The Seven Sacraments of the Church

The Seven Sacraments of the Church are explored in Alive-0 8 Term 1 Lesson 12: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony.

There are three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, First Eucharist and Confirmation. The Sacrament of Baptism Baptism in Ireland usually occurs in infancy. This is the first sacrament of initiation in faith. Baptism is only received once; it cannot be repeated. In Baptism, the baby is being welcomed into God’s family. (Reference: Alive-0, Alive-0 3 to Alive-0 8 ) The Sacrament of Eucharist (Holy Communion) In Ireland, First Eucharist/ Communion is generally received at ages seven or eight. This sacrament is the second sacrament of initiation in faith. We come together at Mass to celebrate as members of God’s family. We listen to the Word of God and we hear the challenge of Jesus. We offer ourselves with the Risen Jesus to the Father. At the consecration, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. We are invited to share the Bread of Life in the Eucharist/Holy Communion. We celebrate because we know that the Risen Jesus is with us, helping us to live as His followers. At Mass the Risen Jesus comes to us to nourish and strengthen us, to help us to grow in God’s love and in the love of others. The Mass concludes with the challenge - Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. (Reference: Alive-0 3 to Alive-0 8 ) The Sacrament of Confirmation Generally in Ireland, Confirmation occurs at ages eleven or twelve. This is the third and final sacrament of initiation in faith. The child is now growing towards adulthood and has the opportunity to confirm his/her baptismal promises. They become adult members of the church, the community of faith. (Reference: Alive-0 7 and Alive-0 8 )   There are two sacraments of healing: Penance/Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. The Sacrament of Penance/ Reconciliation The Sacrament of Penance/ Reconciliation is first celebrated prior to receiving first Eucharist/ first Holy Communion. We are born and in Baptism we are received into God’s family. We are connected in friendship and in love as members of God’s family. Sometimes we do things that hurt others or we fail to do things that might truly help others. Thus, we become disconnected from friendship and love with God, ourselves and others. We forget the message that Jesus gave us: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.’ When we choose to reconnect with God’s friendship and love, we know that God our Father is ready to forgive us when we say sorry. The Risen Jesus brings us back to God’s friendship and helps us to be reconciled with God and others. ‘Each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.’ (Reference: Alive-0 3 and Alive-0 8 ) The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick Jesus always showed special care for those who were sick. The Church as followers of Jesus shows this love and care for the people who are sick in the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, in which the Risen Jesus comforts and blesses the sick person. This sacrament is given to those who are ill and it may be received as often as is seen fit. (Reference: Alive-0 6 and Alive-0 8 )   There are two sacraments of vocation: Holy Orders and Matrimony. The Sacrament of Holy Orders God communicates with all of us and calls us to be witnesses to God’s loving presence in the world today. Some men feel called to tell the story of God’s presence in the world in a very special way- by living out their lives as priests. These men are ordained and choose to share their whole lives and their gifts with the community. Both in their own lives as priests and in the way they lead the community of faith; they make God’s presence real in the world. In the sacrament of Holy Orders, the priest promises to lead the community in celebrating the sacraments, preaching the Gospel and teaching the faith. (Reference: Alive-0 8 ) The Sacrament of Matrimony/ Marriage When a woman and a man choose one another above all others and want to share their love and their story for the rest of their lives, the sacrament of Marriage helps them to celebrate that love and their decision to spend their lives together as husband and wife. In a very wonderful way, their life-long commitment tells of God’s faithful love for all of us. By trying to put the other person first, the couple show what it means to ‘love someone as I love myself.’ By passing the gift of life to their children, the couple join in and share in the creative love of God. (Reference: Alive-0 8 )