The sacraments communicate an incarnate memory, linked to the times and places of our lives, linked to all our senses. In them the whole person is engaged as a member of a living subject and part of a network of communitarian relationships.
One of the ways the Church lives as the Body of Christ is through the special rituals we call the Seven Sacraments. Each sacrament is a visible sign of the hidden mystery of God’s love.
In the Sacraments, Jesus acts in and through the ritual. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the transforming grace of Christ’s action is gifted to those participating. A Sacrament is more than a symbol of a spiritual reality; it makes the spiritual reality present as the Sacrament is celebrated.
The Catholic Church has seven Sacraments. They all centre on two important aspects:
- The life and ministry of Jesus
- The Tradition of the Church
As the early Church grew and reflected on its experience, it recognised that God’s grace is active in our lives:
- New life is given to us
- The Holy Spirit strengthens and supports us
- We share in Jesus’ sacrifice, death and resurrection
- God forgives our sins
- When we are ill we are healed
- Some people are called to special roles of service within the Church
- Many people are called to share life and create new families
Over time these ‘moments of grace’ were ritualised into what we now experience as the official Sacraments of the Church.
All the Sacraments are community celebrations. Celebrations of our membership in the Body of Christ.
- Initiation: There are three Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
Together they initiate new members and provide the strength and nourishment required for Christian life to flourish.
- Healing: There are two Sacraments of Healing – Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.
They are gifts of spiritual and physical healing.
- Service: There are two Sacraments of Service – Holy Orders and Matrimony.
The Church celebrates these ministries of love and service.
Becoming a member of the Body of Christ – the Church
Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, and it marks the beginning of a person’s journey in to faith with God. It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation,
Through Baptism we become members of Christ, and we are welcomed into the Church.
Learn more or find out about Baptismal preparation in the Diocese.
The Ongoing Journey
Baptism is the first of the Sacraments. Initiation is completed by receiving the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and preparation for First Communion. Walking as a family towards the celebration of First Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Eucharist is an exciting time. It is a special time of sharing faith as a family and learning together. Your parish community will run preparation sessions for parents and candidates. The preparation of children for the sacraments is a shared responsibility between the family and the local parish community.
Receiving the Holy Spirit; who gives us strength in times of trouble and the gifts so that we can be on Mission.
Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ; nourishment for our daily life and participation in Christ’s Mission.
Receiving God’s love and forgiveness.
The union of a couple in faithful and mutual love, coming together as a response to God’s call to holiness.
As families, we should pray that some of our children will heed God’s call to permanent ministry in the Church as Religious, Priests or Deacons.
Anointing of the Sick
God’s healing love at times of illness, frailty, or when someone is close to death.