The Seven Catholic Sacraments

The Latin word sacramentum means "a sign of the sacred." The seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. That's what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God's grace.

Click here for more information or to schedule one of the sacraments listed below.

Sacrament of Baptism

For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics.  It is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters of God. We become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word.” (Cathechism of the Catholic Church #1213) Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church's way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.

Baptismal preparation for Parents/Godparents is required.  Classes are scheduled on the second Tuesday of each month.  Pre-registration is required for the class.

Baptisms are usually held at Maria Immacolata Catholic Church on the first Saturday of each month at 5:30 p.m. (immediately following the 4:30 Mass) and on the fourth Sunday of each month at 11:30 a.m. (immediately following the 10:30 Mass).

Children who have reached the age of seven must attend religious education classes before being baptized. 

Godparents must be at least 16 years old Catholics who have been baptized, confirmed and received the Eucharist, and who practice their faith (e.g., they go to Mass on Sundays, and are either single or if married, they must be married in the Catholic Church).  A non-Catholic Christian may be a witness to the Baptism, as long as there is a Catholic sponsor. 

If parents wish their child to be baptized, it is assumed that their faith is important to them, and that they themselves are practicing their faith, in other words, that they have been baptized, confirmed, and that they have received the Eucharist, and go to Mass on Sundays, and are either single or married in the Church.

Sacrament of Confirmation

Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is second of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. The Sacrament of Confirmation confers special graces of the Holy Spirit upon the person being  confirmed,  just as such graces were granted to the Apostles on Pentecost. Like Baptism, therefore, it can only be performed once, and Confirmation increases and deepens all of the graces granted at Baptism. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists five effects of Confirmation: (1) it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation [as sons of God] which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!"; (2) it unites us more firmly to Christ; (3) it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; (4) it renders our bond with the Church more perfect; (5) it gives us a special strength of 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.

Because Confirmation perfects our baptism, we are obliged to receive it "in due time." Any Catholic who did not receive Confirmation at baptism or as part of his/her religious education during grade school or high school should contact a priest and arrange to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Sacrament of Holy Communion (Eucharist)

The Sacrament of Holy Communion is the third of the Sacraments of Initiation. Even though we are required to receive Communion at least once per year (our Easter Duty), and the Church urges us to receive Communion frequently (even daily, if possible), it is called a sacrament of initiation because, like Baptism and Confirmation, it brings us into the fullness of our life in Christ. In Holy Communion, we are eating the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, without which "you shall not have life in you" (John 6:53). As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.  

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Confession is one of the least understood of the sacraments of the Catholic Church. In reconciling us to God, it is a great source of grace, and Catholics are encouraged to take advantage of it often. But it is also the subject of many common misunderstandings, both among non-Catholics and among Catholics themselves. That reconciling of man to God is the purpose of Confession.

When we sin, we deprive ourselves of God’s grace. And by doing so, we make it even easier to sin some more. The only way out of this downward cycle is to acknowledge our sins, to repent of them, and to ask God’s forgiveness.  Then, in the Sacrament of Confession, grace can be restored to our souls, and we can once again resist sin.

The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered at Maria Immacolata Catholic Church before each Mass on weekends (Saturday: 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. / Sunday: 8:00 - 8:30 a.m.; 10:00 - 10:30 a.m.; 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.) Or anytime by appointment with a Priest. 

Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Marriage is a practice common to all cultures in all ages. It is, therefore, a natural institution, something common to all mankind. At its most basic level, marriage is a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and mutual support, or love. Each spouse in a marriage gives up some rights over his or her life in exchange for rights over the life of the other spouse. In the Catholic Church, however, marriage is more than a natural institution; it was elevated by Christ Himself, in His participation in the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), to be one of the seven sacraments. A marriage between two Christians, therefore, has a supernatural element as well as a natural one. For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, is 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. Preparation must begin at least six months in advance of the wedding. Pre-Cana instruction is required. For more information call (985) 876-3313.

Sacrament of Holy Orders

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the continuation of Christ's priesthood, which He bestowed upon His Apostles; thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Holy Orders as "the sacrament of apostolic ministry." "Ordination" comes from the Latin word ordinatio, which means to incorporate someone into an order. In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is incorporated into the priesthood of Christ, at one of three levels: the episcopate, the priesthood, or the diaconate. The Sacrament of Holy Orders can be validly conferred only on baptized men, following the example set by Christ and His Apostles, who chose only men as their successors and collaborators. A man cannot demand ordination; the Church has the authority to determine eligibility for the sacrament.

Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was previously most commonly administered to the dying, for the remission of sins and the provision of spiritual strength and health. In modern times, however, its use has been expanded to all who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, and the Church stresses a secondary effect of the sacrament: to help a person recover his health. Like Confession and Holy Communion, to which it is closely linked, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick can be repeated as often as is necessary. 

The modern celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick recalls the early Christian use, going back to biblical times. When Christ sent His disciples out to preach, "they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them" (Mark 6:13). James 5:14-15 ties physical healing to the forgiveness of sins: "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."

Click here for more information or to schedule one of the sacraments listed above.