The Sacrament of the Holy Spirit

SEALED WITH THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT—Pope Francis anointed a young woman during a recent Confirmation. In the sacrament of confirmation, the baptized person is "sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit" and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ. (CNS photo by Paul Haring)
SEALED WITH THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT—Pope Francis anointed a young woman during a recent Confirmation. In the sacrament of confirmation, the baptized person is “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ. (CNS photo by Paul Haring)

The reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. … “By the sacrament of Confirmation [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit.” —CCC, no. 1285, citing LG, no. 11

Confirmation, together with Baptism and Eucharist, form the Sacraments of Initiation that are all intimately connected. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized person is “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ.

The prophets of the Old Testament foretold that God’s Spirit would rest upon the Messiah to sustain his mission. Their prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus the Messiah was conceived by the Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus on the occasion of his baptism by John. Jesus’ entire mission occurred in communion with the Spirit. Before he died, Jesus promised that the Spirit would be given to the Apostles and to the entire Church. After his death, he was raised by the Father in the power of the Spirit. Read more

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Pentecost & Mary Magdalene

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Magdelene

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Christ is the bridge

Human and divine—Two Iraqi boys hold candles as they pray for peace in Iraq and Syria during Mass in a Chaldean Catholic church in Amman, Jordan. The Christmas season is a liturgical season that begins on Christmas and ends with the feast Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 11, 2015. (CNS photo/Ali Jarekji, Reuters)
HUMAN AND DIVINE—Two Iraqi boys hold candles as they pray for peace in Iraq and Syria during Mass in a Chaldean Catholic church in Amman, Jordan. The Christmas season is a liturgical season that begins on Christmas and ends with the feast Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 11, 2015. (CNS photo/Ali Jarekji, Reuters)

At Christmas, we’re reminded that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” But it’s often difficult to know exactly how to interpret that, or to understand why Jesus became “flesh.” Why did he have to come and live among imperfect human beings? Read more

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A Christmas tree blessing

CHRISTMAS TREE—Tony Baker and his daughter, Mesa, took away a Christmas tree from Rum River Tree Farm in Anoka, MI, Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Eric Miller, Reuters)
CHRISTMAS TREE—Tony Baker and his daughter, Mesa, took away a Christmas tree from Rum River Tree Farm in Anoka, MI, Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Eric Miller, Reuters)

The decorating of an evergreen tree at Christmas as we know can be traced back to an old German custom, and more popularly known, Victorian England. Just as the evergreen wreath symbolizes eternity and fidelity, so the lush evergreen tree is said to represent the same. Scripture is filled with the significance of trees, in both the Old and New Testaments. Generally the tree is not decorated until late Christmas Eve. However, some families find the preparation for Mass on Christmas day and Christmas dinner to be of such importance that Christmas Eve is taken up with these preparations, so on the Third Sunday of Advent, they choose to put up the family tree. Customarily the tree should be adorned with little family treasures and religious symbols. Bright balls and lights are also fine and lend a festive touch, especially for children of all ages, as do handmade garlands from natural items, such as popcorn or berries; little birds are very appropriate for the symbolism and dried plants and fruits. Many families place the crèche under the tree and gifts, if exchanged, are not placed there until Christmas Day or after Midnight Mass. Read more

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