The Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church can be drawn together in three categories:
|Sacraments of Initiation:||Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (Communion)|
|Sacraments of Healing:||Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick|
|Sacraments of Vocation:||Marriage, Holy Orders|
To view details on each of the sacraments please click on its link above.
The seven sacraments lie at the very heart of the Catholic Faith. They are the chief means by which God, the Blessed Trinity, brings us to holiness and salvation. To those open to receive them the sacraments are the very life blood of the journey of faith. If we desire to know, love and serve Almighty God then regular faith-filled reception of the sacraments will provide every grace necessary.
Another helpful way of understanding the sacraments is to see them as the means by which God our most loving Father nurtures us in the faith. A nurturing and maturing which has as its ultimate goal our eternal salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Before the priest accepts a candidate for baptism he will require to be assured that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith and will have the support of at least one parent who is a practising Catholic and in regular contact with the Church. Likewise, Godparents at a baptism should also be practising Catholics. Those who are not Catholic may be invited to be witnesses at the Baptism Ceremony. Baptisms take place on a Sunday, and arrangements will be discussed with parents during the preparation meetings with the priest or deacon. Parents are asked to contact the Parish Priest and provide the child’s certificate of birth and their own certificate of marriage.
Children, who are to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, along with their parents and grandparents, are expected to attend the Catechesis Sessions. The dates for these preparation sessions are announced through the primary schools and the parish bulletin.
Confirmation was originally part of the whole initiation rite of adults in the early Church. One was baptised, confirmed and received First Eucharist in a single ceremony, usually the Easter Vigil. With the rise of infant baptism after the fourth century, there grew a desire to separate the baptising and the anointing that followed Baptism. This delayed anointing was seen as a “confirmation” of the promises originally made by Godparents and parents for the individual as an infant. By the 11th century it was seen as a mature profession of faith, an anointing to be a “soldier of Christ.” Today it is seen as a strengthening by the Holy Spirit in the baptised Christian, that he/she may be “like a front line fighter [to] confess the name of Christ boldly and publicly.” Confirmation may be best understood as the sacrament of the messianic fullness of the Spirit. As in its initial form in the early Church, confirmation is still in most respects the completion of what was begun in baptism.
As a sacrament, Confirmation imparts grace to the recipient who is disposed to receive it. It presumes one is already baptised. The sacrament confirms and strengthens the relationship with God that is first established in Baptism. It unites one more firmly with Christ; it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit; it gives us the strength to spread and defend the faith by word and action, as true witnesses of Christ; it completes the work begun in baptism. It perfects the common priesthood of the faithful. Like Baptism, it is said to imprint or mark the individual permanently. Like Baptism, Confirmation may be received only once.
Children, who are to celebrate First Holy Communion, along with their parents and grandparents, are expected to attend the Catechesis Sessions. The dates for these preparation sessions are announced through the primary schools and the parish bulletin.
The greatest of the seven sacraments is the Holy Eucharist. The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is really present under the appearances of bread and wine. Our Lord is not merely symbolised by the bread and wine; nor is he present only through the faith of those present. Rather, the two material things, bread and wine, are completely changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, leaving behind only their sensible appearances. Thus, through the words of consecration spoken by the priest, Jesus, without ceasing to be present in a natural way in heaven, is also present sacramentally, body, blood, soul and divinity, in many places throughout the world.
The Eucharist is not only a sacrament but also a sacrifice. In it Jesus, acting through the priest, makes present again in an unbloody manner the sacrifice which he offered once for all by shedding his blood on Calvary. In Holy Communion, by obeying Jesus’ command to eat his flesh and drink his blood, the faithful are also united spiritually with Jesus himself, and they unite their own prayers, works and sufferings to his perfect sacrifice.
Children, who are to make their First Confession, along with their parents and grandparents are expected to attend the Catechesis Sessions. The dates for these preparation sessions are announced through the primary schools and the parish bulletin.
The sacrament of reconciliation /confession is celebrated at the times given on the Mass Times Page. The sacrament can also be celebrated individually by appointment.
The sacrament may be celebrated at any time for someone who is seriously ill or going into hospital. Contact Fr Allan Cameron or the hospital chaplains to make arrangements to celebrate the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.
Candidates for marriage are asked to give timely notice of their intentions. Those who are Catholic will be asked to provide a recent copy of their certificate of baptism. The priest will help with arranging the Order of Service and can advise on Cantors, Organists, etc. Photographers are welcome, but should remain discreet at all times during the service.
The word order comes from Latin referring to a civil or governing body. The Church borrowed this term for certain groups of persons, such as widows, virgins, spouses, catechumens … as well as bishops, priests and deacons. A Brief History of Orders: The bishops or episcopos [Greek for overseers] were the first to be recognised as special recipients of sacramental grace, beginning with the Apostles commissioned by Christ at the Last Supper, and then their successors. As the Church grew these men were assisted by the prebyteros [Greek for elders] and the diakonoi [Greek for those who served or assisted.] The order of presbyter or priest did not become sacramental until around the third to fourth century, when the bishops were no longer capable of caring for the rapidly growing Christian communities on their own. The office of deacon was at first one of charitable care for the community, leaving the bishops free for liturgical and sacramental responsibilities. In the fourth century they changed into assistants to the bishop at liturgical services, and then began to fade out of existence around the 10th century, except as a transitional stage leading to priesthood. After Vatican II the diaconate was reinstated, and is commonly known as the permanent diaconate.
Ordination refers to a rite, a religious and liturgical act, which integrates an individual into one of the three orders or degrees of Holy Orders [bishop, priest or deacon.] Ordination confers that gift of the Holy Spirit which permits one to exercise a “sacred power.” The priesthood comes from Christ himself, and is established for a life in service to the Church the People of God. The ministerial priesthood shares in the one priesthood of Christ. Ordination, like Baptism and Confirmation, is said to leave a permanent imprint or indelible mark upon the character of the recipient. It is the culmination of a process of (1) discernment, where a call from God to a life of service is realised, (2) a period of study or preparation, and spiritual growth, and the (3) confirmation by those given the responsibility of testing that call.