In the United States, the celebration of Confirmation is mostly accompanied by the choosing of a “Confirmation name.”
During the past century, this has become a popular custom during, but is still confined to certain countries.
But during the first few centuries of Christianity, the three sacraments of initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, were always celebrated together.
This was actually meant that adults, children, and babies received all three sacraments when converting to Christianity.
At that time, becoming a Christian mostly involved a conversion from paganism and the need for a Christian name in union with their new faith.
There is an evidence for receiving a new name at Baptism which dates back to the 3rd and 4th centuries.
In some ways, this practice was inspired by different episodes in the Bible where an individual received a new name when given a mission by God.
For instance, Abram became “Abraham,” and Saul became “Paul.”
Ultimately, the sacrament of Confirmation was separated from Baptism in the Western Church and it came to be celebrated in many dioceses when the child was older.
This increased to the custom of having an additional “Confirmation name,” which signifies the new grace given to those being confirmed.
Based on facts from the Catholic Encyclopedia, “in England the practice of adopting a new name at confirmation was remembered after the Reformation, for Sir Edward Coke made it open that a man might validly buy land by his confirmation name, and he recalls the case of a Sir Francis Gawdye, late Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, whose name of baptism was Thomas and his name of confirmation Francis.”
During the past decades, it has been emphasized about choosing a Confirmation name, which is mostly associated with the name of a saint. And this is designed in a way to give the young person a privilege to learn the life of a saint and to strive to conform their lives to their example.
However, many dioceses have tried to preserve the connection between Baptism and Confirmation and discourage young people from choosing a separate name.
But in substitution, the person’s baptismal name is used at the moment of Confirmation.
Though, whatever the local custom may be, Confirmation is a sacrament which is designed to strengthen the graces gotten at Baptism.
It is however, a beautiful sacrament, one that can be accompanied by a new name, even though this is not a requirement and is a relatively new custom in the Catholic Church.