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Not the “sacrament of goodbye”

Dear friends in Christ,

We welcome Bishop Deliman to our parish to preside at the 10:15am Mass and
celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for 32 of our young parishioners and school
students. Some of you know that I wrote my M.A. thesis at St. Charles Seminary on
the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is often a forgotten sacrament or, worse, it
sometimes becomes, as Pope Francis has quipped, “the sacrament of goodbye.”

If only we recognized the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives! In Confirmation, the
graces of Baptism are sealed and perfected in us. While we receive the Holy Spirit and
sanctifying grace at Baptism, it is received simply and – as it were – in a private way.
But in Confirmation (normally celebrated by a bishop, who possesses the fullness of
the Sacrament of Holy Orders) the Holy Spirit comes rushing in as on the day of
Pentecost with his sevenfold gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel,
fortitude, reverence, and fear of the Lord. Having received this Sacrament, one
possesses an indelible mark which empowers the person to witness to Christ and
direct one’s gifts and talents for the building up of the Body of Christ, the Church. As
of this weekend, we will have 32 brand new witnesses to Christ, who are called to
extend his love to their families, friends, classmates, and especially those who are poor
or do not know who Jesus is.

Dear friends, no matter how long ago we received Confirmation, this same missionary
spirit must impel us forward. Far from being “the sacrament of goodbye,” it must
truly be seen for what it is: the foundation of the Church’s missionary activity. May
our Confirmandi respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in their lives – and may
we be good examples to them by doing the same.

May God be Blessed!
–Father Eric Banecker