The seven sacraments--Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick—are the life of the Catholic Church. As Jesus was, for those who met him on earth, a tangible manifestation of God, so the Church carries on this ministry, especially through the sacraments.
Each Sacrament is an "outward sign of an inward grace", using symbols such as water, bread, wine, oil, and candles, as well as symbolic gestures, to convey in a physical way the deep spiritual blessings from God that they bring.
The first three sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion—are known as the Sacraments of Initiation, because the rest of our life as a Christian depends on them.
The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism is the first sacrament and the gateway to the others. Through it we become part of the Church, the Body of Christ.
We are baptised " In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ", set apart and given the grace to live a life of loving service of God and others.
An adult being baptised is assured of the forgiveness of all previous sin. "When we were baptised, we went into the tomb with Christ and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might lead a new life ...you ...must consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus." - (Romans 6)
The Eucharist (Holy Communion) completes Initiation and is food for our life in union with Christ. Jesus gave us his Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine at the Last Supper, saying " Do this in memory of me".
"Take this, all of you and eat of it, for this is my Body which will be given up for you.......Take this, all of you and drink of it for this is the chalice of my Blood which will be poured out for you.....for the forgiveness of sins." - Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass.
Reconciliation (Confession) is the sacrament which celebrates God's mercy. The Church teaches that sin damages our relationship with God and others, taking us away from what God created us to be, so we need to be reconciled. In this sacrament, sins committed after baptism are forgiven and we are filled with strength to help resist temptation in the future.
"Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and from now on do not sin again." - (John 8:1-11)
Marriage is the vocation of most Christians and very important in both Church and Society. The sacrament is ministered by the couple to each other in the presence of a priest or deacon and gives grace for lifelong loving fidelity and parenthood.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery and I am applying it to Christ and the church." - (Ephesians 5:31-32)
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, prepares adults to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, First Holy Communion and integrate them into the local Catholic Church community. This is done through weekly teaching, discussion and prayer.
Holy Orders is the sacrament received by deacons, priests and bishops to give them the grace and authority for their ministry.
"A priest's duties are to offer sacrifice, to bless, to govern, to preach and to baptise. So high a dignity should be approached with great awe..." - Rite of ordination of a priest.
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick is offered to those suffering serious or long-term illness or facing an operation, to bring comfort, strength and healing of the body, mind and spirit.
"Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven." - (James 5:14-15)
Church of St Mary: 157 Aldershot Road, Guildford, GU2 8BP Church of St Joseph: 12 Eastgate Gardens, Guildford, GU1 4AZ Church of St Edward: Sutton Park, Guildford, GU4 7QN Church of St Pius x: Laustan Close, Guildford, GU1 2TS