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Sacraments

Sacrament is an efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit (774, 1131). The sacraments (called “mysteries” in the Eastern Churches) are seven in number: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance or Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony (1210).

The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life (St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th III, 65, 1) they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stage of natural life and stages of the spiritual life (1210).

Sacraments are outward expressions of God’s love for His people.

Christ instituted the seven sacraments of the new law:

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First Communion

As Catholics, we believe the Eucharist (Holy Communion) is the real presence of Jesus Christ and that He lovingly offers Himself as spiritual nourishment with each celebration of the Mass. This intimate exchange with our Lord strengthens us spiritually and brings us closer to God. It also increases our capacity to love one another more fully and to live in Christian community.

Baptism

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.

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Confirmation

Confirmation is a Sacrament in the Catholic Church in which the one who is confirmed (confirmandi) receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit through the imposition of hand and anointing with oils by the bishop. It’s considered a sacrament of initiation which means that it brings you deeper into communion with the Church.

Matrimony 

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.

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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. In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, the priest who is 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.

Reconciliation

“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, the new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation … We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”    2 Corinthians 5: 17-19, 20

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Anointing of the Sick

“Heal the sick!” The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. She believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies. This presence is particularly active through the sacraments and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist, the bread that gives eternal life and that St. Paul suggests is connected with bodily health. (Catechism 1509)

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