Confirmation is the second sacrament of initiation. The Bishop, as leader of the diocesan Church community (or his deputy) confirms a person's Baptism through anointing with oil of Chrism. Through the laying on of hands over the head of the confirmee, the Bishop invokes a further outpouring of the Holy Spirit that enhances a candidate's giftedness and encourages them to put their gifts at the service of the Community.
In the early Church, Confirmation was celebrated in the one ceremony on Holy Saturday during the Easter Vigil, as is the case these days when adults celebrate the Rite of Christian Initiation. When infant Baptism was introduced, the child was baptised in the local community and confirmed later, when the Bishop visited the community. Thus began the separation of the two sacraments.
A further change happened in the early 1900s when Pope Pius X allowed First Communion at an earlier age. For about 70 years the order changed to: Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation.
Since Vatican II, some dioceses have begun to restore the earlier order of these Sacraments. For some years now, this has been the policy within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.