'I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit'"
|Liam Michael Collins|
|Conor Padraic Pearse|
Confession was a big deal because it was bestowed by the Bishop himself. That usually meant that a helicopter would pitch near the school. That was as thrilling as the sacraments.
Liam and Conor were given the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion yesterday evening.
Today, most children make their First Communion immediately after they have been confirmed. It used to be that confirmation was third. I think our concept of sin, mortal and venial and handling a sacrament of confession should come at a time when children are older, like it used to be.
The essential element of the confirmation is the anointing of the confirmand with chrism accompanied by the words "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit" . This seal is a consecration, representing the safeguarding by the Holy Spirit of the graces conferred on the Christian at Baptism. It increases and deepens all of the graces given in Baptism. Liam noted that aromatic oils smelled like his baptismal blanket!
Conor has been chaffing at the bit to taste the host and taste the wine. After months of special classes and preparation he did both last night.
Like last night, there will be a special service for the children and their families prior to hearing confessions. Some parishes open the confessions at that time for every Catholic there -- not just the children -- and it is a wonderful example for children to see the grown-ups they love and older siblings go to confession at that time as well.