Confirmation: a folklore ethnography of Roman Catholic parish practice in Newfoundland

Condon, Eileen M. (1992) Confirmation: a folklore ethnography of Roman Catholic parish practice in Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis describes and interprets the practice of the sacrament of confirmation in the context of one Roman Catholic parish in Newfoundland. This sacrament affords a researcher unique opportunities to explore folk-official dynamics in Catholicism. Confirmation often brings the highest official in a diocese, a bishop, into contact with adolescents. As a sacrament of initiation, confirmation draws together persons who are accustomed to "practicing" Catholicism in different ways. -- Historically, Christian bishops in the Western Rite toured extensive areas to bless previously baptized candidates, anoint them with holy oil, and lay hands upon them. Through these actions, candidates were recognized to have received the Holy Spirit and its gifts, as fully initiated Christians. In 1991, 114 candidates were confirmed at St. Cecilia's, a Roman Catholic parish in the Archdiocese of St. John's. -- Unlike theology or sacramental history, more common approaches to this topic, this study approaches the meaning of confirmation from the perspectives of adolescent candidates, their families, and parish leaders. Like recent studies of confirmation by Scandinavian ethnologists, this investigation draws upon oral accounts of confirmations and other data collected through participant observation and interviewing. References to written sources such as city newspaper accounts, local church histories, and archdiocesan reports help portray the significance of confirmation in the context of Newfoundland history. Local beliefs and practices are presented and analyzed to critique theological representations of this Roman Catholic sacrament. Special attention is paid to adolescents' conformative and non-conforrnative play at a preparatory retreat, and to the structure and function of confirmation costume.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10332
Item ID: 10332
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [214]-225
Keywords: Adolescent, Catholicism, confirmation, folklore, Newfoundland, play
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1992
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Confirmation--Catholic Church.

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