There are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church – Baptism, Reconciliation, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders – and each can be described as sign of God’s love for us, a sharing in the life of Christ, or in the words of the old Baltimore Catechism, “an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.”
Each of the sacraments features some external sign or physical element (water, oil, the candle and white garment in Baptism, for instance) and each imparts a particular grace proper to that sacrament. A person participating in the Sacrament of Matrimony, for example, would receive particular graces that would help him or her to fulfill the promises of marriage.
St. Augustine defined a sacrament as the “visible form of an invisible grace” and each sacrament is intended to unite us more closely to Christ and to help us on our pilgrimage through life as His disciples.
Baptism is the first sacrament of the Church, enabling the recipient to become a child of God, a brother or sister in Christ, and enabling that person to receive the other sacraments.
In Baptism, water is poured on a person’s head, or he or she is immersed in water as the minister says “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Through Baptism, Original Sin is forgiven (along with the personal sins of an older candidate for the sacrament), the recipient is infused with sanctifying grace, and receives the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity together with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The Church teaches that a person unable to receive Baptism by water might instead benefit from a “Baptism by blood” (martyrdom) or a “Baptism of desire” by which a person whose desire to be baptized has gone unfulfilled might still benefit from the sacrament.
To arrange for the baptism of a child under the age of reason (usually age 7) call the parish office at (313)274-4500. To arrange for the baptism of an older child or an adult, please contact Fr. Patrick Stoffer at (313)274-4500, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the forgiveness of sin, the Sacrament of Reconciliation restores our relationships with God and one another so that we might once more be united with Christ and the fellowship of his Church.
The effect of sin, particularly serious sin, is to destroy our relationship with God and to undermine our relationships with other human beings. But Christ came to conquer the effects of sin, to save us from the power of evil in the world that attacks human dignity and separates us from God.
Christ taught us that if we are willing to acknowledge our sin and seek reconciliation (Parable of the Lost Son, Lk. 15:11-32) the Father will welcome us with open arms, and celebrate our return. What is necessary is a true sense of repentance for what we have done and the genuine intention to avoid sin in the future (“Go, and sin no more.” Jn. 11:8).
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated in the church each Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m. or by appointment by contacting Fr. Patrick at (313)274-4500 or at email@example.com.
The Eucharist (from the Greek eucharistia, “thanksgiving”) is the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, in which he is present under the forms of bread and wine offering himself in the Sacrifice of the Mass and giving himself as spiritual food to the faithful. 1
Also known as Holy Communion, the Eucharist was instituted by Christ himself at the Last Supper “in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.” 2
Because the Eucharist is sacred to Catholics, the Church asks only those to approach the sacrament who are one in belief with the Church and who are in the state of grace.
For information on Eucharistic preparation for children up to the 2nd grade, contact Religious Education Director Shannon Pryce at (313)274-4500. Older children and adults seeking preparation to receive the sacrament should contact Fr. Patrick Stoffer at the same number or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Catholic Encyclopedia, Rev. Peter Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L., editor, 1991, p. 368
2 Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 47, the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy
In the Sacrament of Confirmation, a candidate is sealed by the Holy Spirit and is given particular strength to live the Christian life.
As in Baptism, candidates are anointed in this sacrament and are called “to spread and defend the Faith both by word and by deed as true witnesses of Christ.”1 To strengthen them for this battle, those who are confirmed receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit during their Confirmation: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
For information on Confirmation preparation for children through the 8th grade, contact Religious Education Director Shannon Pryce at (313)274-4500. Older children and adults seeking preparation to receive the sacrament should contact Fr. Patrick Stoffer at the same number.
1 Pope Paul VI: Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation
The Sacrament of Matrimony (Marriage) is the means by which a man and a woman encounter Christ in a special relationship with each other in a way that contributes to the salvation of both.
As expressed in paragraph 1601 of the Catholic Catechism, “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”
Marriage, which was instituted by the Creator and elevated to the level of a Sacrament by Christ, stands as an image of the union of Christ and His Church. Important to the sacrament is the full and willing consent of each partner, as they commit themselves to their marital relationship for the rest of their lives.
Those who wish to marry need to contact Fr. Patrick at least 6 months prior to the anticipated wedding date at (313)274-4500, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick is the sacrament that offers compassion and prayers to strengthen brothers and sisters in Christ who are ill or who are at the point of death. Those receiving the sacrament are anointed on the forehead and hands by a priest or bishop using the following words: “Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in his love and his mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”
Unlike other sacraments that involve anointing (Baptism and Confirmation), Anointing of the Sick can be received more than once. When the sacrament is being administered to someone who is near death, it is often preceded by the Sacrament of Reconciliation and followed by the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
At St. Linus, this sacrament is celebrated within the context of the Mass in the Spring and in the Fall. It is also celebrated at any time by request. Please contact the parish office (313)274-4500, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (par. 1536) teaches us that “Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry.”
There are three degrees of Orders: episcopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests), and diaconate (deacons). Bishops are called to teach, to rule and to sanctify. Acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ), priests offer prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the people as they celebrate divine worship, administer the sacraments, preach the Gospel, and shepherd the faithful. Ordained to the order of charitable service in the Church, deacons also assist in liturgical celebrations and administration of the sacraments (Baptism and Matrimony) and are charged with the proclamation of the Gospel.
Anyone interested in learning more about Holy Orders is invited to contact Fr. Patrick Stoffer at the parish office (313)274-4500 or to visit detroitpriestlyvocations.com