Jesus touches our lives through the sacraments. Our celebrations of the sacraments are signs of Jesus' presence in our lives and a means for receiving his grace. The Church celebrates seven sacraments, which are divided into three categories.
SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION
The Sacraments of Initiation usher a person into the life of the Church.
Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission. - Catechism, 1213
The Eucharist nourishes our life of faith. When we gather to celebrate Mass, the mystery of God's love is revealed in the sacred Scripture and in the sacrificial meal. Those who gather are fed by the Word and by the Body and Blood of Christ.
Confirmation seals our life of faith in Jesus. Its signs are the laying on of hands on a person's head, most often by a bishop, and the anointing with oil. Like Baptism, Confirmation is received only once.
SACRAMENTS OF HEALING
These sacraments celebrate the healing power of God.
In the sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Penance, we receive God's unconditional forgiveness. Forgiveness requires being sorry for our sins, and we are also called to forgive others.
Anointing of the Sick
This sacrament unites a sick person's suffering with that of Jesus and brings forgiveness of sins. A person who is seriously ill, in danger of death, weakened due to age, or preparing for serious surgery may be anointed.
SACRAMENTS OF VOCATIONS
These sacraments help members serve the community.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is for Catholics a public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and wife speaks of family values and also God's values.
In Holy Orders, men are ordained as priests. They vow to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel, and by providing other means to holiness.
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