Sacraments

A brief survey of the Sacraments and how to receive them.

A “Sacrament” is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.

The seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church are the ordinary means by which Jesus Christ dispenses His saving grace.

There are three Sacraments of Initiation: By these a person becomes a full member of Christ’s Holy Church.

Baptism is the first Sacrament received and is the doorway to the other six. It is done either by immersion or the pouring of water, together with the baptismal formula: “I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism confers an indelible mark on the soul and can never be repeated nor effaced.

To learn more about this Sacrament, see the official Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1213-1284

How to receive this Sacrament:
Call the parish office to arrange for Baptism. Those over the age of seven must first undergo instruction. One or two godparents are to be chosen, and they must have reached their 16th birthday, have been confirmed and be practicing Catholics. This means at a minimum; faithful attendance at Sunday Mass, frequent reception of Confession and a life lived in conformity with the principles of the Catholic Faith. Those married must have been so with the bishop’s permission. Godparents must provide a letter from their pastor certifying that they are suitable. Finally, the parents are to partake in a short talk on Baptism at the parish.

Confirmation is the “seal of the Holy Spirit.” By it the person is confirmed and strengthened in baptismal grace. Like Baptism, Confirmation also confers an indelible mark on the soul.

To learn more about this Sacrament, see the official Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1285-1321

How to receive this Sacrament:
Those seeking Confirmation must partake in a course of instruction, and they must choose a sponsor. The sponsor must have reached his/her 16th birthday, have been confirmed and be a practicing Catholic. This means at a minimum; faithful attendance at Sunday Mass, frequent reception of Confession and a life lived in conformity with the principles of the Catholic Faith. Those married must have been so with the bishop’s permission. A sponsor must provide a letter from their pastor certifying that they are suitable. Please contact the office for more information.

The Most Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion is the most sublime of the Sacraments in that it contains the Real Presence of Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This miracle of Christ’s Presence, utterly unique among the seven Sacraments, is brought about (or “confected”) at Holy Mass. With every worthy reception of Holy Communion the person’s soul increases in sanctifying grace and intimacy with God. The Eucharist is also known as the Most Blessed Sacrament.

To learn more about this Sacrament, see the official Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1322-1419

How to receive this Sacrament:
Reception of Holy Communion is reserved to practicing Catholics in good standing, since such an act implies belief in this doctrine and full communion with the Catholic Church (i.e., with the Pope).

Catholics are permitted to receive Holy Communion only if they:

are in the state of grace: i.e., if since their last Confession they have committed no act regarded by the Church as being mortally sinful (such as skipping Sunday Mass).
are properly disposed by having prepared themselves carefully in prayer;
and have observed the Eucharistic fast of at least one hour prior to reception of Holy Communion.
There are two Sacraments of Healing:

Penance is the Sacrament whereby an individual is reconciled to God through the confession of sins to a priest. It is obligatory for all who have fallen into mortal sin, but is highly recommended even for venial sins. It is also known as Confession or Reconciliation.

To learn more about this Sacrament, see the official Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1422-1498

How to receive this Sacrament:
The hours for confession are posted in the weekly bulletin (see the link to the bulletin on this website). One can also make a private appointment. The penitent must first make an examination of conscience and be truly sorry for one’s sins, together with having a firm purpose of amendment. However, those who are uncertain may still approach the priest for spiritual guidance.

Anointing of the Sick is the Sacrament whereby the person in danger of death is spiritually strengthened. It does not have to be administered at the point of death, but may be given as soon as a life-threatening condition is diagnosed or worsened. It sometimes brings about physical healing as well.

To learn more about this Sacrament, see the official Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1499-1532

How to receive this Sacrament:
Please contact the office to arrange for Anointing. The person should normally be prepared to go to Confession as well. There is an emergency phone number on our voicemail when someone is in danger of death. If you find yourself or your loved one in a hospital and in need of a priest, it is advisable to tell the nurse’s station immediately, as most hospitals have the on-call number for the nearest priest who serves them. It is important not to wait until the last moment to call a priest for someone who is in danger of death.

There are two Sacraments of Mission:

Holy Matrimony is the Sacrament whereby one man and one woman are joined in an indissoluble bond which is mutually exclusive and open to new life.

To learn more about this Sacrament, see the official Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1601-1666

How to receive this Sacrament:
Couples interested in marrying must contact their parish priest as soon as they can so as to arrange things most expeditiously. The priest will guide you through the steps, which include several meetings with him and up to two off-campus days of instruction. The Bishop has set a six-month waiting period for marriages, so it is best not to rent a facility until the first meeting with the priest. Couples must not be cohabiting and living intimately prior to marriage as this is a gravely sinful arrangement which causes scandal. If one of the parties has been married (either in Church or civilly) and divorced the question becomes more complicated, and so it is important to talk to the priest who will help you understand your situation vis-à-vis the Church and perhaps find a resolution.

Holy Orders is comprised of three degrees: Bishop, Priest and Deacon. This Sacrament confers an indelible mark. The Bishop possesses the fullness of the priesthood. Priests are ordained primarily to offer Mass, hear confessions and anoint the sick. And deacons are ordained to serve. Although in some cases even a married man may be ordained, only a baptized male can validly be ordained to the sacred priesthood.

To learn more about this Sacrament, see the official Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1533-1600

How to receive this Sacrament:
Men interested in the diaconate or priesthood are invited to call one of the parish priests for counsel. By extension, any man or woman interested in the consecrated religious life is invited to speak to a priest as well. He will be able to direct you to the appropriate people for further discernment.