Bishop Barron on Confirmation Names

Bishop Barron on Confirmation Names

[Music] well as I record these words were coming to the very end of a confirmation season in the LA archdiocese we bishops out here confirmed during one intense period just the two months after Easter so I’ve been doing a lot of preaching confirmation so I thought I’d maybe share some insights from the homily I’ve come up with for this year this year I focused on the name so one of the marks of confirmations that people take a new name and it’s certainly true biblically that when someone has a powerful experience of God they often receive a new name whether it’s Jacob becoming Israel Simon becoming Peter a Saul becoming Paul etc so I tell the kids and I really mean that look you know as you get confirmed you’re having a powerful experience of God as you receive the Holy Spirit so it’s appropriate that you receive a new name I tell them my confirmation name which is Patrick now I was 11 when I was confirmed and frankly I don’t remember how I came to that decision to be called Patrick most likely my Irish parents strongly suggested to me but what I find interesting is when I was 11 and I was confirmed the farthest thing from my mind was being a priest much less a bishop much less an evangelist now that’s what Patrick was Patrick was a bishop who evangelized Ireland when I was 11 I wanted to be a baseball player I wanted to be shortstop for the Chicago Cubs but I tell the kids it’s true and weird that I as it were grown into that name in the course of my life I became priest eventually a bishop and a lot of my work is in evangelization it’s as though that name of Patrick kind of seized me so I tell them in a way you know you’ve chosen the name but much more significantly that Saint has chosen you that Saint has chosen you to be drawn into the power of his or her life and witness well then I make this remark that in my three years any way of doing confirmations out here by far the most popular name for the young men is Sebastian or Sebastian for the Hispanics and that’s true by the way across the Anglo Hispanic divide Sebastian Sebastian is the most popular name probably because he’s the patron of both soldiers and athletes you know so probably the young athletes like him but I make the point that look Sebastian was a Roman soldier in fact pretty high-level Roman soldier who eventually died for his faith but when someone became a Roman soldier in his time they first made this sacred oath they took an oath to the Emperor to the Empire etc to the army and that oath was called in Latin a sacramentum right so our word sacrament Sacramento in Spanish comes from that and I tell the kids look in the course of this ceremony tonight you’re gonna take a sacred oath you’re all gonna stand up I’m gonna lead you through a series of oaths of promises do you renounce Satan and all his works and empty promises I do do you believe in God do you believe in Jesus Christ do you believe in the holy spirit they say I do yes well what that is is a sacramentum it’s a sacred oath on their own two feet in their own voice they’re telling God and the people there who they are well then I tell them after the sacramentum someone like Sebastian someone becoming a Roman soldier would have been branded so they took out this thing they call the character in Latin which means a brand and they would tattoo them they brand them either on the hand they think or on the arm what was that but a claiming of that person for Rome and for the army they were they were branded they were claimed well confirmation is called in our theology a character sacrament a character sacrament like baptism and like Holy Orders it brands you permanently and I tell them look a tattoo maybe a lot of people in the room have tattoos and they’re pretty permanent they last your whole life but they’re just the level of your skin what I’m talking about is a is a tattoo a branding at the level of your soul so when I put the sign of Christ’s cross on their forehead that’s an external sign of the internal branding that will claim them forever as a member of of this great army of Christ now you know muqaddas Mouton DOS it’s a metaphor I’m not telling them to go out and you know take up arms but they’re like an army they’re like an army that’s been shaped and formed and now sent on mission to bring the life and work of Christ to the world ok well the the most popular name among the young women in my experience is probably a tie between Cecelia very popular so the patroness of musicians that’s probably why but I’d say Cecilia is tied with Teresa Teresa anyway you’ve got Teresa of ávila you have Santa Teresita right you have tourism to zero the little flower and then this year very popularly you have the most recent Teresa namely trace of Calcutta Mother Teresa so I say look let’s let’s reflect on her a little bit mother Teresa this little lady barely five feet tall hears the call within the call to serve the poorest of the poor and out she goes into the worst slum in the world which I’ve been to I was there filming some years ago right were her mother houses and there she was though in the early days back in the what forties and fifties without money without institutional support with nothing she this little lady walks out into this slum and begins caring for the sick and the dying well I say to the con for Monday what was her principal this great Teresa many of you taking her name what’s her principal her principal was don’t worry about doing great things do little things with great love now I realize that can sound a bit like a Hallmark card but it’s absolutely bedrock spiritual truth don’t worry about doing great things in the eyes of the world you know wealth and power and achievement and accomplishment in the eyes of the world that amounts to very little rather worry about doing even the smallest thing with great love because he love is the divine life the divine life is not wealth it’s not power it’s not privilege or honor those can serve the divine life but the divine life in itself is love and so even the smallest thing in the eyes of the world done with great love gives you access to God’s life and therefore makes you happy that was the principle that she lived by I tell the confirmation kids look when you make your sacramentum in a few minutes when you say I renounce Satan and all his works and empty promises that’s exactly what you’re saying is I’m not gonna worry about wealth pleasure honor power which are the the great empty promises I tell them that I just read this recently Pope Francis refers to the devil as a con artist which i think is good you know let’s see I got a deal for you this is really gonna make you happy but they they reject that and then when they say I believe rather in God and Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit in the church what they’re saying is I believe in this in the power of the divine life surging through me well then I end with one more Saint namely my favorite Saint Thomas Aquinas and at this point I usually asked one of the servers who are wearing those little they’re called Vince like little shawls that have the bishops coat of arms on the back I have a kid come out and turn around and I show them the coat of arms which has that motto that I chose from Aquinas non knees ETA domine a right when Thomas was was asked the voice from the cross came you’ve written well of me Thomas what would you have and he said non knees ETA domine I’ll have nothing except you so I said the kids that’s really what you’re saying today when you take that sacramentum and you reject Satan and his works you’re saying I want you Lord you’re the source of my joy now to bring that together that’s what makes you a powerful soldier in the army of Christ if you can find that spiritual space then you’re ready as a confirmed strengthened member of Christ’s mystical body to do his work in the world [Music]

8 Replies to “Bishop Barron on Confirmation Names”

  1. I'm getting Confirmed this coming Easter Season and I've decided to take the name of Saint Augustine of Hippo. His journey through life speaks volumes to me.

  2. It is so good hearing about confirmation in the latin Rite. In the Eastern Rite Baptism, Confirmation and holy Eucharist are given together at infancy ( Western Catholic Syriac Rite and orthodox church . Regards from Syro malankara Catholic.

  3. I just viewed this video today. My son was Confirmed a couple of weeks ago. A week later we got on a discussion about his Confirmation, the Holy Spirit and his maturity in the Faith. The conversation turned to the saint he chose, Michael the Archangel, and how he chose that saint. He told me he was drawn to St. Michael because he is the head of God’s army and he defeated Satan. Like most 15 year old boys, the masculine, warrior persona of the Archangel, wielding his sword, appealed to him.

    I told him he did not choose Michael, rather, Michael chose him. He looked at me a little bewildered.

    My son played high school football, in the fall, and was the starting center for his team. He has a lean figure but his technique and ability to hike the football in the shotgun, almost flawlessly, won him that position. He did not want to play the “O-line”, he’d rather play linebacker on defense where he can tackle and attack. His devotion to the team, his sense of duty and his love of his brothers, however, insured he would play center to the best of his ability. He would make sure no one touches his teammates, ever.

    It has been stated that the offensive lineman position in American football is the only position, in any sport, where the sole purpose is to protect teammates. They are the only protectors of the team. My son’s high school offense has a nickname and it's called “Troop”. Troop is the army that marches down the field and the center position is at the very front of that army.

    I told my son, St. Michael chose him because they have this much in common. They both have met their foes on the field of battle. They both hold the position of Protector. They both stand fast to their duty and know the risks of failure. I said, he knows what my son is experiencing when he straps up his helmet and walks onto that football field and he will be there when he does the same for his Faith. I said, I do not doubt he was standing with you when his name was called in Confirmation as well, of course, as our God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    My son was quite impressed with this telling of how he came about having St, Michael be his Confirmation name. He was quite impressed.

  4. I didn't think of name and I'm getting confirmed in a month…. I like the name Pius though, or maybe Athanasius

  5. I want a cool name because my first and middle name are very basic so I want something to stand out a little bit while not being too foreign

  6. When I was choosing my confirmation name, I was torn between Nicodemus and Maximilian, Nicodemus because I was attending RCIA at night in secrecy, as I was hiding from my former church friends from finding out that I was becoming a Catholic, and Nicodemus was learning from Jesus at night in secrecy; but something drew me more to saint Maximilian Kolbe, even though I was a bit put off due to that fact that this is a very Marian saint, coming from a Protestant background, you'd understand.

    I eventually took up saint Maximilian Kolbe as my confirmation saint, because I was touched by his heroic act of love, but it turned out that they placed my confirmation name before my original name.

    I entered into prison ministry immediately becoming Catholic, but it was only later I realized that the saint I've chosen for my confirmation is the patron of prisoners! which I honestly didn't bother to find out when I was choosing it. Could this be a coincidence? Could it be like what Bishop says, even though I chose him but spiritually it was he that chose me?

    I've come to be called even by this new name Max (Maximilian), something which most others don't, maybe perhaps it's easy in my case since I came into the Catholic Church almost totally new to everyone, and thus a new beginning for me, both spiritually and also sacramentally; I wouldn't have been able to do so if I was raised in the Church and people wouldn't get used to calling me by a new name.

    I love Bishop Barron, very knowledgeable man, even dreamed of talking to him once before I became Catholic, but really hope that becomes a reality someday.

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