A Sacrament is “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.”
“Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Anointing of the Sick, Baptism, Communion (Eucharist), Confirmation, Holy Orders, Marriage and Reconciliation (Confession). The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith.” CCC 1210.
Jesus touches our lives through the sacraments. Our celebrations of the sacraments are signs of Jesus’ presence in our lives and a means for receiving his grace. The Church celebrates seven sacraments, which are divided into three categories.
Sacraments of Initiation
These sacraments lay the foundation of every Christian life.
They are Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
Sacraments of Healing
These sacraments celebrate the healing power of Jesus.
They are: Reconciliation (Confession) and Anointing of the Sick.
Sacraments at the Service of Communion
These sacraments help members serve the community.
They are Matrimony (Marriage) and Holy Orders.
[To find out more about the Sacraments in our Parish click on the links on this page, there is also a section to help with First Confession and Communion Enrolment & Preparation for our Parish.]
Anointing of the Sick
This sacrament unites a sick person’s suffering with that of Jesus and brings forgiveness of sins. Oil, a symbol of strength, is the sign of this sacrament. A person is anointed with oil and receives the laying on of hands from a priest.
In Baptism we receive new life in Christ. Baptism takes away original sin and gives us a new birth in the Holy Spirit. Its sign is the pouring of water.
The Eucharist (Communion) nourishes our life of faith. Its signs are the bread and wine we receive – the Body and Blood of Christ.
Confirmation seals our life of faith in Jesus. Its signs are the laying on of hands on a person’s head, most often by a bishop (or by a Priest who is instructed to represent the bishop) and the anointing with oil. Like Baptism, Confirmation is received only once.
The Catholic Church teaches that there are seven sacraments or rites through which God can communicate his grace to an individual. Catholic Christians believe that the sacraments are channels for God’s grace – every time they take part in a sacrament, they receive more grace.
Through the sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, a man vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. He promises to do this by proclaiming the Gospel and by providing to Catholics other means to achieve holiness. In order to be ordained a priest, a man must be first ordained a deacon.
In the Catholic Church, the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament is carried out by a bishop, who must symbolically lay his hands on the candidate. The candidates brother priests also lay their hands upon the newly ordained priest as a symbol of welcome into the priesthood as instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper. The priest is blessed with the oils of chrism and robed for the first time in his priestly vestments. After the new priest is dressed in Mass vestments he then joins the Liturgy of the Eucharist with his bishop and the priests assembled and celebrates Mass for the first time.
Taking Holy Orders is a commitment for life both to God and to the Catholic Church, as the man is given certain powers, including passing on God’s forgiveness of sins.
The following is a prayer said at the ordination of a priest:
Lord, holy Father, … when you had appointed high priests to rule your people, you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity to be with them and to help them in their task… you extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men. … You shared among the sons of Aaron the fullness of their father’s power.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church 1542)
Holy Orders differs from other sacraments as it has three separate stages. It can only be given by a man who has himself undertaken all three rites and has therefore become a bishop.
The three stages of Holy Orders:
1.Being ordained a deacon – a deacon may baptise, preach and distribute Holy Communion (but not to transubstantiate it). A deacon may also marry within the Catholic Church.
2. Being ordained a priest – a priest is believed to have the power to change bread and wine into the Body and 3. Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) and to forgive sins. A priest does not marry.
Being ordained a bishop – only a bishop has the complete fullness of the priesthood, with the power to confirm and to ordain deacons, priests and other bishops through the sacrament of Holy Orders.
A Prayer for Priests
O Jesus, our great High Priest, Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest, Father [N]. Give him a deep faith, a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of his priestly life.
In his loneliness, comfort him. In his sorrows, strengthen him. In his frustrations, point out to him that it is through suffering that the soul is purified, and show him that he is needed by the Church, he is needed by souls, he is needed for the work of redemption.
O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your son who is close to you because of his priestly ordination, and because of the power which he has received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs him so much.
Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength, and especially help him to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.
If you are thinking about becoming a priest, please speak to Fr. Ian or Fr. Michael, or you can contact the
Archdiocese Vocations Director: Father Ron Johnson:
Telephone: 0151 727 2493
Email: [email protected]
In Matrimony (Marriage) a baptised man and woman are untied with each other as a sign of the unity between Jesus and his Church. Matrimony requires the consent of the couple, as expressed in the marriage promises. The couple and their wedding rings are the signs of this sacrament.
Reconciliation / Confession
Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation we offer penance and we receive God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness requires us to be sorry for our sins. In Reconciliation we receive Jesus’ healing grace through absolution by the priest. The signs of this sacrament are our confession of our sins, our own words of sorrow and the words of absolution given said by the priest.
First Confession and First Communion
Please check back for further information about the Sacraments and details to enrol on the Preparation Programme for children: “With You Always”.
For adults: please contact Fr. Ian or Fr. Michael for further information.