The seven Catholic Sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God’s saving presence.
The Seven Catholic Sacraments
The Latin word sacramentum means “a sign of the sacred.” The seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God’s saving presence. That’s what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God’s grace.
If you learn more about the sacraments, you can celebrate them more fully. To learn more about the individual sacraments, please follow the links below. You’ll find easy-to-understand articles and a good sample of common questions and answers.
For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church’s way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.
Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ’s Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, or Penance and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness; as a result we are called to forgive others.
Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. It is most often associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, is a public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and wife speaks of family values and also God’s values.
In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, the priest being ordained vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel, and by providing other means to holiness.
The Catholic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.
Sacramental Preparation of Children in the Rochester Diocese
Is based on the readiness, not age or grade level and includes the individual, family, and the community.
- Desire for the sacrament expressed
- Participation in the life of the worship community
- Prior age appropriation formation
- Willingness to continue life in the community
- Community provides the necessary support for parents and children in order to foster faith growth. Is to be short and focused.
- Formation not education (about living)
- Separate from religious education/school.
- Sacramental preparation is not religious education
- One must be baptized and able to renew baptismal vows.
- Have the use of reason (about the age of seven)
- Of developmentally disabled, confirmed after appropriate catechists.
- Desire for the sacrament (no one forced to celebrate sacrament).
- Baptized. When suitably prepared, have a right to sacrament.
(Neither age nor grade level is sufficient reason to delay the reception of the sacrament Canon 843,1)
- First Eucharist:
- Reception of Eucharist is a right which pertains to all the faithful (c 213)
- Desire of the sacrament.
- Can distinguish Eucharist from ordinary bread.
- First Penance:
- Every child who has reached the age of discretion must be given adequate, basic catechesis for the celebration of penance.
- No obligation to celebrate Penance may be imposed, other that that which binds all Catholics, namely, the consciousness of personal, serious sin.
- Although catechesis must be given before Eucharist, the principle of individual readiness must be honored.
- Signs of readiness include:
- An awareness of the relationship with God and neighbor.
- A knowledge that they can harm, relationship through sin, and must assume personal responsibility.
- The experiences of personal sorrow for their failures and expression of sorrow.
- The realization that they must try to change their sinful behaviour.
- And understanding that the sacrament of Penance is special sign of God’s love.
- A free desire to receive this sacrament.