...at a glance...
Sacraments are vital expressions of who we are as Catholic Christians. The Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification. Each time we receive a sacrament we respond in a deeper way to Jesus’ call to discipleship. The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists the sacraments as follows:
“The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy
Orders and Matrimony.” (1113)
Sacraments of Initiation
Baptism is the first sacrament celebrated in the process of becoming a full member of the Church community. It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
One of the seven sacraments of the Church, the Eucharist is indeed the greatest of the sacraments because it is the very source and summit of our lives.
Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine relationship, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.
Sacraments at the Service of Communion
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: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.
According to the Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two “becoming one flesh."
Sacraments of Healing
The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular Sacrament often called the Sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation. To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men.
Anointing of the Sick
The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age. Each time a Christian falls seriously ill, he may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also when, after he has received it, the illness worsens.