May 25, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, which is traditionally referred to as the birth of the Church. On Pentecost, the body of believers was gathered in the Upper Room awaiting the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Now, when the soul is invested in the body, life begins. So when the Paraclete was sent into the Upper Room, the Church was born. Jesus promised to send the Paraclete to reveal the Truth to the Apostles. Because we are celebrating the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, it is the perfect celebration for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Last Sunday I celebrated Adult Confirmation in the Mother Church of the Archdiocese, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Those to be confirmed were a collection of individuals from across the Archdiocese. They were there for many reasons. For some, it was a completion of the fullness of the Sacraments, which a family move or personal incident previously interrupted. For others, it was seeking the completion of a promise made to fulfill a sacramental Marriage. And, for others, it was a personal call to embrace the fullness of the life of grace offered by the Church.
When an adult approaches the Sacrament of Confirmation, they are bringing with them a wealth of experiences, hopefully seeing the hand of God in these activities of their lives. We do not pay enough attention to the Sacrament of Confirmation. In it, we make a commitment to live fully the life entrusted to us by God and use grace as an instrument of spreading His love.
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of leading a tour of the Holy Land. During our various visits to the holy sites, we decided to celebrate the Sacraments of the Church. So, at the Jordan River, we renewed the promises of Baptism; in Cana, those who were married renewed their vows from Marriage. When we visited the Upper Room, we decided to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. We devised a ritual for the renewal of that sacramental moment. Allow me to share that prayer with you and perhaps you could renew the moment of your Confirmation.
Jesus gave a mandate to His disciples: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
In Confirmation, you received a gift; you were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The fullness of the sacraments has been given to you as disciples of Jesus Christ. So now, I ask you:
Are you resolved to live fully the Faith? I am.
Are you prepared to listen to the challenges of the Holy Spirit in our world today? I am.
Are you committed to building His Holy Catholic Church? I am.
Then receive the Holy Spirit as a sign that renews your confirmation and confirms your baptismal vows assisting your continuing efforts to conform your lives to Christ. Amen.
God’s sacramental grace gives us the strength to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee