Q. Where is the sacrament of confirmation mentioned in the Bible? Growing up as a Protestant, we had no reference to this and did not practice it.
— Mary Tempi, Newark, New Jersey
A. Here’s a reply from Msgr. Charles Pope:
On Pentecost Sunday the apostles and disciples experienced a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit that they continued to share with later converts by the laying on of hands. Scripture describes this as distinct from baptism.
Thus, Phillip (a deacon) went to Samaria and baptized many there.
Hearing of the conversions and baptisms, Peter and John came north and laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. This was done as the text says, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:14-17). This shows some separation in the celebration of these sacraments and a reservation of the conferring of the sacrament of confirmation to bishops.
However, later in Acts, we see St. Paul (who was a bishop) first baptizing a group, and then imposing hands on them so they would receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:5-6). This shows the sacraments, though distinct, being celebrated together.