“Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213)
Many Catholics receive the sacrament of baptism as infants, in the presence of his or her parents and godparents. Through the saving waters of baptism, Catholics believe that we are washed clean from the stain of original sin (caused by the sin of Adam and Eve). The grace we receive in baptism also makes us children of God the Father and welcomes us into the Catholic Church.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (the Sacrament of Penance or Confession) is an invitation for Catholics to experience the love and mercy of God the Father through the ministry of priests. Catholics can experience healing through forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God and His Church.
Catholics are always welcomed back to receive this sacrament - whether it has been two weeks or two decades since the last Confession. Often those who have gone to Confession relay experiencing peace and joy and feeling the weight come off their shoulders as they receive forgiveness for their sins. If you have not gone to Confession in a while, we want to welcome you back and take part in this beautiful sacrament of healing.
The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324). During the Mass, we gather around the Lord’s table and remember Christ’s Passion, sacrifice on the cross, His Resurrection, and His Ascension as Jesus instructed us during the Last Supper.
As Catholics, we believe in transubstantiation - the transformation of bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We ask that only “properly disposed” Catholics receive Holy Communion. This means that the receiving of Jesus’ Body and Blood is set aside for Catholics who are in right relationship with God and with one another. The intention here is not to dissuade anyone from receiving Communion; rather, it is an invitation to heal what is broken, creating a suitable environment for Jesus. The Church recommends going to Confession regularly prior to receiving Communion during Mass.
Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation of the Catholic Church, along with Baptism and the Eucharist. It bestows the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which strengthens the faithful to be a powerful witness to God’s love and might in word and deed.
“Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the ‘character,’ which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1304)
During confirmation, a priest or a bishop lays his hands on the candidate and anoints them with Chrism, a holy oil meant to symbolize the spreading of “the aroma of Christ” (2 Cor 2:15).
The Sacrament of Matrimony, or marriage, is a unique sacrament because it is the man and the woman that mutually administers the sacrament upon each other in the presence of a priest or deacon and other witnesses.
It is a sacred covenant, a public promise made by the husband and the wife to be true to each other until death parts them. In order for a marriage to be valid, the couple must be entering into the covenant out of their own free will, without fear or coercion. They are also asked to honour and be true to each other for the rest of their lives, as well as to accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and His Church.
“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate (bishop), presbyterate (priest), and diaconate (deacon).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1536).
Only baptized, Catholic men are called by the Church to become ordained and receive this sacrament. The man who is ordained a bishop or a priest receives a special grace to act “in persona Christi”, not based on his own power or merit, but in the person of Jesus Christ. Deacons “share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1570) to serve as Christ served.
The Sacraments of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick are the two Sacraments of Healing that were instituted by Christ to strengthen us in our physical and spiritual weakness. Any Catholic whose health is in a critical state can receive this sacrament more than once, on such occasions such as grave illnesses or serious operations.
In a unique way, this sacrament unites those who are suffering with the sufferings of Jesus, who also experienced fear and pain during His time on earth. This profound experience sometimes brings physical healing to those who are gravely ill. Moreover, celebrating this sacrament unifies the communion of the saints in interceding for the sick person, “contribut(ing) to the sanctification of the Church and to the good of all men for whom the Church suffers and offers herself through Christ to God the Father.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1522)