In recent years, the Office of Liturgy has received several questions regarding the actions of concelebrants during the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation within Mass. Specifically, it has been asked whether all concelebrants should extend their hands over the confirmandi during the prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit which precedes the imposition of hand and anointing with chrism. This question may stem from some ambiguity in the rubric which accompanies this prayer in the newly translated Order of Confirmation. That rubric reads, “Then the Bishop lays hands over all those to be confirmed (as do all the Priests who are associated with him).”
The question as to whether those “Priests who are associated with the Bishop” refers to all concelebrants or only those who assist him in administering the Sacrament of Confirmation was addressed by the USCCB’s Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy in 1972, at the time of the promulgation of the post-Conciliar Confirmation rite. The Committee indicated that a distinction should be observed between those concelebrants who assist the Bishop in performing the chrismation and other priests who may be present to concelebrate the Confirmation Mass, but who do not perform the anointing associated with the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In this case, only those priests who anoint the candidates with the Bishop (as in the case of especially large groups of confirmandi) are to participate in the extension and imposition of hands during the prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit.