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Sacraments

Sacraments are the principal and fundamental actions whereby Jesus Christ unceasingly bestows his Spirit on the faithful, thus making them the holy people which offers itself, in him and with him, as an oblation acceptable to the Father. The sacraments are surely to be considered inestimable blessings of the Church. To her, then, belongs the power of administering them; and yet they are always to be referred to Christ, from whom they receive their efficacy. In reality, it is Christ who baptizes. It is not so much a man who celebrates the Eucharist as Christ himself; for he it is who offers himself in the sacrifice of the Mass by the ministry of the priest. The sacramental action is, in the first place, the action of Christ, and the ministers of the Church are as his instruments.

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 or adults, Baptism is the Church’s way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.

RECONCILIATION

The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, or 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.

EUCHARIST

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

CONFIRMATION

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.

MARRIAGE

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 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.

ANOINTING 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.

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