The Catholic sacraments are gifts that are grounded in the life and ministry of Jesus and have been defined over time through the wisdom and experience of the Church. By the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the essential actions of the sacraments, Jesus is present in his Church today to welcome, strengthen, nourish, heal and empower us to live holy lives and to continue his work. The seven sacraments of Catholic Church include sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), healing, (Penance/Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick), and vocation (Matrimony and Holy Orders).
Baptism is the first sacrament of welcoming or initiation into our Church. The Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ's call to holiness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love.
Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighborhoods, society, and the world. . . . We receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner with great emphasis given to the person of Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to the Church for building up the community in loving service.
Eucharist is the sacrament of initiation which is the spiritual core of Catholic life and provides ongoing nourishment and strength for members of our Church. During the celebration of the Eucharist, the life, death and resurrection of Christ is remembered. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ is truly present in the priest, the community, the Scriptures and, through the words of consecration, the bread and wine. In receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are in communion with each other, the universal Church and all our brothers and sisters in Christ who have come before us.
Reconciliation frees us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned."Reconciliation is an experience of the gift of God's boundless mercy.
Anointing of the Sick is given to anyone with the hope that if it be God's will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit's gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.
Matrimony is a covenant, which is more than a contract. Covenant always expresses a relationship between persons. The marriage covenant refers to the relationship between the husband and wife, a permanent union of persons capable of knowing and loving each other and God. The celebration of marriage is also a liturgical act, appropriately held in a public liturgy at church. Catholics are urged to celebrate their marriage within the Eucharistic Liturgy.
Holy Orders an ordination to the priesthood is always a call and a gift from God. Christ reminded his Apostles that they needed to ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest. Those who seek priesthood respond generously to God's call using the words of the prophet, "Here I am, send me" (Is 6:8). This call from God can be recognized and understood from the daily signs that disclose his will to those in charge of discerning the vocation of the candidate.