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In Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, 758 adults step forward in faith to be confirmed

Auxiliary Bishop Italo Dell'Oro of Galveston-Houston anoints the head of a confirmation candidate during Mass at the Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Houston Jan. 7, 2024, the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. Bishop Dell'Oro and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo confirmed more than 750 adult Catholics from 72 parishes and institutions across six Masses at several parishes around the archdiocese in January. (OSV News photo/James Ramos, Texas Catholic Herald)

HOUSTON (OSV News) — One by one, each bearing the name of a confirmation saint, more than 750 adults stepped forward in faith this January, well over the number of adults confirmed last year at the same time.

Presenting themselves to God as they reverently bowed slightly before Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishop Italo Dell’Oro of Galveston-Houston, each received the blessing of the Holy Spirit and the holy chrism in the sacrament of confirmation.

Just a step behind them in presence and prayer, their sponsor witnessed the moment as they placed their hand on the shoulder of the candidate with whom they had walked on their faith journey. Then, as they walked past the filled pews, the head-turning scent of chrism slowly filled the air.

In total, 758 Catholics from at least 72 parishes across the archdiocese received the sacrament of confirmation at six separate Masses celebrated by Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Dell’Oro.

They celebrated a bilingual Mass Jan. 7, the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, at four parishes, including St. Ignatius of Loyola in Spring, Christ the Redeemer in Houston, St. Angela Merici in Missouri City and the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston.

They also celebrated two more Masses at the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston Jan. 21, which brought the final total of adults confirmed to 758, which was 201 more than in 2023, which saw 557 confirmed.

Standing at the front of the altar, Cardinal DiNardo implored the newly confirmed to remain strong in their faith and encouraged the sponsors to remain close in faith to their confirmation candidate. That day signaled the culmination of months of catechesis and effort at their parishes and in their lives.

A solemn moment in the liturgy filled the entire sanctuary with silence before Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Dell’Oro recited a prayer that invokes God the Father for an “outpouring of the Holy Spirit,” according to the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The bishop extends his two hands over all those to be confirmed, a sign of continuity of the New Testament custom of laying hands on those who would receive the gift of the spirit.

“All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit, you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life,” both Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Dell’Oro said in prayer. “Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.”

The seven gifts traditionally associated with the spirit are inspired by Isaiah 11:1-3 and include wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety or reverence, and fear of the Lord, also known as wonder and awe.

The Mass also included a renewal of baptismal promises, showing the connection between confirmation and baptism. Confirmation, like baptism, is only given once because it also “imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark.”

After anointing the forehead of each candidate with chrism, a fragrant oil mixture consecrated every year during Holy Week at the annual chrism Mass, Cardinal DiNardo greeted each sponsor, thanking them for their guidance and presence.

Likewise, Bishop Dell’Oro beamed as he welcomed the hundreds of candidates, also anointing them with chrism, each representing a unique story of the Catholic faith and a testament of their community.

Following the customary greeting of “Peace be with you” and a momentary pause, they each responded, “And with your spirit.”

During a general audience in 2014, Pope Francis meditated on the sacrament of confirmation and said: “When we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts and allow him to act, Christ makes himself present in us and takes shape in our lives; through us, it will be he — Christ himself —
who prays, forgives, gives hope and consolation, serves the brethren, draws close to the needy and to the least, creates community and sows peace.

“Think how important this is: By means of the Holy Spirit, Christ himself comes to do all this among us and for us.”

James Ramos is a staff writer and designer for the Texas Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

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