church, it does show how new names have been taken throughout the centuries. It seems to me that taking a new name at Confirmation is an awesome way to show that something big, spiritually, has just taken place. As "useless" as it may seem, I think that it really halps us to think about what is going on...

The practice of adopting a new name was not limited to baptism. Many medieval examples show that any notable change of condition, especially in the spiritual order, was often accompanied by the reception of a new name. In the eighth century the two Englishmen Winfrith and Willibald going on different occasions to Rome received from the reigning pontiff, along with a new commission to preach, the names respectively of Boniface and Clement. So again Emma of Normandy when she married King Ethelred in 1002 took the name Ælfgifu; while, of course, the reception of a new name upon entering a religious order is almost universal even in our day. It is not strange, then, that at confirmation, in which the interposition of a godfather emphasizes the resemblance with baptism, it should have become customary to take a new name, though usually no great use is made of it. In one case, however, that of Henry III, King of France -- who being the godson of our English Edward VI had been christened Edouard Alexandre in 1551 -- the same French prince at confirmation received the name of Henri, and by this he afterwards reigned. Even in England the practice of adopting a new name at confirmation was remembered after the Reformation, for Sir Edward Coke declares that a man might validly buy land by his confirmation name, and he recalls the case of a Sir Francis Gawdye, late Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, whose name of baptism was Thomas and his name of confirmation Francis (Co. Litt. 3a).

11:07 AM  

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