Overview

Sacraments — Overview

Sacraments are actions of Christ and of the Church. They are signs and means by which faith is expressed and strengthened. By offering worship to God, our sanctification is brought about. (Code of Canon Law, 840)

Jesus instituted the sacraments and he entrusted them to the Church.

The names of the seven sacraments, which Jesus left us, are:

  • Baptism
  • Eucharist
  • Confirmation
  • Reconciliation
  • Anointing of the Sick
  • Holy Matrimony
  • Holy Orders
Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments Read More
Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Passover meal the day before He died. (Refer to Lk 22:14-20) This He did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until He should come again. Read More
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the second of the Sacraments of Initiation. In the Latin rite of the Church, Confirmation is received after reaching the age of reason when a person is able to renew their Baptismal Vows in order to illustrate that Confirmation is a completion of our Baptism. Read More
This is the sacrament of the healing mercy of Christ through His minister, the priest for sins committed after Baptism. Read More
This sacrament is conferred upon those who because of illness or old age are in danger of death. Jesus instituted this sacrament by giving example through the many healings He performed. Read More
When two people come forward to be married by a Catholic priest, they do so in the Parish Church of either the husband or wife. In this way, there is continuity in their sacramental life as well as the witness of belonging to a particular Catholic community that has assisted them in their spiritual growth throughout the years. Read More
This sacrament configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ's instrument for his Church. Read More

Every sacrament has its own matter and form which make up the ceremony. Matter refers to what is used as the sign, e.g., bread and wine in The Eucharist. Form refers to the words used, e.g., "I absolve you from your sins" in Reconciliation.

Each sacrament gives us Sanctifying Grace, which is an increase of Faith, Hope and Charity - these are traditionally known as the Theological Virtues. Sanctifying Grace is first received at Baptism where Original Sin is washed away and we are made adopted sons and daughters of God, like Jesus, and we become members of the Catholic Church. Only serious sin can remove Sanctifying Grace from our souls and this can be restored again to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Catholics try to receive the sacraments as often as possible because they have the ability to sanctify and strengthen us. When we receive the sacraments and live in the state of grace, we become more like Christ on earth.