By Pfc. Brea Corley 75th Fires BrigadeMay 12, 2016
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Grierson Hill Chapel here was full of church-goers May 7, to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, a Roman Catholic ceremony when followers confirm their lives to Jesus Christ and accept the Holy Spirit.
Nearly 100 people, mostly Soldiers and their families along with some Department of Defense civilians, witnessed the ceremony. Among those present was Maj. Gen. John Rossi, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, and his family. Family members of Fort Sill Soldiers were confirmed along with one service member.
Retired Army chaplain, the Rev. Neal James Buckon came from California to perform the ceremony for the 10 confirmands. Since retirement, Father Buckon has served as a military bishop.
Most of candidates seeking to complete their initiation into the Catholic Church were high school age youths, but there were a few adults who made the choice to become confirmed after completing the mandatory Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults class.
At 5 p.m., confirmands wearing red robes that symbolized the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit took their places, the service started and the spiritual ritual began.
Church member Jeannette Goodman came to the service to support her 28-year-old daughter, Jessica Upchurch, who teaches the class that candidates wanting to be confirmed must go through prior to confirmation. Goodman said the Sacrament of Confirmation isn't something to take lightly.
"Confirmation is furthering your faith in Christ," she said. "After this sacrament the spirit of the Holy Ghost comes into your body, and you're considered an adult in the church."
Upchurch, said that although confirmation is the last sacrament of initiation into the Catholic Church, the journey doesn't end there.
"You don't just get confirmed and then you're done," she said. "You can always expand on your knowledge."
In addition, there aren't just religious benefits to ceremonies like this. While Staff Sgt. Amber Stanley, the 75th Field Artillery Brigade chaplain assistant, said she isn't Catholic herself, she believes spirituality is an important part of resiliency for military families.
"When a family is spiritually strong, they're more resilient," Stanley said.
Having religious ceremonies like confirmation improve family member's readiness and ability to deal with the challenges of military life, she added.
The service lasted for about an hour. Afterward, the congregation gathered in a kitchen area for a reception.
Recently confirmed Aiden Williams was enjoying cake and taking pictures with his family. Williams, now 13, was baptized as a 3-month-old child and said that now that he was old enough to understand his religion he was confident in his choice to become confirmed.
"I didn't want to wait any longer," he said. "I wanted to tell everybody what my choice was."
After the reception, the recently confirmed went their separate ways with their families carrying with them, in spirit, the saints they each chose to guide them throughout life.