His grace when we most need it.
The Sacraments are God’s way of providing us with His grace when we most need it. The Catholic Church has seven sacraments, some relating to significant milestones in our lives, others being available when we need them. Each sacrament is a prescribed rite which uses visible signs signifying the particular grace being conferred.
Sacraments of Initiation
Baptism is the sacrament by which we become a Christian. It can be received as a child or as an adult. It can only be received once but the Catholic Church recognizes the baptism conferred by many other Christian denominations.
Confirmation is the sacrament which marks the passage from childhood to becoming an active disciple of God. This sacrament can only be conferred once.
Holy Communion (Eucherist)
Holy Communion (Eucharist) is the sacrament through which Catholics believe we are receiving the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine are transformed in the Mass at the part known as the Consecration and given out at the part known as Communion. Only those who believe in the transformation (known as the transubstantiation) should receive Holy Communion. Holy Communion can be received at any time, but the first reception of communion is considered part of the Initiation into the Catholic Church.
Sacraments of Service
Holy Matrimony (Marriage)
Holy Matrimony (Marriage) is not only considered a civil contract between a man and woman, but also a covenant blessed by God. It is therefore a sacrament of the Catholic church. Because of the sanctity of the marriage vow, the Catholic Church requires a period of preparation before the celebration can take place.
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which a person commits himself to the service of God in the priesthood. This involves a considerable period of training and preparation first to become a Deacon. Some Deacons serve their parishes as deacons, while others may take the next step and become Priests. Only ordained priests can perform the consecration (transforming bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ) at the Mass.
Sacraments of Healing
Reconciliation (Confession) is the sacrament in which God forgives our sins. A sin is when we do something that is against God’s message be it large or small. They are the actions that, being human, we all commit and regret. In the sacrament of reconciliation the priest, as God’s intermediary, helps us to receive God’s forgiveness and the strength to move on.
Anointing the Sick
Anointing the Sick is the sacrament for those sick in mind or body to receive the spiritual strength, peace, and courage to cope with their illness.