Sacraments - An Overview

"The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves

around the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Sacraments

(CCC 1113)

The Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ, and entrusted to the Church,

by which divine life is dispensed to us.

The visible rites by which the Sacraments are celebrated

signify and make present the graces proper to each Sacrament.

They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

(CCC 1131)

   While we believe that human life is infused with the sacramental goodness of God, the Catholic Church has defined seven (7) Sacraments - instituted by and through the life of Jesus Christ. It is through the experience of the sacramental ritual that we are infused with God's grace. The Sacraments nourish and strengthen us as they express and build up our faith.

(Click on the title of the Sacrament or the symbols to the right for more information about each particular Sacrament.)

The Sacraments of Initiation

Baptism

   "Holy Baptism is the basis for the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other Sacraments. Through Baptism, we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church, and made sharers in her mission: 'Baptism is the Sacrament of regeneration through water and in the Word'" (CCC 1213).

   Because of the importance of this Sacrament, preparation on the part of the family and / or the individual to be baptized is essential. This formation is directed at nourishing and nurturing faith in Jesus Christ as well as understanding more deeply the Teachings of the Church.

Confirmation

   "Baptism, the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the 'Sacraments of Initiation,' whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For 'by the Sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed'" (CCC 1285).

Eucharist

   "The holy Eucharist completes Christian Initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist" (CCC 1322).

   "At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. This He did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us" (CCC 1323).

The Sacraments of Healing

Reconciliation (Penance)

   "Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with Him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason, conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" (CCC 1440).

Anointing of the Sick

   "By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests, the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that He may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and Death of Christ" (CCC 1499).

The Sacraments of Vocation

Holy Orders

   "Holy Orders is the Sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to His Apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus, it is the Sacrament of Apostolic Ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate" (CCC 1536).

Matrimony

   "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a Sacrament" (CCC 1601).

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