By far, the most frequently asked question about the guidelines for Confirmation liturgy preparation is our suggestion that a short acclamation follow the Rite of Confirmation itself.
Is it required? Why is it suggested? Where do we get this acclamation? How long is it supposed to be?
This acclmation isn't required, but is suggested to respond to a couple of elements of the rite:
- A song during the anointings is suggested by the Rite itself, but Bishop Pates generally prefers that there not be music during that time so that the words of the sacrament and the name of the candidate being confirmed can be spoken.
- With that knowledge, doing a short musical "seal" on the rite can be a fitting conclusion. It parallels the RCIA, where a similar musical acclamation is suggested.
- There is a bit of "travel time" that can be covered. Generally, the bishop will invite applause after all of the anointings. As the applause dies down, sing an "alleluia" (outside of Lent), a verse of a song about the Holy Spirit, or even a choir piece, can be sung. It lifts up the newly confirmed and gives all the assembly a stake in the Rite--they express their support for the newly confirmed. This can happen as the newly confirmed return to their seats and as the bishop goes to cleanse his hands.
The acclamation or hymn should be long enough to seem worth it, but not much longer than the time for people to be prepared for the Prayer of the Faithful.
What music could be used?
- Repeat the Gospel Acclamation--"alleluia"--with or without a verse pertaining to the Holy Spirit
- One verse of an Easter hymn ("Jesus is Risen") if your liturgy is close to or during the Easter season. Or, any hymn to the Holy Spirit or reminiscent of faith, being chosen ("God Has Chosen Me" by Bernadette Farrell, for example)
- A piece from the RCIA: David Haas' song "Who Calls You By Name" is joyful and uplifting when sung with or without the verses. It's also easy for an assembly to catch since it is call-and-response.
See the first three in our series here:
Miter and Crosier
Profession of Faith
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