The sacraments of the Catholic Church were instituted by Christ as visible signs imparting His divine grace. They serve as sacred rites for encountering God, growing in faith, receiving His forgiveness, and uniting us with the Body of Christ, the Church. The seven sacraments - Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony - are vital conduits for our spiritual well-being, and each hold distinct rituals and symbols crucial to the Catholic faith. Administered by ordained clergy, these rituals foster a deep connection with God, nourishing believers' spirituality within the Christian community.
Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation into the Catholic faith. It is a sacred rite where water and the words of the priest are used to cleanse a person from original and actual sin, initiate them into the Catholic Church, and bestow God's grace in their soul, marking the beginning of their Christian journey.
The sacrament of confession, also known as the sacrament of reconciliation or penance, is a crucial way for believers to receive God's forgiveness for sins committed after baptism. It involves contrition, confession of sins, and the resolution to amend one's life. Through the priest, acting in the person of Christ, absolution is granted, restoring the individual's communion with God and the Church. The sacrament offers both spiritual healing and reconciliation with the Christian community, promoting genuine conversion and a renewal of grace.
Once a baptized person has reached the age of reason (7-8 years old), they become eligible to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. Also known as the Eucharist, it is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. It is not a symbol, it is truly the Lord Himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity veiled under the appearance of bread and wine. Receiving Holy Communion removes venial sins and further strengthens our union with Christ and His Church, helping each member of His Body to persevere on their spiritual journey to Heaven.
Through Confirmation the Holy Spirit bestows His gifts upon the recipient, enabling them to bear witness to their faith more fully and actively participate in the Church's mission. Confirmation seals the individual with the Holy Spirit and unites them more closely to Christ and imparts special graces to help believers spread and defend the faith, guided by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The sacrament of matrimony is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, a partnership of love and life. This union is intended for the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. Matrimony reflects the love between Christ and the Church and is marked by the couple's mutual consent, lifelong commitment, and openness to new life. The sacrament confers grace upon the spouses to help them fulfill their roles and responsibilities in marriage, fostering unity, indissolubility, and sanctification within the marital bond.
Since the time of the Apostles, Christ has personally called forth men and women to dedicate their lives ministering to the People of God in the service of the Church as a priest, religious sister or brother, or deacon. The call to priesthood is a special one in which a man is consecrated to serve as another Christ, a shepherd of the people of God. Priests are indispensable in the life of the Church, and the Lord is always calling young men to serve Him in this capacity.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
This sacrament provides the sick person with spiritual strength to face their suffering in union with the passion of Christ and, if it will be good for the soul, physical healing. It is for those who are in danger of death, either from a specific illness or the generic risks of old age. It can be received multiple times, either when one's condition worsens or when, having recovered, one falls ill once more.
To schedule an Anointing of the Sick or to schedule Last Rites, please call the church office at 205-822-9125 ext. 58