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What are the seven sacraments?

The seven sacraments are efficient signs of grace.
They are SIGNS because they are visible symbols of invisible realities. For example: in
Baptism the visible sign is water, the invisible reality is the Holy Spirit; in Eucharist, the visible
signs are bread and wine, the invisible realities are the body and blood of Christ.
They are EFFICIENT because they make effective the invisible reality they represent. The
sacraments are always valid (ex opera operato), because the ministers administer them on
behalf of Christ (in persona Christi)
They transmit the divine GRACE: The sanctifying grace is the communion with God, which is
lost any time we commit a mortal sin, the sacramental grace is the divine assistance given by
each sacrament in order to fulfill our duties.
What is the difference between sacraments and sacramentals?
The seven sacraments were instituted by Christ himself, and cannot be changed, while the
sacramentals are instituted by the Church, and can change (house blessings, procession,
pilgrimages, exorcisms, religious profession). For example, the rosary, which is sacramental,
was changed when Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light.




Deacon/ Priest



Laying of Hands
& Chrism
Bread & Wine





Confession of
Laying of Hands
Exchange of

Anointing of
the Sick


Oil of the Sick

I baptize you in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit.
Be sealed with the gift of the Holy
This is my body; this is my blood.
I absolve you in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit.
You are a priest forever
I take you as my wife; I take you as
my husband
Through this holy anointing may the
Lord in his love and mercy help you
with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

What are the three essential elements of each sacrament?

The three essential elements of each sacrament are:
the one administering the sacrament;
the visible object used for the sacrament;
3) FORM:
the words used to celebrate the sacrament.
If any of the three elements is missing, the sacrament is invalid.

What are the sacraments of Christian initiation?

Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are called the sacraments of Christian initiation because
they lay the foundations of every Christian life. In the past, the catechumens received the three
sacraments during the Paschal Vigil. Today, for practical purposes, Baptism is celebrated as soon
as possible after birth, Eucharist and Confirmation at the age of reason (seven years ol and
above). The three sacraments of initiation do not give a different grace, but the same grace in
increasing degrees.


What is the Sacrament of Confirmation?
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the efficient sign of grace that confers the Holy Spirit. It is
called Confirmation because this sacrament confirms and strengthens the baptismal grace.
Through the Holy Spirit, we become mature Christians and witnesses of Christ, in words and
deeds, until death.
When did Jesus institute the Sacrament of Confirmation?
Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Confirmation when he said: As the Father has sent me, so I
send you he breathed on them and said Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:21-22). The first
Confirmation in the Spirit happened on Pentecost Day (33 AD), when the Holy Spirit came over
the Virgin Mary and the twelve apostles gathered in the Cenacle of Jerusalem (Acts 2).


Who is the minister of Confirmation?
The minister of Confirmation is the bishop. This is to guarantee the unity, catholicity, and
apostolicity of the Church, since all bishops are connected to the twelve apostles by means of the
apostolic succession.
Can the priest administer Confirmation?
For special cases, the bishop can delegate a priest to confirm on his behalf. In danger of death,
any priest can administer Confirmation. In both cases, the Chrism must be consecrated by the
What are the bishops insignia?
1. CROSIER: The crosier (or pastoral staff) signifies the bishops authority, jurisdiction and
service over the Church. Following the example of Jesus, the Good shepherd, the bishop
guides the sheep on the way to salvation, defends them from the wolf, and searches for
the lost ones. The crosier imitates the rod given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the
rod used by the shepherds to care for the sheep.
2. MITER: The miter represents a spiritual helmet, and signifies the duty of the bishop to
defend the Christian faith and the Church against all enemies. It is composed of a tall
folding cap and two lappets hanging down from the back. The miter is always laid aside

when the bishop prays, in obedience to Scriptures which say that a man should pray with
uncovered head (1 Corinthians 11:4).
3. RING: The ring signifies the spiritual wedding between the bishop and the Church. By
wearing the ring, the bishop confirms his fidelity to Christ and to the Church. The
Episcopal ring is also used to seal documents, and it is kissed by the faithful as a sign of
respect and obedience.
4. PECTORAL CROSS: The Pectoral Cross (Pectorale) signifies the absolute love of the
bishop for Christ and for the Church. The cross reminds the bishop of the passion of in
his Episcopal ministry.
5. COAT OF ARMS: The Episcopal Coat of Arms is a shield embossed with symbolic
elements and a motto scroll, indicating the bishops personality, programs, and ideal of
life. For instance, the Coat of Arms of Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has three
main elements (The Moor of Freising, the Scallop Shell and the St. Corbinians Bear),
and the motto Cooperatores Veritatis (Cooperators of Truth).


What is the matter of Confirmation?
The matter of Confirmation is the laying of hands and the Sacred Chrism.
What is the meaning of the laying of hands?
The laying of hands signifies the coming of the Spirit. It is in accordance with the example of the
apostles: Peter and John laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17).
What is the Sacred Chrism?
The Sacred Chrism is olive oil mixed with perfume. The Chrism is consecrated by the bishop
during the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday at the cathedral. The perfume signifies the sweet
fragrance of Christ that every Christian must bring into the world.
What is the prophetic, priestly, and kingly ministry?
The PROPHETIC MINISTRY means that every Christian must preach by words and deeds the
Good News.
The KINGLY MINISTRY indicates our participation to the Kingdom of God and our dominion
over the reign of sin and death.
The PRIESTLY MINISTRY signifies that we ought to pray constantly to God and offer to him
our life in unity with Christ. This common priesthood of every Christian is different from the
sacramental priesthood received with the Ordination, which enables the ordained priest to
celebrate Mass and hear confessions.


What is the form of Confirmation?
The form is the prayer spoken by the Bishop to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. After
laying his hands and anointing the forehead of the candidate with the Sacred Chrism, by making
with the thumb a sign of the cross, the bishop says: Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What is the meaning of the slap on the cheek?
Traditionally, after the anointing and the laying of hands, the bishop slaps the cheek of the
candidate to signify bravery. Since the candidate is now a soldier of Christ (Miles Christi), he
must fight bravely for the Kingdom of God.


What are the effects of Confirmation?
The Sacrament of Confirmation has three effects: 1) gives the Holy Spirit, 2) makes us mature
Christians, 3) imprint the character.
What is the character of Confirmation?
The character of confirmation is a spiritual seal that consecrates us to Christ. As St. Paul said:
God has put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Corinthians
1:22). The character is an indelible mark signifying our total belonging to Christ. It is similar to
the seal marked on the soldiers to indicate their loyalty to their leader, or to seal used on a
document to make it authentic. Baptism and Ordination also imprints the character; therefore
these three sacraments cannot be erased nor repeated.


Who can receive the Sacrament of Confirmation?
Every baptized Catholic can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation after he reached
the age of reason, generally accepted as seven years, and after due preparation. Presently, in most
countries, Confirmation is given anywhere between seven and eighteen years of age. In danger of
death, or for special cases, children can also be confirmed.
What is the case for adult candidates?
The adult catechumens ought to receive at the same time Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
If the adult candidate is already baptized, he can receive Confirmation anytime after due

Do we need to prepare before receiving Confirmation?

The candidates for Confirmation should be properly prepared: generally, in the four basic pillars
of our faith (creed, sacraments, commandments, prayer); and specifically, in the understanding of
the Holy Spirit (his manifestations and gifts) and in their mature participation to the life and
mission of the Church.
Do we need to go to Confession before receiving Confirmation?
Yes, we do. In order to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation we must be in the state of grace;
therefore, we should first receive the Sacrament of Penance.
Can we receive Confirmation more than once?
No, we cannot, because Confirmation imprints an indelible character on our soul, that cannot be
erased nor repeated.

Is there need for godparents at Confirmation?
Yes; each candidate for Confirmation should be accompanied by one godparent (sponsor),
preferably the same one of Baptism.
What is the mission of the godparents?
The godparents have the mission of: 1) presenting their godchildren to the Bishop during the
Confirmation; 2) guiding them to their Christian life.
What are the requirements for godparents?
The godparents for Confirmation must fulfill the following requirements: 1) to be at least sixteen
years old; 2) to be Roman Catholics of good standing, already confirmed; 3) not to be the father
or mother of the candidate.

What is the proper dress for the candidates for Confirmation?
The dress of the candidates for Confirmation should be modest but festive. Confirmation robes
are not recommended, since they are easily confused with graduation robes. Confirmation stoles
should not be used, since the stole is a liturgical garb that distinguishes an ordained minister.
Should Confirmation be celebrated within the Mass?
The sacrament of Confirmation should be celebrated within the Mass, after the homily of the
Bishop, to make evident the connection between the two sacraments of Christian initiation.
Confirmation can be celebrated outside the Mass only for a just and reasonable cause. In that
case, only the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Communion are omitted.

What is the Liturgical color of Confirmation?

The liturgical color of Confirmation is red or white. On the Sunday of Advent and Lent the color
is Violet; during the Easter season, the color is white; on Solemnities, the color of the day must be
What are the liturgical readings and prayers for Confirmation?
The proper readings and prayers of the day must be used on all Sundays in Advent, Lent, Easter,
and on all Solemnities. On other days, the following ritual Mass of Confirmation is used. Gloria
and Alleluia are omitted on Advent and Lent. The candidates for Confirmation may also serve as
lectors and carry gifts during the offertory.
What are the proper manner to greet the bishop and other clergy?
The deacon should be addressed as Reverend; the priest as Father; the bishop as His Excellency;
and the cardinal as His Eminence. To the deacon and priest, we should ask for the hand for the
customary blessing (mano po); to the bishop, we should kneel and bow down and kiss his ring,
otherwise, we make a deep bow.