Bishop Barron on Confirmation Names


well as I record these words were coming

to the very end of a confirmation season

in the LA archdiocese we bishops out

here confirmed during one intense period

just the two months after Easter so I've

been doing a lot of preaching

confirmation so I thought I'd maybe

share some insights from the homily I've

come up with for this year this year I

focused on the name so one of the marks

of confirmations that people take a new

name and it's certainly true biblically

that when someone has a powerful

experience of God they often receive a

new name whether it's Jacob becoming

Israel Simon becoming Peter a Saul

becoming Paul etc so I tell the kids and

I really mean that look you know as you

get confirmed you're having a powerful

experience of God as you receive the

Holy Spirit

so it's appropriate that you receive a

new name I tell them my confirmation

name which is Patrick now I was 11 when

I was confirmed and frankly I don't

remember how I came to that decision to

be called Patrick most likely my Irish

parents strongly suggested to me but

what I find interesting is when I was 11

and I was confirmed the farthest thing

from my mind

was being a priest much less a bishop

much less an evangelist now that's what

Patrick was Patrick was a bishop who

evangelized Ireland when I was 11 I

wanted to be a baseball player I wanted

to be shortstop for the Chicago Cubs but

I tell the kids it's true and weird that

I as it were grown into that name in the

course of my life I became priest

eventually a bishop and a lot of my work

is in evangelization it's as though that

name of Patrick kind of seized me so I

tell them in a way you know you've

chosen the name but much more

significantly that Saint has chosen you

that Saint has chosen you to be drawn

into the power of his or her life and

witness well then I make this remark

that in my three years any way of doing

confirmations out here by far the most

popular name

for the young men is Sebastian or

Sebastian for the Hispanics and that's

true by the way across the Anglo

Hispanic divide Sebastian Sebastian is

the most popular name probably because

he's the patron of both soldiers and

athletes you know so probably the young

athletes like him but I make the point

that look Sebastian was a Roman soldier

in fact pretty high-level Roman soldier

who eventually died for his faith but

when someone became a Roman soldier in

his time they first made this sacred

oath they took an oath to the Emperor to

the Empire etc to the army and that oath

was called in Latin a sacramentum right

so our word sacrament Sacramento in

Spanish comes from that and I tell the

kids look in the course of this ceremony

tonight you're gonna take a sacred oath

you're all gonna stand up I'm gonna lead

you through a series of oaths of

promises do you renounce Satan and all

his works and empty promises I do do you

believe in God do you believe in Jesus

Christ do you believe in the holy spirit

they say I do yes well what that is is a

sacramentum it's a sacred oath on their

own two feet in their own voice they're

telling God and the people there who

they are well then I tell them after the

sacramentum someone like Sebastian

someone becoming a Roman soldier would

have been branded so they took out this

thing they call the character in Latin

which means a brand and they would

tattoo them they brand them either on

the hand they think or on the arm what

was that but a claiming of that person

for Rome and for the army they were they

were branded they were claimed well

confirmation is called in our theology a

character sacrament a character

sacrament like baptism and like Holy

Orders it brands you permanently and I

tell them look a tattoo maybe a lot of

people in the room have tattoos and

they're pretty permanent they last your

whole life but they're just the level of

your skin what I'm talking about is a is


tattoo a branding at the level of your

soul so when I put the sign of Christ's

cross on their forehead that's an

external sign of the internal branding

that will claim them forever as a member

of of this great army of Christ now you

know muqaddas Mouton DOS it's a metaphor

I'm not telling them to go out and you

know take up arms but they're like an

army they're like an army that's been

shaped and formed and now sent on

mission to bring the life and work of

Christ to the world ok well the the most

popular name among the young women in my

experience is probably a tie between

Cecelia very popular so the patroness of

musicians that's probably why but I'd

say Cecilia is tied with Teresa Teresa

anyway you've got Teresa of ávila you

have Santa Teresita right you have

tourism to zero the little flower and

then this year very popularly you have

the most recent Teresa namely trace of

Calcutta Mother Teresa

so I say look let's let's reflect on her

a little bit mother Teresa this little

lady barely five feet tall

hears the call within the call to serve

the poorest of the poor and out she goes

into the worst slum in the world which

I've been to I was there filming some

years ago right were her mother houses

and there she was though in the early

days back in the what forties and

fifties without money without

institutional support with nothing she

this little lady walks out into this

slum and begins caring for the sick and

the dying well I say to the con for


what was her principal this great Teresa

many of you taking her name what's her

principal her principal was don't worry

about doing great things do little

things with great love now I realize

that can sound a bit like a Hallmark

card but it's absolutely bedrock

spiritual truth don't worry about doing

great things in the eyes of the world

you know wealth and power and

achievement and accomplishment in the

eyes of the world that amounts to very


rather worry about doing even the

smallest thing with great love because

he love is the divine life the divine

life is not wealth it's not power it's

not privilege or honor those can serve

the divine life but the divine life in

itself is love and so even the smallest

thing in the eyes of the world done with

great love gives you access to God's

life and therefore makes you happy that

was the principle that she lived by I

tell the confirmation kids look when you

make your sacramentum in a few minutes

when you say I renounce Satan and all

his works and empty promises that's

exactly what you're saying is I'm not

gonna worry about wealth pleasure honor

power which are the the great empty

promises I tell them that I just read

this recently Pope Francis refers to the

devil as a con artist which i think is

good you know let's see I got a deal for

you this is really gonna make you happy

but they they reject that and then when

they say I believe rather in God and

Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit in the

church what they're saying is I believe

in this in the power of the divine life

surging through me well then I end with

one more Saint namely my favorite Saint

Thomas Aquinas and at this point I

usually asked one of the servers who are

wearing those little they're called

Vince like little shawls that have the

bishops coat of arms on the back I have

a kid come out and turn around and I

show them the coat of arms which has

that motto that I chose from Aquinas non

knees ETA domine a right when Thomas was

was asked the voice from the cross came

you've written well of me Thomas what

would you have and he said

non knees ETA domine I'll have nothing

except you so I said the kids that's

really what you're saying today when you

take that sacramentum and you reject

Satan and his works you're saying I want

you Lord you're the source of my joy now

to bring that together that's what makes

you a powerful soldier in the army of

Christ if you can find that spiritual

space then you're ready as a confirmed

strengthened member of Christ's mystical

body to do his work in the world