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The Practice of Choosing Confirmation Names

 

Some churches no longer require prospective confirmands to choose confirmation names. But those Catholics who will be asked to do so may want to learn about the tradition and why their parish still adheres to it.

Various sects that fall under the umbrella of Christianity have their own unique traditions when it comes to the sacraments. Roman Catholics about to receive the sacrament of confirmation often are required to choose a confirmation name before they can be confirmed.

Some churches no longer require prospective confirmands to choose confirmation names. But those Catholics who will be asked to do so may want to learn about the tradition and why their parish still adheres to it.

What is the significance of a confirmation name?

Prospective confirmands tasked with choosing confirmation names are asked to choose the name of a saint with whom they identify. Some people about to be confirmed choose the names of saints who have inspired them to be better Catholics, while some may choose a saint because the saint's story resonates with them. Once a person is confirmed, he or she can then pray directly to the saint whose name has been taken.

Are confirmation names in the Bible?

The tradition of choosing confirmation names cannot be traced to the Bible, nor is it mentioned in the liturgical book of the rite of confirmation. In fact, many areas of the world where Roman Catholicism is prevalent have never instituted the practice of choosing confirmation names.

Are confirmation names legally recognized?

Confirmation names are not legally recognized, and confirmands are not legally obligated to change their names upon being confirmed. Some may want to, but that is not required. Nor can confirmands expect government agencies to recognize their confirmation names unless they legally change their names.

What names are available?

Churches that still ask prospective confirmands to choose confirmation names request that the names chosen be that of official saints in the eyes of the Church. Prospective confirmands cannot choose the name of a favorite ballplayer or actress unless that name is also the name of a saint whose status as a saint is recognized by the Catholic Church. Confirmands will be asked to choose confirmation names before they receive this important sacrament.

 

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