We are created us in God’s image and likeness, inclined toward good, but vulnerable to sin. The Sacraments of the Church by definition 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) when we receive them. They give us a share of divine life so that we may share the joy of living life in Christ with others. Through prayer, service and reception of the Sacraments we are strengthened while on this earthly journey.
The Sacraments are 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.
Children are ready to prepare for Sacraments if they have been regularly worshipping with their families and enrolled in the parish’s Faith Formation program, or attending a Catholic School. At least two years of Faith Formation needs to be on record, one in the year preceding and one in the current year in which registered for sacramental preparation. For an unbaptized child who has reached the Age of Reason (about 7 or older), the preparation is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (RCIC). In the RCIC children and their parents meet weekly over many months to develop community, learn about the Catholic Faith and its practices, and to take that faith into the world. (It is similar to the RCIA.) Following participation in the RCIC, the hearts touched will continue to develop their relationship with God through continued worship, formation and service.
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.
Sacramental Guidelines from the Diocese of Rochester can be found here.
Click 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
Fr. Richard Rohr, a contemplative, offers daily meditations to help us in our prayer life. For service opportunities, see what our Social Ministry committee plans for us. Been a while since you have received Penance & Reconciliation or Eucharist? Let Fr. Mike Schmitz inform about how easy it is to be a practicing Catholic.
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.