The Seven Sacraments of the Church

What is a Sacrament?

What is a Sacrament? – CCC 772, 773, 774
A sacrament is an outward sign or symbol instituted by Christ as a means of giving grace. Stated in another way, a sacrament is an efficacious and visible symbol through which we receive God’s invisible grace. The term efficacious is used, because the sacraments bring about the effect they symbolize. The sacraments give us grace by their very operation. Consider below how the sacraments are explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

CCC 1127 Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify. They are efficacious because in them Christ Himself is at work: it is He who baptizes, He who acts in His sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies.
CCC 1116 Sacraments are “powers that comes forth” from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant.

Although the sacraments are ministered through the Church, it is vital to recognize that the sacraments are the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit. They are the ordinary means Jesus gave us to experience the dynamic effects of his saving grace. The sacraments convey God’s power because they are expressions of the saving work of Jesus Christ.

In summary, what do the individual Sacraments do?

Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are sacraments of initiation.

Baptism eradicates all sin, infuses us with the divine life and makes us adopted children of God.

Confirmation matures the divine life in us and commissions us to win the world for Christ as his soldiers in the great battle of spiritual warfare.

Eucharist transforms us into Christ, strengthens the divine life in us, and becomes the source of our bodily resurrection in paradise.

Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick are sacraments of healing.

Confession heals us from the malady of personal sin and the attachment to sin. It also gives us special graces to faithfully live the Christian life.

Anointing of the Sick heals us spiritually, gives us courage and hope during serious illnesses, and sometimes heals us physically.

Matrimony and Holy Orders are sacraments of service.

Matrimony binds a man and a woman for life in the covenant of Christ’s love for the Church, displacing the ego and selfishness that wrecks marriages. In this sacrament Jesus gives the married couple the grace to live a lifelong union of love and fidelity, and strengthens them to guide their children to heaven.

Holy Orders extend the priesthood of Jesus Christ into time by empowering consecrated men to act as conduits of supernatural life in the Person of Christ so they can faithfully shepherd God’s people.

Preparing for Sacraments at St Marie’s

The Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation are conducted at separate celebrations once a year. There is a programme of classes for the children to attend. Registration is required prior to the start date, for children and their families who regularly attend Mass in this Parish.

Sacramental Programmes:

Baptism

If you are thinking of having your baby or child baptised at St Marie’s this is arranged directly with Father Chris or other members of the clergy. There will be an opportunity for parents to gain a better understanding of the sacrament of baptism. Baptism Preparation Programmes take place every 3 months they are usually announced for three weekends in the parish Bulletin. The Baptism Programme consists of two meetings each lasting 1.5 hours, which will include a practical element.

If you are an adult wishing to be baptised please take a look at ‘Journey in Faith’.

Confirmation

The Parish programme to prepare young people for Confirmation is announced some weeks before it commences.

If you are an adult wishing to be received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church and/or Confirmed please take a look at ‘Journey in Faith’.

Contact: Cathedral House. E-mail office@stmariecathedral.org.

Journey in Faith

This is an annual programme of study and reflection for all who wish to learn more about the Catholic faith. It is also the preparation course for all adults wishing to prepare for one or more of the sacraments of initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. If you would like to find out more about the programme please speak to one of the priests or look out for the announcements about the new programme in the early autumn. Our Parish Calendar also has information about the Journey in Faith meetings and you can make further enquiries via office@stmariecathedral.org.

First Holy Communion

The Parish Programme is announced in the Cathedral Bulletin some weeks before it starts.

If you are an adult wishing to make your First Holy Communion please take a look at ‘Journey in Faith’.

Contact: Cathedral House. E-mail office@stmariecathedral.org.

Marriage

The sacrament of marriage allows a man and a woman to promise to give their life and their love freely – one to the other – with the help of God and the community, who are called to witness this joyous celebration. If at least one of you is a Catholic and if one or both of you reside in this parish and/or worship here regularly you may approach one of the priests about the possibility of being married at St Marie’s Cathedral. At least six months notice of your plans is usually required to complete the necessary paperwork and to attend a marriage preparation course. Do contact one of the priests as soon as you can.

Contact: Cathedral Clergy. Tel.  0114 2722522.

Anointing of the Sick

Through this sacrament those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age are strengthened by Christ. The sacrament is celebrated by the laying of hands by a Priest and by anointing with oil made Holy by God’s blessing. The Church encourages us not to delay requesting the sacrament; if you know you are expecting a stay in hospital we ask that you or your relatives notify Parish Clergy or the Hospital Chaplain.

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