By Phillip Chisi CMA
On Sunday the 19th August 2018 Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 390 Christians at St Mary’s Parish in Karonga District. In the Catholic Church, Confirmation is described as the rite of passage to spiritual adulthood.
In his sermon, the Bishop related the conferring of the Sacrament of Confirmation to the Pentecost event with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with His graces on the confirmed. Just as the apostles came out to preach boldly after the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Sacrament of Confirmation helps and gives Christians the ability to live their faith in every sphere of their lives and to witness Christ in every situation.
“Not only do the sacraments reveal God to us, but they also serve to make us receptive to God. All the sacraments affect our personal relationship to God and to one another. The Holy Spirit works through the Sacraments. He leads us to Christ who unites us with the Father,” the Bishop said.
“We need to stand unshaken, profess and live our Catholic faith at all the times. Let us not be carried away by others, we have to stick to what we profess. By participating in the sacraments, we draw closer to God,” the Bishop said.
He further urged all Christians to participate fully in the life the Church, also through their small Christian communities because through them Christians grow together spiritually and materially.
The ordinary minister of Confirmation is the Bishop, who is the Chief Shepherd and possess the fullness of priesthood. In other cases, the Bishop grants this faculty to a priest of his choice to administer the sacrament on his behalf.
The newly confirmed have completed a three year catechumenate in line with the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s guidelines for Christian initiation. These have passed through several steps during which they progressively received catechumen oil, cross, Sacrament of Baptism, First Communion and ultimately Sacrament of Confirmation.