“Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life:1 they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life” (CCC 1210)
We have the opportunity to receive divine life when we receive the Sacraments of the Church. By definition they are outward and visible signs of God’s grace meant to strengthen us body, soul and mind. They are instituted by our Savior, Jesus Christ, and entrusted to the Church. They bring God’s power to us (efficacious) through their reception. We receive divine life so that we may share the joy of living life in Christ with others. When we share with each other how God is working in our lives, that is testimony. It helps us to be evangelical. What can it look like? Check out Fr. Mike’s Schmitz’ podcasts to get the idea.
The Sacraments can be divided into three groups: The Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation), those of Healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick/Viaticum) and those of Service (Matrimony and Holy Orders). Each of these sacraments were reexamined during the Second Vatican Council to update their current practices.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the preparation program for those who are feeling called to a closer relationship with God through the Catholic Church. It is for the unbaptized as well as those baptized into another faith. It is also recommended for baptized Catholics who have been away from the Church for some time, or for those who never received any of the other Sacraments. At the end of an intense period of study, the inquirer may walk away, better informed of what Catholicism is and why we do what we do, or join the Church. We are happy to have the opportunity to share our faith with all inquirers.
Children are ready to prepare for Sacraments if they have been regularly attending Mass with their families and enrolled in the parish’s faith formation program or attending a Catholic School in the year prior to, and currently enrolled in either program. For an unbaptized child who has reached the Age of Reason (about 7 or older), the preparation is the Rite of Initiation of Children (RCIC). In the RCIC children and their parents meet weekly over many months to learn about the Catholic Faith and its practices. (It is similar to the RCIA.) Following participation in the RCIC, the child and adults, are expected to continue to develop their relationship with God through personal and liturgical prayer and continued learning about our rich faith by remaining enrolled in Religious Education classes.
Sacramental Guidelines from the Diocese of Rochester can be found here.
Click on the different tabs or click on the sacrament below to learn more about preparing for each of the 7 Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
- Penance and Reconciliation
- Holy Eucharist
- Holy Matrimony
- Holy Orders
- Anointing of the Sick