SALT LAKE CITY — The Cathedral of the Madeleine had a standing-room-only crowd on June 1 as more than 130 adults from throughout the diocese received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Oscar A. Solis.
Confirmation, along with Baptism and the Eucharist, form the sacraments of Christian initiation. Confirmation increases and deepens the grace received at baptism; through Confirmation the baptized “are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed,” as the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium states.
As he welcomed the congregation at the cathedral, Bishop Solis said the celebration was a joyful time to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those present. He said he is excited to see that the faith of the people of the Diocese of Salt Lake City continues to grow, “which means that our Church is getting stronger and more vibrant. Your presence today in this beautiful celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation is a testimony of the strong work of evangelization of the People of God here in the diocese.”
Speaking in both English and Spanish, the bishop said the Sacrament of Confirmation is special because it celebrates the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are the fulfillment of the promise of Christ to send an advocate. “The gifts of the Holy Spirit were intended by Jesus to inspire us, to empower us, in order to make our faith stronger, to be able to maintain our steadfastness in faith and to be able to defend our faith. So I encourage you to open your hearts to the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Recognize the restoring power of grace in your life so that you will be able to live as true followers and believers in Christ,” he said.
The bishop urged those present to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which include wisdom and understanding, to combat the fake news and the culture of relativism that are prevalent in today’s world. The gift of courage will help the confirmandi proclaim that they are followers of Jesus, he added.
During the rite, the bishop anointed each of the confirmandi with sacred chrism on the forehead. The anointing is symbolic of the seal of the Holy Spirit.
“I hope that this anointing will remind you of the sacred responsibility to share the Good News of love and salvation to the world, that the world may come to know that there is a God who exists, a God who loves us, and a God who cares for us,” Bishop Solis said.
The number of adult confirmandi this year was much greater than in the past, said Ruth Dillon, director of the diocesan Office of Worship. She attributed the growth to what Bishop Solis said in his closing remarks, that the Holy Spirit is alive in the local Church.