A new tradition began in the diocese Sept. 13 at Sacred Heart Cathedral as Bishop Richard F. Stika celebrated the first Mass of Confirmation for adults.
Fifty-four adults from 16 diocesan parishes were confirmed. The confirmation was for baptized adult Catholics, not for RCIA catechumens or candidates.
“It’s for the adult Catholics who for whatever reason were never confirmed, and the bishop has expressed it as those who have fallen through the cracks,” said Father Richard Armstrong, assistant director of the diocesan Office of Christian Formation.
Cathedral rector Father David Boettner concelebrated the confirmation Mass, with Deacon Bill Jacobs assisting. Masters of ceremonies were Father Arthur Torres Barona and Jerry Bodie.
The confirmation Mass is to be an annual event.
“The bishop’s plan is to have this every year around the time of Pentecost,” Father Armstrong said.
Bishop Stika heard the confirmandi’s renewal of their baptismal vows before the laying on of hands over the whole group. He then anointed each of the adults individually.
Father Armstrong called the confirmation Mass “an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
“It’s their own personal Pentecost, if you will, where they receive the Holy Spirit in a new way that they hadn’t received before,” he said. “It’s the sealing of their baptism, and that’s one of the reasons why there was a renewal of the baptismal vows as part of the rite.”
To find the confirmandi, the Office of Christian Formation sent out notices to all parishes in the diocese asking if there were any adult Catholics who have never been confirmed, Father Armstrong said.
“There’s some paperwork that’s required. They have to know something about the sacrament and what they’re receiving, and then they petition the bishop to be confirmed,” he said.
Bishop Stika required that candidates be parishioners in good standing, have an understanding of the sacrament of confirmation (be properly instructed), and be properly disposed and able to renew their baptismal promises.