An extraordinary confirmation

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In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI released "Summorum Pontificum," issued motu proprio, which addressed celebration of the liturgy according to the Missale Romanum of 1962. The pope streamlined the permissions required to celebrate the 1962 Latin Mass and other rites.

Since then, the 1962 Latin Mass in the extraordinary form has been included in the schedules of 12 parishes in the Arlington Diocese.

Earlier this year, another sacrament in the extraordinary form was performed for the first time in the diocese. Deacons Zachary Akers and Daniel Heenan were ordained priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter June 14 at St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg.

There was another first Oct. 21, when Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde presided over a traditional Latin confirmation at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

In May, Father Paul F. deLadurantaye, Arlington diocesan secretary for religious education and sacred liturgy, sent a letter to pastors and directors of religious education inviting candidates to be confirmed at the Latin rite. About 60 boys and girls accepted the invitation. There were 14 diocesan parishes represented, plus two in Washington - Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church and St. Mary Mother of God.

After the candidates and their sponsors filled the front pews of the cathedral, the bishop processed to the altar, where he ceremoniously washed his hands and faced the candidates and said in Latin, "May the Holy Spirit come down upon you, and may the power of the Most High keep you from sin."

The bishop, with miter and crozier, sat on a wooden chair called a "faldstool" and received the confirmation candidates.

Each candidate knelt, and their sponsor placed their hand on the candidate's right shoulder. The bishop traced the sign of the cross on the forehead with chrism and said, again in Latin, "I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation." The bishop continued making the sign of the cross three times over the candidate. With a gentle tap to the cheek he said, "Peace be with you."

After all were confirmed, Bishop Loverde led the congregation in reciting the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father and the Hail Mary.

The bishop addressed the newly confirmed, telling them that they have more strength now after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

"You are now prepared and ready to make Christ known and loved," he said.

He added that this will not be easy, but they are strengthened now by the Holy Spirit.

He told the confirmed to go forth with hearts on fire to bring the truth of His Gospel to a world starving for the truth.

Eucharistic exposition and Benediction followed the confirmation rite.

Afterwards, friends and family gathered throughout the church taking pictures. The mood was festive, with parents expressing their gratitude to Bishop Loverde for performing the confirmation in the extraordinary form.

Bob James was there to see a friend's child confirmed and thought the ceremony was very moving.

James and Anne-Francoise Guelcher, who attend Mass at St. Mary Mother of God Church brought their son, Joseph, 12, to be confirmed in the Latin rite. The parish offers a Mass in the extraordinary form, but no traditional confirmation.

"It was beautiful," said James Guelcher.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2014