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Sacraments of the Catholic Church


The Catholic Church recognizes seven sacraments, instituted by Christ Himself, which are outward signs of an inward grace acting in our souls.

Baptism:

The Sacrament of Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments not only in time but in priority. The receiving of the other sacraments depends on Baptism. It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation (followed by Holy Communion and Confirmation). Once baptized, a person becomes a member of the Church. Baptism is necessary for salvation and is the very mark of a Christian because it brings us into new life in Christ.

Confession: (Reconciliation)

When he first appeared to the apostles after his Resurrection, Christ breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”

Confession is the reconciling of humans to God. When we sin, we deprive ourselves of God’s grace. When we deprive ourselves we make it easier to sin again. The way to redeem ourselves is to acknowledge our sins, repent them and ask God’s forgiveness. In the sacrament of Reconciliation grace is restored to our souls and we can once again resist sin.

Communion:

One of the Sacraments of Initiation, it brings us into the fullness of our life in Christ. In Holy Communion we are receiving the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we are required to receive Communion at least once per year and the Church urges us to receive Communion more frequently. Frequent Communion increases our love for God and for our neighbor.

Confirmation:

Confirmation is considered the Perfection of Baptism. 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. The anointing of the confirmand with the consecrated oil of chrism represents the safeguarding by the Holy Spirit of the graces conferred on the Christian at Baptism.

Matrimony:

Marriage is the union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and love. God is the author of marriage which consists of: the union of opposite sexes, a lifelong union (ending only with the death of one spouse) and the mutual consent of both parties.

Sacramental marriage is a type and symbol of the divine union between Christ (the Bridegroom) and His Church (the Bride).

Holy Orders:

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the continuation of Crist’s priesthood which he bestowed upon His Apostles. In the sacrament of Holy orders, a man is incorporated into the priesthood of Christ at one of three levels: the episcopate, the priesthood or the diaconate.

Anointing of the Sick:

Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or last rites, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was previously most commonly administered to the dying, for the remission of sins and the provision of spiritual strength and health. In modern times, however, its use has been expanded to all who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, and the Church stresses a secondary effect of the sacrament: to help a person recover his health.