"Un Ti Morceau"

"A Little Something," mini-lessons and reflections by our pastor, Father Paul Counce

Relationship with the Bishop

Published January 30, 2011 by Fr. Paul Counce

The sacrament of Confirmation has a special relationship with the bishop.  The bishop is a successor to the apostles and possesses the fullness of priesthood and leadership in the Church.  Our unity in faith – and its strength – is manifest in our oneness with the bishops of the Church, under the headship of the bishop of Rome, the Pope.

In the western Church (that is, the branch of Catholicism that “grew up” in Rome and the rest of western Europe over the centuries), it has remained the ordinary practice that the bishop himself confers the sacrament of Confirmation.  When this is not possible or practical, the priest who confirms still uses the special chrism oil that was blessed by the bishop.  In this way a real unity with the apostles in the Church is symbolized and maintained.  (The Catechism of the Catholic Church deals with this in pars. 1312-1314.)

Of course, here at the Cathedral Parish we have the privilege of having the bishop here with us a lot.  A Cathedral is the principal place where the diocesan bishop prays, teaches, and leads the Christian faithful.  But for many Catholics being with the bishop is a less-frequent occurrence.  Reflecting on Confirmation can lead us to recall how the bishop is supposed to be for the community a central focus of unity in our faith.


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