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The sacrament, or holy ritual, of Confirmation is an important turning point in the spiritual lives of many young Christians, but it is perhaps most closely associated with Roman Catholicism. For Catholics, Confirmation - after Baptism - is traditionally the second of the three Sacraments of Initiation into the Christian faith. During Confirmation, the Holy Spirit is said to be conferred on the confirmed through reciting special prayers, lighting candles, and 'the laying on of hands' by the presiding clergyman. This prepares the child (usually between 7 and 15) to participate in the final stage of initiation: celebrating the Eucharist.
This spiritual rite of passage celebrated by Jewish boys at their thirteenth birthdays also holds ties to the physical changes they're undergoing. The Bar-Mitzvah roughly corresponds with the onset of puberty in males; however, it marks not only a young man's sexual maturation, but also his more general coming of age, or arrival to the point at which one is held socially and morally accountable as an adult. Ceremonial dress and reading from the Torah contribute to the ritual that makes the young man a Bar-Mitzvah ('son of the Law'), meaning he has now taken on a whole new set of personal, social, and religious responsibilities.
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Jul 9th, 2015
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