Sep 11, 2012, 10:17 AM
During the Sundays of the months of May and June many Christians held first communion and confirmation celebrations and parties. This was very pronounced last Sunday in which a number of households were busy welcoming invited guests and feasting with them.
Among the mainline churches such as Anglicans, Methodists and Catholics celebrations of these kinds are not new. For many years they had observed such festivities by going to Church to worship and then go to their homes for celebrations and party.
The celebration of Confirmation as one of the Sacraments of the Church is held every year. It comes about after a conclusion of a period of study by young adult Christians in matters about their faith. The teachers in the faith would have examined and assessed them as candidates suitable to celebrate their confirmation in the Christian faith.
The celebration is linked with the Pentecost, which is the event of the coming down of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles as Jesus promised (Acts 2:1-12). At confirmation, the Church teachers that the young adult Christians who are confirmed by the laying of hands received the power of the Holy Spirit which comes down upon them. This tradition had been handed down to the Church from Apostolic times. In the present times Bishops are granted the power and mandate to confirm believers. It is also believed that when the young adult Christians are confirmed they receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, namely: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and the Fear of the Lord. These young adult Christians at the end of the Confirmation ceremony are tasked to go out and be witnesses (1 Peter 5:1) or ambassadors (Eph. 6:20) of Jesus to make him known and to serve him in the Church.
Apart from Confirmation as a Sacrament, Communion is another sacrament that is celebrated. In the Sacrament of Communion or better known as Eucharist, children that have reached the ages of reason and intelligence are given the body and blood of Jesus. These children are also placed under a period of formation before receiving the communion. During this time, they are taught how to pray and the fundamental teachings of the Church. This formation is what prepares the Christian children to encounter Jesus in the Sacrament of life.
Parents and God parents would bring their children to church for thanksgiving at mass where they receive and consume the sacrament. The name first communion therefore is derived from the children’s first experience of receiving the sacrament of communion. The date of celebrating the sacrament is always on the feast of “Corpus Christi”, meaning in latin the body and blood of Christ. The feast was first introduced into the Catholic Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. It was marked to follow the dictates of Jesus at the last supper, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19-20). The Eucharistic celebration is the center of the life of the Catholic Christian and so very significant in the life of the Church. The Eucharist or communion is meant to be received daily as it is celebrated daily.
In preparation of these two sacraments of Communion and Confirmation, many Christians spend a lot of time, money and energy to have a well done celebration. In the eyes of the Church, there is nothing wrong with celebrations of faith experiences. I would love to encourage Christians to celebrate an annual event but not to the danger of their home economic situations. Christian parents should not be extravagant and wasteful in the celebrations of Communion and Confirmation. Sometimes there are a lot of food drinks wasted and this means also a waste of financial resources. A Christian should be moderate in all his or her dealings with life. Christian parents should be morally bound not to be extravagant and wasteful.