The Catholic Church has seven sacraments instituted by Christ. These sacraments touch all stages of Christian life and as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “…they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith.” (1210) As we grow in our natural life, these sacraments have been provided for us to grow in our spiritual life. The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are:




The Seven Sacraments are divided in three sections:


  • Sacraments of Christian initiation
  • Sacraments of Healing
  • Sacraments at The Service of Communion and The Mission of The Faithful


Sacraments of Christian Initiation

The sacraments of Christian initiation are: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. These three sacraments are the foundation of Christian life. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “…The faithful are born a new by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food for eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward perfection of charity.” (1212)



Baptism is the first sacrament of Christian initiation and is the basis of the whole Christian life. It is a gateway to the spiritual life, a door that opens for us the opportunity to receive the other sacraments. Once given, Baptism is a sacrament that cannot be repeated. Only those who have never been baptized can be baptized.


The essential rite of Baptism consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the fruit of Baptism, it’s baptismal grace is that it gives each one of us “forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (1279)


After receiving this sacrament, each person becomes configured to Christ as Baptism seals each Christian with the indelible spiritual mark of belonging to Christ.



With Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, with the overall effect of increasing and perfecting baptismal grace. Each individual becomes more deeply rooted in divine filiation. With Confirmation we become more firmly united to Christ and there is an increase of gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our bond with the Church is strengthened as we become more closely associated with her mission. Confirmation also helps us to bear witness to the Christian faith both in words and deeds. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we receive a special strength from the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly and never to be ashamed of the Cross.


The essential rite of Confirmation is the anointing of the forehead of the baptized with sacred chrism, together with the laying on of the minister’s hand with the words, “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”


The sacrament of Confirmation completes baptismal grace and fulfills the second part of Christian initiation. Every person who has been baptized but not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christian’s soul and for this reason, one can receive this sacrament only once in one’s life.



The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. This sacrament was instituted by Christ on the eve of His passion with the Apostles. Jesus said to them as he broke the bread and took the wine, “take and eat, this is my body…this cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you…” It is at this Eucharistic meal that Jesus celebrated the first Mass. Jesus did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout all ages until He should come again.


Through the Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving” in Greek, we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in His body and blood to form a single body. As a faith community during Mass, we continue to offer up the sacrifice of the cross and fulfill what Jesus had instructed the Apostles to “ this in memory of me.” By fulfilling this, we offer to the Father what He Himself has given us: the gifts of His creation, bread and wine which by the power of the Holy Spirit and the words of Christ become the body and blood of Christ.


The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament, the wheat bread and grape wine, are consecrated by the priest at the point of the Mass when the words of consecration are spoken, “This is my body which will be given up for you...This is the cup of my blood...” It is at this point that transubstantiation occurs, the changing of the bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Reception of the body and blood of Christ increases the recipients communion with Jesus, cleanses one of all venial sins and preserves one from grave sins.


Anyone who desires to receive Christ in the Eucharist must be in a state of grace. Those who are in a state of mortal sin must not receive communion without first receiving the sacrament of penance and reconciliation (confession).


Sacraments of Healing

The sacraments of healing are: Penance and the Anointing of the Sick. These two sacraments are made available to the faithful to aid in their pilgrimage while on earth. The new life we have received by the sacraments of Christian initiation can be weakened and even lost by sin. Jesus willed that the Church continue, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to do His work of healing and salvation through the sacraments of healing.


Penance and Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, also referred to as “confession,” is the first of two sacraments of healing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.”


Penance is a very necessary sacrament for all of us as our Christian initiation has not abolished our human weakness and frailty, nor our inclination to sin. As such God has provided the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation as a continuous call to conversion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “…This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a "contrite heart, drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God…” This conversion however, is not limited to an inner state, but one that urges expression of visible signs, gesture and works of penance. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Many times this means one must do what is possible in order to repair the harm done to others, as a matter of expiation of our sins, to “make satisfaction,” which is called penance.


The Sacrament of Penance is referred to as confession because essential in this sacrament is the disclosure of one’s sins to a priest. With the admission of one’s guilt by the confession of sins committed, one is afforded an opportunity to directly look at the respective sins and take responsibility for them. By doing so, one opens himself to God and to the communication of the Church in order to make a new future possibility.


A key aspect of confession is one’s interior disposition, that is one’s contrition for the sins committed. Perfect contrition is sorrow for sin motivated by the love of God. Contrition, whether perfect or imperfect, must include a firm resolution to avoid the sins committed as well as the near occasion of sins, the persons, places and things that prompted one to sin.


Typically, confession is made available to the faithful one hour before Saturday’s vigil Mass or at a preferred and mutually convenient time by private appointment. When you come to the Church to confess your sins, it is important that you reflect on your life and determine how you may have offended God. To go through this process in a thorough way is referred to as an examination of conscience. Please consider others at the confession line up. For further guidelines on confession before Mass, please visit our Mass Etiquette page.


Anointing of The Sick

Christ the physician has given His people, through the Church, the second sacrament of healing, Anointing of the Sick. The compassion that Jesus has for the sick has been received by the Church in this sacrament. The Anointing of the Sick is administered to those faithful who are in danger of death as a result of sickness and/or old age. Should a sick person have received this sacrament and recover his/her health, he/she can continue to receive this sacrament in any future situation of grave illness or in the threat of death. It is also fitting to receive this sacrament prior to a serious operation as well as to those elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.


Anointing of the Sick consists in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person, accompanied by liturgical prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament.


The special grace of this sacrament is: uniting the sick person to the passion of Christ, a strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or frailty of old age, preparation for passing over to the eternal life, restoration of health if it is conducive to the salvation of the soul and forgiveness of sins if the sick person was not able to obtain in through the sacrament of Penance.


Sacraments at The Service of Communion and The Mission of The Faithful

The sacraments at the service of communion and the mission of the faithful are: the sacrament of Holy Orders and Matrimony. The sacrament of Holy Orders is a calling by God to men to become a bishop, priest or deacon and in so doing become configured to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that each individual may serve as Christ’s instrument for His Church. From the sacrament of Matrimony or Marriage comes a bond between a man and a woman that is perpetual and exclusive, giving spouses strength and a consecration for the duties and the dignity of their state by this sacrament.


Holy Orders

The sacrament of Holy Orders is the first of two sacraments in the third and final grouping of sacraments: the sacraments at the service of communion and the mission of the faithful. At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders to perpetuate the sacrifice He made at Calvary. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “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…” (1536) The sacrament of Holy Orders is a calling by God to men to become a bishop, priest or deacon. Only those men who have been baptized and who have been deemed by the Church, suitable to carry on the duties and responsibilities of the ministry of the priesthood, are able to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.


The Sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred by the laying of hands followed by a solemn prayer of consecration asking God to grant the ordained the graces of the Holy Spirit required for his ministry. As in Baptism and Confirmation, the Sacrament of Holy Orders too leaves an “indelible spiritual character” and cannot be repeated or temporarily granted. The effect of this sacrament for those that receive it is a configuration to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that each individual may serve as Christ’s instrument for His Church.



Matrimony is the last of the sacraments at the service of communion and the mission of the faithful. The matrimonial covenant between a man and a woman establish themselves as partners for life, by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. Christian Marriage was brought to the dignity of a sacrament by Jesus presence at the wedding of Cana. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, “The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence.” (1613)


The Church considers consent as a fundamental element in this sacrament, as without it there is no marriage. Marriage is based on consent of both parties, that they willfully give themselves to each other in a definitive way in order to live a covenant of “faithful and fruitful love.”


Arising from marriage is a bond between spouses that is perpetual and exclusive. Spouses are strengthened and consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by this sacrament. The grace received with this sacrament is a perfection of the couple’s love and a strengthening of their unity. It is with this grace that they are to, “…help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.”