What happened to confirmation names?


Full Question

Could you explain the custom of taking a "confirmation name"? It seemed to be required when I was younger but I don't think it is anymore.

Answer

The custom of adopting a saint’s name at confirmation was done in order to adopt the saint as a special heavenly patron or to honor a saint to whom one had a special devotion. In short, the purpose was to give the confirmand the opportunity to develop his understanding of and reliance on the communion of saints.

While the practice is still in use today, some dioceses have encouraged returning to the older tradition of not picking a new name at confirmation. The idea is that the person is already supposed to have a Christian name, given to him in baptism, and that continuing to use that name at confirmation will serve as a link between these two sacraments of Christian initiation.