Baptism | Marriage

The Seven Sacraments of the Church



In ancient Roman religion and law, the sacramentum was an oath or vow that rendered the swearer, "given to the gods," in an act of consecration.  By the early 3rd century Latin Christians were referring to the mysteries of the faith they celebrated as their sacramentum.  By the 16th century the Church had finally settled in its understanding that there were 7 Sacraments each in its own way establishing or renewing our relationship with God, and with the Community.  It came to be understood that the relationship celebrated in sign and symbol was by God’s grace brought about in the reality of the believer’s life.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it like this:  The sacraments are "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” Or in more prosaic language they do what they say they do.  However they are not magic: as an invitation to relationship they require our active participation, the ‘required disposition’ is always loving, trusting faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

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.

Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Mass, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receie Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.

The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (most commonly known as Confession) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God's unconditional forgiveness; as a result we are called to forgive others.

Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. It is most often associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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.

Holy-OrdersHoly Orders
In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, the priest being 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.

SickAnointing of the Sick
The Catholic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.