The sacraments of the Catholic Church were instituted by Jesus and entrusted to the Church. Sacraments are visible rites seen as signs and efficacious channels of the grace of God to all those who receive them with the proper disposition.
Baptism is seen as the sacrament of admission to the faith, bringing sanctifying grace to the person being baptised. Holy water is sprinkled or poured on the head by the Priest who invokes the Trinity with the words: “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The old self is said to die in the waters, and a new self emerges, mirroring the death and resurrection of Christ.
We are here to support you as your baby is welcomed into the family and the life of the Church. Not all parents are Catholic and we seek to help you understand what baptism means so that when the Priest asks at the beginning of the rite: “Do you understand what you are undertaking?”, you will be able to confidently answer: “We do.”
Another sacrament of initiation, a child’s First Communion is usually celebrated around aged seven or eight and is preceded by the first confession (the sacrament of Reconciliation). During the mass the Priest consecrates bread and wine, the elements of the Eucharist, which are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ. As a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and in a reflection of his Last Supper with his disciples, the congregation then shared in the sacred meal.
Preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation is an exciting and challenging time for families and we will do all we can to support parents and children on your journey of faith.
Confirmation binds a baptised person more perfectly to the Church, enriching them with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. It helps us to be true witnesses of Christ, encouraging us to defend the faith by word and deed. The Priest lays his hands on the head and anoints the forehead chrism (holy oil), saying: “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”.
Also known as Confession or Penance, the sacrament of Reconciliation is seen as an opportunity for renewal and can be done as often as needed. Sins are recounted privately to the Priest, and the Priest will assign acts of penance, such as specific prayers or acts of restitution. A prayer of contrition is offered at the end of the confession, and the newly absolved Catholic is urged to refrain from repeating those sins.
This rite usually takes place during a mass, with a Priest serving as the minister of the mass and as a witness to the mutual consent of the couple. The marriage union is used to sanctify both the husband and wife by drawing them into a deeper understanding of God’s love.
Anointing of the sick
This is a sacrament administered to give strength and comfort to the ill and to mystically unite their suffering with that of Christ during his Passion and death. This rite can be performed in a home or hospital by the Priest, who prays over the person and anoints their head and hands with chrism (holy oil).
Funeral rites offer Christian worship and thanksgiving to God. We pray for the deceased, and support the bereaved. The model for Catholic funerals is the Easter journey of Jesus Christ from death to resurrection. This is why we are encouraged to celebrate the funeral in three stages: prayer vigil, funeral liturgy, and committal.
Funeral practice varies considerably, and the Church provides several options from which we can choose freely. There is always flexibility here so please discuss your needs with the Parish Priest.
Becoming a Catholic
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a process of formation for those who, through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, wish to become part of the Church. The Holy Spirit works in different ways in different people. We support those who are discerning God’s call in their lives and accompany them on their journey of faith.
Get in touch
For more information about any of the above, please contact the Parish Office on 01297 32135 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help.