Overview of the Sacraments.
One of the distinguishing features of the Catholic Church is the importance that we attach to the Sacraments. They represent a particular understanding of the relationship between Christ and his Church.
The sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are examples of God’s personal way of approaching and relating to us human beings. By this we mean that God chose to share the divine life with us not in an invisible or purely ‘spiritual’ way, but through persons, events and things we can touch and experience through our senses. When the Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14), God began a new way of relating to us through Jesus and he continues to live among us as he said in Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
During his life on earth Jesus himself established certain ways of sharing his life and power with humankind. The seven sacraments recognized by the Catholic Church are all based upon some aspect of Jesus’ life or teaching. The way each sacrament is celebrated is meant to reveal God’s entry into our lives; God’s visible and tangible intervention so that we can actually experience Christ’s grace-filled action, his giving of himself. They cause not only personal growth, but also the building up of the whole community.
There are seven sacraments:
- Holy Communion
- Reconciliation (Confession)
- Holy Orders
- Anointing of the Sick (traditionally known as the Last Rites)
In our parish of St Agatha’s we have both a children’s and an adult’s program for the receiving of the Sacraments of Initiation into the Catholic Church of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion and Reconciliation. Please see our respective pages on Children’s Sacramental Program and the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).
(Reference: At Home with God’s People, Published by Evangelisation Brisbane, 2016.)