Adult Confirmations 2023

Author Image

Bishop Rhoades delivered the following homily at Mass in which he administered the sacrament of Confirmation to adults on the Solemnity of Pentecost on Sunday, May 28, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne:

Today, Pentecost Sunday, the feast in which we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at the very beginning of the Church, is the perfect day to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation. At this Mass, 30 adults will be confirmed. Last evening, I confirmed 62 adults at Saint Matthew Cathedral in South Bend. The readings for the Vigil of Pentecost and for today, Pentecost Sunday, are different. That’s unusual because normally the Saturday vigil Mass readings and the Sunday readings are the same. Last evening, the account of the first Pentecost that we heard this morning from the Acts of the Apostles was not read, the account of the Holy Spirit descending as tongues of fire upon the disciples. So, the image of the Holy Spirit as fire was not presented in the readings. Instead, the Gospel last evening presented another image or symbol of the Holy Spirit — water. On this great feast of the Holy Spirit, it is good to think of both images — fire and water — because both help us to understand the mission and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

In the Gospel last evening, Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as life-giving water. It was on the last day of the 7-day Jewish feast of Tabernacles. This joyful feast took place during the time of the harvest and the people would pray to God to send abundant rain upon their fields for the next season. On the last of the seven days of the feast, the priests and people would bring water from a spring south of the temple and pour the water on the altar, a sign of their awaiting the abundant rains that they prayed God would send on their fields. At that dramatic moment, Jesus stood up and cried out: “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. As Scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”  Saint John tells us that Jesus “said this is reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in Him were to receive.” 

My brothers and sisters, Jesus came to bring us eternal life through the gift of the Holy Spirit. After He died on the cross, when the soldier pierced His side with a lance, blood and water flowed forth — the blood of Jesus (which we receive in the Holy Eucharist) and the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit (which is bestowed on us in Baptism and increased at Confirmation). The rivers of living water bring forth various fruits in our daily lives when we drink from this water, when we live by the Holy Spirit, when we follow His inspirations, when we live the graces we receive at Baptism and Confirmation. It is good to remember these fruits of the Holy Spirit listed by Saint Paul in his letter to the Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Dear candidates for Confirmation, you were already born into the divine life when you were baptized. You received the new life of Christ. The Holy Spirit, the living water, was poured forth into your souls. You became temples of the Holy S