The Seven Sacraments There are seven sacraments in the church: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The sacraments are symbols or signs. Signs can be defined as anything that points to something else and symbols can be defined as special signs that convey deep meanings. The deeper meaning of symbols, like sacraments, calls both conscious and unconscious feelings and thoughts. Baptism, Confirmation and The Eucharist are all sacraments of initiation through which the person becomes a full member of the church.
Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick are sacraments of healing. They are concerned with receiving forgiveness, strength and healing. Marriage and Holy Orders are sacraments of ministry, ways in which we are called by God. Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation. Initiation means bringing into membership of or learning to belong. In baptism, the person becomes a Christian, by receiving the new life of God within them and beginning their journey of faith. Baptism means immersed in water. The second sacrament of initiation is Confirmation. Confirm means to strengthen/make clear what has already been agreed.
Through the sacrament of confirmation, you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The third sacrament of initiation is Eucharist, which consists of celebrating communion or the Last Supper. There are only two sacraments of healing: Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is that moment of grace where one receives the forgiveness for sin by Jesus Christ on the cross. Those who approach the sacrament of Reconciliation receive God’s mercy for the offense committed against Him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the church which they have wounded with their sins.
The Anointing of the Sick is the second of the two healing sacraments. This sacrament is a powerful and effective sign of Jesus’ presence that brings strength and healing to the sick, the elderly, and the dying. The celebration of this sacrament can help the sick get well again. When that does not happen, the sacrament helps the sick face their illness with faith and trust. It also helps dying people continue their faith journey to God in heaven. The final two of the seven sacraments are Matrimony and Holy Orders, which are sacraments of ministry.
In the sacrament of Matrimony, married couples promise to serve each other with love and to serve the whole church together. They enter into a lifelong covenant of love. In Matrimony, God gives a man and woman the special grace and blessings to build a Christian family together. Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the ordained ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons is conferred by the laying on of hands followed by the prayer of consecration. Our ordained ministers serve the community by: preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, leading us in celebrating the sacraments, and helping us serve the poor and all those in need.