Bishop William F. Medley confirms Alison McFarland at the April 8, 2023 Easter Vigil at St. Stephen Cathedral in Owensboro. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC
Baptism and Confirmation – A Catholic’s ‘work-order’
BY DEACON JAY W. VANHOOSIER, OFFICE OF FAITH FORMATION
With Spring upon us, it is hard to look at the beauty we see in the natural world around us and not be filled with the sense of God’s majesty. In our Church, the advent of Spring also brings us the many opportunities to celebrate, with our youth, the Sacrament of Confirmation. I would challenge those who do not have any family members who are being confirmed to go to a scheduled Confirmation in your parish and support those who are receiving this Sacrament – not only showing support for these young men and women, but also taking the opportunity to renew your own baptismal promises that you made during your own Confirmation. For you see, the baptismal promises that were said for us at our own Baptism and that we said for ourselves at our Confirmation are, in fact, God’s “work-order” for us to live out our faith as Christians. Let me explain.
When we are baptized then anointed with Sacred Chrism, we are baptized into the three-fold ministry of Christ – priest, prophet, and king… our “work-order,” so to speak. This happens after a renunciation of sin and profession of faith is said for us and after our actual Baptism. Our parents and godparents told the Christian community that they will do everything they can to help us understand the importance of this three-fold ministry.
At our Confirmation, we have the opportunity to tell the whole Church for ourselves that we understand that this is to be our work as Christians – to live lives of sacrifice to the other (our priestly ministry), to always proclaim the Gospel in the way that we live lives of Christian love for everyone we meet (our prophetic ministry), and to devote ourselves to kingly service to God and everyone – just like Jesus did as the Servant King (our kingly ministry). In our Confirmation, like in our Baptism, we are anointed with Sacred Chrism and sealed with the Holy Spirit, receiving from him his gifts to help us live out these ministries in our daily lives…in effect, our “work-order.” Attending these celebrations helps us to recall and affirm these duties that we have as Jesus’ disciples.
Living out these ministries of sacrifice, proclamation, and service is not always easy. In fact, they are rather difficult at times because that “work-order” is really never completed. Living out these ministries is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year kind of job. We are always on the clock. However, like God renewing the earth with the beauty of Spring, his Holy Spirit is there to give us the grace and strength to live our lives as followers of Christ.
Deacon Jay W. VanHoosier is the Director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Owensboro. For more information visit owensborodiocese.org/faith-formation, email [email protected] or call (270) 852-8324.
Originally printed in the May 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.