1. What's a Confirmation name all about?

Confirmation candidates may decide to choose a Confirmation name. This may be a saint's name or biblical hero, or a person whom they admire, living or deceased. This is not a necessity. Today, in some dioceses, candidates are encouraged instead to use their baptismal names, while in others, the custom of choosing another name is the norm.

2. What are Confirmation sponsors for?

The Church sees three roles for Confirmation sponsors: First, as a role-model in the faith. Because of this, the Church asks that a sponsor be at least sixteen years of age, be fully initiated in the Church (has celebrated the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist), and be a practicing member of the Church. He or she does not have to be the same gender as the Confirmation candidate.

Second, a sponsor is a companion on the candidate's faith journey. Ideally, this should/could be one of the candidate's baptismal godparents. Again, this is encouraged by the Church today -- to show the close connection of the two sacraments.

And finally, the Confirmation sponsor witnesses for the candidate before the Church. By their presence at the Confirmation celebration, the sponsor publicly proclaims the candidate's readiness.

3. Why are retreats and service projects required for Confirmation?

These are part and parcel of what it means to be a baptized Catholic Christian. These aren't things you "have to do to get confirmed"; this is the way of the Catholic Christian because you are baptized, and because you will soon be fully initiated into a Church that expects participation in these activities.

4. What if my child decides not to be confirmed at this time?

Sacraments are not "things" that happen on someone's else's timetable. Fortunately, or unfortunately (and it is debated continually), we have placed many of our sacraments into "grade levels." But that isn't what our faith journey is about or how God works in our life.

There is no penalty for waiting to be confirmed. The crucial reality is to surround our young people with a supportive, vibrant, faith-filled community in their homes and in their parishes. Sacraments are celebrations that God has first loved us, celebrations of God's action in our lives, and then our response to that action. How could we not respond?!

Copyright © 2012 Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.

Excerpted from Catholic Parent Know-How: Preparing your Child for Confirmation