Why Confirmation is not a rite of Christian maturity 

Ankole Diocese Bishop Sheldon Mwesigwa lays hands on some of the 600 children that were confirmed on July 17, 2022 at St James Cathedral in Ruharo, Mbarara City. PHOTO | RAJAB MUKOMBOZI.

What you need to know:

  • Every year after year hundreds of Christian faithful are confirmed into their established beliefs. Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation into the Church. But how is the journey of all those numbers that get confirmed, what goes on after confirmation, do those that get confirmed remain committed to the faith or return to their churches? writes Rajab Mukombozi

It is common practice to hear words like I last visited church after confirmation especially among the young people. To some people confirmation is a step of graduating and that is why after getting confirmed they stop from having to be in church or involved in church activities like attending masses. Confirmation is not a headway from practice of faith and leaving the church but the beginning.

After confirmation, some people set aside the faith practices sometimes for the rest of their lives but others only come back to fulfil some life commitments like wedding. At times even the parents after their children are confirmed, they assume the rite is over and leave the rest to their children’s decision.

Mr Amos Beinomugisha attests the last went to church 15 years after being confirmed. 

“After confirmation it becomes as if nothing is left to learn ,do and commit to in church. You can either go to church or not. After all, you are now free to perform some of the obligations like getting wedded in church,” explains Mr Beinomugisha. 

He says children get confirmed because of their parents will and church obligations but further explains that as these grow up they need to be guided, loved and influenced on why some of these sacraments are done ,adding however this is often neglected by parents and churches.

He said because of this some of the sacraments end up being turned into ceremonial without deeper meaning of faith and commitment. 

“The reason why majority of the young people are no show in churches is because there is no follow up on them after getting initiated in some of these sacraments, they assume all is all because they can enjoy other privileges and duties as other Christians who commit to church services,” explains Mr Beinomugisha. 

Mr Alex Kibirige a religious scholar says the responsibility of keeping especially children after confirmation in church is for the parents.

“The church will not follow your children after confirmation, it’s a responsibility of parents and the children’s guardians to follow these children and make sure they remain in church. Some people take church sacraments as ceremonial .That is for example why after 20 years and so you find it’s someone is looking for his or her baptism card because he or she wants to get wedded,” says Mr Kibirige. 

He adds that confirmation is a lifetime engagement and willingness to participate further in your faith and continuously exploring God’s call. 

Ankole diocese Bishop Rt Rev Sheldon Mwesigwa during the confirmation of 600 people on July 19, 2022 most of whom were school going children, explained of a need to grow the children ministry so that the young people get rooted into the deeper meaning of why they were confirmed into Christianity.

“Teenagers or children need to be groomed to continue with being intimate in the union of Christ. Confirmation comes with a greater responsibility but because most times those that get confirmed are young people they need to continuously be guided and encouraged,” said Bishop who emphasised the role of a family in impacting Christian values in children.

He said the family and especially parents play a significant role in moulding children into faith, belief and union with Christ.

Bishop Mwesigwa also hinted at the role of the Church in making some of the religious rites turn into meaning and fulfil their obligations like confirmation.

“That is why we have a Children’s ministry, the church is barren without the children’s ministry and has no future. This ministry is responsible for grooming children into true Christian ways so that they grow deep rooted in the true faith and when they grow up it will be difficult to divert from these values,” explains Bishop Mwesigwa.

He also identified that the church has through initiatives like the annual youth conferences, parish youth groups, bible study groups, youth fellowships been able to keep the youth deep rooted in Christian values.