Most Reverend Bishop Patricio Buzon of the Diocese of Bacolod laid his hands upon the 175 high school students of La Consolacion College as he gave them the Sacrament of Confirmation today, June 24.
The bishop remarked that the day would be a perfect time for such a very important sacrament in the Catholic faith. “Today is a beautiful day to receive the Holy Spirit as it is the Feast of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, which symbolizes the love of God – and the love of God is the Spirit poured into our hearts according to St. Paul”, he said.
In his homily, he explained that in the life of a Catholic, the sacrament of confirmation happens at a time when most young people are just beginning to pass into early adulthood. “This is the stage of life where it is becoming more difficult to be obedient to God because this is when we are beginning to develop our self-identity and we start to question even the presence of God”, he said.
The bishop also commented about the multitude of temptations that naturally come at a time when young people are naturally experiencing the most confusion. He said that these temptations come through many channels like through communication tools like smartphones. “It is sad to often hear news about young people who have fallen victim to temptations and have gone wayward”, he said.
But the Bishop said that Jesus is giving his own power and strength through the Holy Spirit and this is symbolized by the sacrament of confirmation. He then talked about the story in the gospel where Jesus, after his death, appeared before the apostles who were holed up in fear, where he filled them with courage through the Holy Spirit to go out and preach, which gave birth to the Church.
“Jesus gives you his spirit through this sacrament you are about to receive. Confirmation is an act of fortification of your faith. During the Confirmation, just before the minister lays his hands on you, he will say ‘peace be with you’, for you to receive the power of the Holy Spirit so you can be strengthened as you face all the temptations of life”, the bishop explained.
“Jesus hopes that as you receive his grace, you will also share this grace with others – to share your faith and make Jesus known to others like the apostles did. You, the young, have the power in your hands to spread the gospel,” he added.
The bishop then shared the story of Blessed Carlo Acutis, who from the time of his First Communion developed a strong devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and used his skills in technology to share stories of Eucharistic miracles where he was able to bring many people to the church. The young faithful lived a life of holiness and remained faithful to God until his death at the age of 15.
“In the Liturgy of the Eucharist before the consecration, the priest would extend his hands briefly over the bread and wine, invoking the Holy Spirit, would say ‘Lord send down your Spirit like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ’ – this is what Jesus wants to give you, the power of the holy spirit to strengthen you”, he said.
Bishop Buzon asked the students that after being anointed with chrism, they would spend some time in prayer to ask for God’s blessing. “Kneel down and talk to the Holy Spirit to give you strength. Pray also for the people you love, our country. Welcome the Holy Spirit into your hearts. I’m sure that God will be very happy to enter into your soul and to stay with you not only today when you receive him, but in all the days of your life because he was given to you so that he may live in you to be your strength and to be your love”, he said.
Maria Agnes Montaño -Barcarlos, a parent, appreciated participating in the ceremony. “The Confirmation Rites was a reminder of our faith as children of the Lord, our role as parents to our children. We are grateful for this opportunity for this has been instrumental in renewing our commitment to holiness and oneness with the Lord our Maker”, she said.