Traditional Confirmation in Huntsville, Alabama
Contributed by Eduardo Kortright
Our Lady Help of Christians Traditional Latin Mass community in Huntsville, Alabama joyfully received His Excellency Bishop Robert Baker, Bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham, for the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the traditional Latin rite to 14 young adults and one adult on August 14, 2011. This significant day marked the first time since the Second Vatican Council that a Bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham has administered the Sacrament of Confirmation in the traditional Latin rite.
The traditional Confirmation rite was characterized with rich and historic symbolism and gestures. Bishop Baker signed each candidate on the forehead with holy chrism, making the sign of the cross, and with his hand gently struck each candidate on the cheek saying, “Pax tecum” (Peace be with you). This gesture valued in Church tradition (and used as far back as St. Cyril, 350 A.D.) is rich in “soldier of Christ” imagery, symbolizing a recognition of each candidate’s maturity in his or her faith. Traditionally, it is also a physical reminder for the newly confirmed – be strong in defending and spreading the faith.
Immediately following the Confirmation rite, Father Alan Mackey, chaplain for the Traditional Latin Mass community in Huntsville, celebrated a High Mass in the Extraordinary form. His Excellency Bishop Baker sat in choir, along with Father Jim Isaacson, a priest of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, Archdiocese of Chicago. The MC for the rite of Confirmation was Brother Brian Shafer, also of the Canons Regular. The Canons Regular, who find as part of their broader mission a desire to be faithful to the call they have received from God to “Restore the Sacred,” were invited to the Diocese of Birmingham temporarily by His Excellency Bishop Baker to assist in the transition of Christ the King Abbey into the fold of Holy Mother Church.
Following the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there was a reception for the Bishop, the newly confirmed and their family and friends, and Our Lady Help of Christians Traditional Latin Mass Community. A beautiful cake was specially prepared for the group and the Bishop generously spent his time visiting with the newly confirmed as well as their families and the many faithful gathered to celebrate this significant occasion.
Congratulations and many blessings to those who received the Sacrament of Confirmation conferred by His Excellency, Bishop Robert Baker, in the traditional Latin rite in the Diocese of Birmingham on August 14, 2011. Deo Gratias.