As Catholics, we believe that sacraments point to and are channels of God's grace. They work as an effective means of communication between God and His people.
According to the Catholic faith, the sacraments are a gift from God, given through the Church as an outpouring of His love. Through the sacraments, God justifies and sanctifies His people. He meets His people where they are in order to draw them up to Him, He pours out His grace, He builds up the Church and He receives worship.
Catholic Sacraments we practice:
- Baptism- In baptism, God's saving grace, His very presence, enters into the human soul. The essential rite of baptism is very simple. The person celebrating the sacrament (usually a priest) says 'I baptise you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit' while pouring water over the head of the person receiving the sacrament or dipping the person in water. For Catholics, baptism is the sacrament of salvation and the door to all other sacraments.
- Eucharist- Those who partake in the Eucharist receive the real Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in what appears to be bread and wine. During Mass, regular bread and wine are consecrated by the priest, through God's power, when he repeats Jesus' words, 'This is My Body' and 'This is the chalice of My Blood.'
- Confirmation- Provides a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which helps the confirmed Catholic witness to Christ and lead a mature Christian life. The rite of confirmation, usually performed by a bishop, involves the anointing with chrism (holy oil), the laying on of hands, and the words 'Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Reconciliation- To be reconciled with God requires that we are truly sorry for our sins. In confessing our sins, we must approach God with a repentant, contrite and humble heart. Through His mercy and grace, we are forgiven.
- Anointing of the sick- Offers the comfort of God's grace to those who are ill. The sacrament provides spiritual and sometimes physical healing, according to God's will, but also allows the sick person to join his or her sufferings to Christ and prepare for death. The essential rite of this sacrament involves anointing with the oil of the sick and prayer.
- Marriage- Matrimony joins a man and a woman together in a life-long covenant of self-giving love. The two spouses give their consent to join together in marriage as the Word of God defines it. God gives special grace to the couple that they may live out their vow.
- Holy Orders- men are ordained as priests and deacons through a bishop's laying on of hands and prayer. These men are given the grace to live out their lives in service to the Church and to God's people.
Catholics believe that the seven sacraments were directly instituted by Christ. He told His apostles to 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...' (Matthew 27:19).
He also gave them the gift of the Eucharist on the night before He died when He said, 'This is My Body' and 'This is the chalice of My Blood' (see Matthew 26:27-29, Mark 14:22-25, and Luke 22:14-23).