The Church celebrates seven sacraments as instituted by Christ. Through the sacraments God touches our lives. Our celebrations of the sacraments are signs of Jesus’ presence in our lives and a means for receiving his grace. The Sacraments are an Outward Sign of an inner reality, being so because God established them.
The Seven Sacraments are;
- Penance/Reconciliation (also referred to as “Confession”)
- Holy Matrimony or Marriage
- Sacred Order of the Priesthood
- Anointing of the Sick
The First Three (Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist) are the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. They lay the foundation of every Christian life.
In Baptism we receive new life in Christ. Baptism takes away original sin and gives us a new birth in the Holy Spirit. Its Outward Signs are the pouring of water an d the invocation of the Trinitarian formula, “I baptise you N. in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit“.
Confirmation seals our life of faith in Jesus. Its Outward Signs are the laying on of hands on a person’s head, most often by a bishop, and the anointing with oil. Like Baptism, Confirmation can only be received once.
The Eucharist nourishes our life of faith. Its Outward Signs are the bread and wine that are consecrated by a validly ordained priest. Once consecrated, we believe they are truly the Body and Blood of Christ, not symbolically, but truly. We believe in the species of the Eucharist, Christ is present to us, body, soul and divinity.
Through Penance we receive God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness requires a repentant heart that is truly sorry for the sins. In Penance we receive Jesus’ healing grace through absolution by the priest. The Outwards Signs of this sacrament are our confession of sins and the words of absolution.
Anointing of the Sick
This sacrament unites a sick person’s suffering with that of Jesus and brings forgiveness of sins. The Outward Signs of this sacrament is the laying of hands from the priest, and the Anointing with the ‘Oil of the Sick’ that is consecrated by the bishop at the Chrism Mass.
In Matrimony a baptized man and woman are united with each other as a sign of the unity between Jesus and his Church. Matrimony requires the consent of the couple, as expressed in the marriage promises or the consent (vows). This is the Outward Sign of the Sacrament.
In Holy Orders men are ordained as priests, deacons, or bishops. The Outward Signs of this sacrament are the laying on of hands and anointing with oil by the bishop.