Can I change my Confirmation name?

Dear Paul,

Can one pick a new Confirmation name? I didn't do a very good job of picking my name... I have no idea why I chose it, really. I wish I had picked the name of my favorite saint, but at the time I thought it was not a pretty name. Am I allowed to fix this poor choice?

Dear Friend,

Before I give you the answer (which I think you will really like, by the way), I wanted to let you know what a blessing it is just to be asked a question like this! When I went through Confirmation I did not give much thought to my Confirmation name either. I, like you, just thought it sounded kind of cool, but that was about it. I want to let you know that you totally inspire me with how you have reflected so deeply and thoughtfully about this - and how you want more out of life and faith than shallowness and superficiality. I have never received a question like yours before, by the way, and as I have shared it with some church leaders, they are all in awe of you. How cool is that? You are inspiring some grown-ups - big time - by asking such a question.

Anyway, I checked with my pastor, and, I have some great news for you! The answer is YES; you can change your Confirmation name. He told me that a Confirmation name is mainly a personal faith decision, and that there are actually no official church records recording your Confirmation name. So, that means that there is no hassle of red tape and paperwork; all you have to do it talk to God about it, and you can change your Confirmation name!

He did suggest, though, that if you have a good relationship with your own pastor or a deacon, it might be cool to ask them to lead you in some kind of prayer service for your new name. There is not an official prayer of the church for this purpose, but maybe you could write something up? Or, it could be as simple as asking an ordained minister for a special blessing for this decision. While a formal or informal prayer service is not necessary, it might be cool for you to do something like that, if you want to. If you don't feel that close to a priest or deacon, I would suggest perhaps just spending some time in a church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, talking to Jesus about this decision, knowing that He loves you and is proud of you for taking your faith so seriously.

Again, thanks for the great question, and for being an inspiration to me and so many others!


PS - A few extra thoughts for anyone reading this post --

Please know that I am not, by posting this question and response, encouraging everyone who reads it to change their Confirmation name on a whim.  This is a decision should not be made flippantly.  This young woman who wrote to me has been very thoughtful and prayerful about this, and the Holy Spirit seems to be leading her to make this change.  I wanted to let her know where the Church stands on such a decision, and that she can be a peace changing her Confirmation name.

Also, please consider this - even if you were not the most prayerful in choosing your Confirmation name, the Holy Spirit may have been working through that decision! My Confirmation name is Thomas, and I am totally cool with it now, since there are several awesome St. Thomases out there that inspire me and that I can relate to, from St. Thomas Aquinas the Scholar who I wish I was like, to doubting Thomas that I am much more similar to!  And my co-worker Heather originally chose Agatha, a saint she new nothing about at the time, only to discover later that Agatha is one of the patron saints of purity and chastity - one of her favorite topics!

I guess this is just my way of saying don't be in a hurry to change your Confirmation name; the one you have may be the one that God wants for you!