CONFIRMATION is a sacrament of initiation… and like the other sacraments of initiation, CONFIRMATION calls us to conversion and deeper relationship with God, one another, and ourselves.

“This makes clear the special importance of CONFIRMATION for sacramental initiation by which the faithful ‘as members of the living Christ are incorporated into Him and made like Him through BAPTISM and through CONFIRMATION and the EUCHARIST.’” (Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation, emphasis added)


In the Diocese of Arlington, CONFIRMATION generally occurs in the 8th grade.  The diocese requires 2 consecutive years of faith formation prior to reception of the sacrament of CONFIRMATION (i.e., 7th and 8th grade.) The 2 years of consecutive preparation for CONFIRMATION at ST. MARK normally begins in the 7th grade, with candidates receiving CONFIRMATION in the spring of 8th grade. Fulfillment of the 2-year preparation process includes enrollment during the 2022-2023 year either in an RE program or at a Catholic School, participation in a Spirit Team, engaging in a ST. MARK CONFIRMATION retreat, attending the Diocesan BASH* event (once) in their 6th, 7th or 8th year, Year 2 candidates must attend the ST. MARK Middle School Kickoff  (Friday, October 7, 2022 in the CFC gym), completing an interview form, composing a letter to Father Pat, and parental sessions. More information regarding these events will be provided after sessions begin.

*DIOCESAN BASH EVENT was a requirement before the pandemic. It wasn’t available in 2020 or 2021, and in 2022 a NET retreat took its place at ST. MARK. The current Year 2 candidates for Confirmation are not required to attend BASH due to their attendance at the NET Retreat in April 2022. Year 1 candidates and future Confirmation candidates will be required to attend BASH at least once in their 6th, 7th or 8th grade year before being confirmed.

The date for this year’s BASH is Saturday, April 22, 2023, at Bishop O’Connell HS.  Attendance will be taken and recorded for reference. Youth must attend the BASH event in its entirety – not arriving late or leaving early – in order for it to count. There will be a charge of $20 to attend this event. Permission forms will be available in March 2023. BASH is open to all 6th, 7th, and 8th grade youth and their friends. Youth must attend with a parish group; no individual registrations allowed.

Weekly participation in the Sunday liturgy is especially important if we are attempting to prepare our youth to become adult Catholics in the faith. No sacramental preparation can substitute for our greatest act of worship which occurs during Mass.

High school-aged youth

If you have a high school-aged youth who wants to receive the sacrament of CONFIRMATION, please contact Joe Flaherty in the Religious Education Office at 703-938-1948 ext 1.


Are you an adult BAPTIZED Catholic over the age of 18 who desires to receive the Sacraments of  CONFIRMATION or EUCHARIST? Joe Flaherty, the Director of Religious Education, will be happy to assist you. In your initial conversation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and have your concerns addressed.


When will the 8th grade Youth Confirmation 2023 occur?

CONFIRMATION will take place on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at 7:00pm, with a required rehearsal for both candidate and sponsor on Wednesday, May 17 at 7:00pm.

What is the role of a Sponsor? 

Sponsors play an important role not only in the celebration of the Sacrament of CONFIRMATION but in the life of your youth as well. They represent the larger Christian community who desire, like you, to have youth mature in wisdom, age, and grace.

They witness to a committed relationship with Jesus lived through prayer, sacramental participation, and service towards their neighbor.

Who can be a Sponsor?

The Church states that a CONFIRMATION sponsor must meet the requirements below:

  • At least 16 years of age and sufficiently mature
  • Someone other than the parent or legal guardian of the one being CONFIRMED
  • If married, their marriage is recognized by the Church
  • Participate in the life of their parish community through frequent reception of the sacraments
  • Live a life of moral commitment in loving service to others

Being a Sponsor or Godparent provides a more in-depth historical context of the explanation of these requirements.

What if the Sponsor is from another parish? 

If the sponsor is a member of another parish an eligibility letter or certificate is required. A form for sponsors to present to their parish is available here. It must be signed by the sponsor and his/her pastor, and bear the seal of the parish.

What if I have been asked to be a Sponsor? 

To request a Sponsor Eligibility Letter or Certificate contact the Parish Secretary, Stacey Ashman, at 703-281-9100.  Please plan to allow at least 3 weeks for completion. You will be notified when the letter is complete to come pick up your letter at the Parish Office.


Page last updated: January 24, 2023


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