What are Sacraments?

The Latin word sacramentum means “a sign of the sacred.” The seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God’s saving presence. That’s what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time both signs and instruments of God’s grace.  

The seven Sacraments are:

Baptism: For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship.  Whether we are baptized as infants, children, or adults, Baptism is the first and foundational Sacrament by which we become sharers in Gods’ divine life, are freed from Original Sin and all person sins, become children of God, and are welcomed into the Church.

Eucharist: Catholics believe the Eucharist (or Communion) is both a sacrifice and a meal.  We believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity – under the appearances of bread and wine.

Reconciliation: The Sacrament of Reconciliation (also sometimes referred to as penance or confession) is a Sacrament of Healing.  It is God’s gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven.  In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness and as a result, we are called to forgive others.

Confirmation: This Sacrament deepens our baptismal life and calls us to be missionary disciples of Jesus Christ in our families, communities, and the world.  It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation and is often associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Marriage:  The Sacrament of Marriage, or 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 celebrated by husband and wife witnesses Christ’s spousal love for the Church.

Anointing of the Sick:  In the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction) through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes from physical ailment.

Holy Orders:  This is the Sacrament by which bishops, priests, and deacons are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties.  The sacred rite by which orders are conferred is called ordination.  The apostles were ordained by Jesus at the Last Supper so that others could share in his priesthood.

How do I become a Catholic so that I can receive the Sacraments?

RCIA:  The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is a spiritual formation journey for those who are unbaptized or those baptized in another faith tradition.  Adults over the age of 17 seeking to become Catholic would journey through the RCIA process.  The the RCIA you will learn about Catholic Christianity – who we are, what we believe, how we pray, how we live our lives as a community of believer.