Sacraments are rituals that teach, strengthen and express faith. They are relevant to all areas and stages of life, and Catholics believe that the love and gifts of God are given through seven sacraments.
The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and Holy orders. They are divided into three categories: Sacraments of Initiation, Sacraments of Healing and Sacraments of Service.
The Catholic Church has rites or ceremonies for initiation of children and adults and for those who have died (funerals).
Sacraments and Rites of Initiation
Sacraments of Initiation strengthen a person’s faith and forge a deeper relationship with God. Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation, the other two being the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to deepen their understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ. For anyone who wants to become a Catholic, there is a process of initiation, either as an adult (RCIA) or child (RCIC), which allows the person to take their first steps in the Catholic faith, accompanied by the parish community. During the process, the person will join the parish community to celebrate each step through ceremonies or ‘rites’.
Sacraments of Healing and Funeral Rites
The two sacraments of healing are penance and anointing of the sick. Penance allows for spiritual healing and absolution for people who have distanced themselves from God. Anointing of the sick allows for both physical and spiritual healing. When one falls seriously ill, a minister anoints them and prays over them, calling on Christ to strengthen and heal.
When a Christian dies, the community gathers for a funeral. They say farewell to the person who has died and entrust that person to God’s loving care. They praise and thank God for the gift of a life which has been returned to its Creator. They remember with joy and pain what that person has meant to them.
Sacraments of Service
- HOLY ORDERS