The Sacraments

The Catholic Church has seven Sacraments.

The Sacraments lay the foundation and touch all the stages and important moments of Christian life.

Baptism (CCC 1213 - 1284)

Baptism is one of the three Sacraments of initiation. Baptism incorporates us into the Body of Christ   (1 Cor 12:~; Rom 6) In Baptism we pass from the death of sin into life (John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3,25; 2:2) In Baptism we are built together in spirit into a house where God lives (Eph 2:2) 'a holy nation and a royal priesthood' (2 Peter 1:4; Rom 6:11) Faith is both the condition for and the effect of Baptism (S.C. 9) the Sacrament by which, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we respond to the Gospel of Christ. 

 

Baptisms: To make arrangements for Baptisms please see Andrea Lomas on Tuesday evenings between 7.30pm and 8.30pm in the Church Office.It would assist in making these arrangements if this FORM could be completed and brought along to the meeting on Tuesdays.

Confirmation (CCC 1285 - 1321)

The gift of the Holy Spirit allows us to participate more intensely in the mission of Jesus Christ and of the Church.  Since Confirmation, like Baptism, takes place once and for all, it leaves an indelible spiritual mark on the soul.  

The coming of the Holy Spirit is often associated in the Bible with extraordinary signs such as the ‘Gift of Tongues’see (1 Cor 12:4 – 11) for St. Paul’s list of ‘charismata’ or gifts associated with the receipt of the Holy Spirit.  

The Church’s tradition links 7 particular gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation which help us become fruitful members of the Christian Community, these are: -

                 Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.  

The 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit are : -  

                Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Longanimity, Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity.

Sacrament of Confirmation Young people are confirmed during their time in Year 9. A letter of invitation is sent to all those eligible and a special parish programme is arranged. Please contact Father Paul Lomas on 061 437 5042 for any further information.

The Eucharist (CCC 1322 - 1419)

The Church believes that in the death on the Cross, Jesus Christ offered the perfect sacrifice in which He was both priest and victim. The sacrifice took place once and cannot be repeated.

The Church also asserts that the Eucharist is a true and perfect sacrifice – that what is offered in the Eucharist is what was offered on Calvary .

Jesus Christ’s one and perfect sacrifice is just not a fact of history. Christ remains our eternal High Priest and the perfect oblation, bringing reconciliation with God (Heb 9:14 , 10:14, and 12:24 )

This is surely the significance in the Apocalypse of “ a lamb that seemed to have been sacrificed” (Rev 5:6)

Christ’s sacrifice can never be wholly in the past because Christ eternally is the sacrifice, though He dies no more.  

The gift of the Eucharist is Christ’s own way of enabling us to participate in the great act of love by which He won our salvation.

In participating in the Eucharist therefore we are able to offer God the perfect sacrifice of praise. ( S.C. 47)  

The Eucharist is Christ’s gift to the Church in which the ‘victory and triumph of His death are again made present’.

By way of sacramental signs and symbols we are able to join with Head in His eternal offering of Himself – so that His sacrifice becomes ours also.

St. Paul in (1 Cor 11:27 ) rebukes the Corinthians for their bad behaviour at the celebration of the Eucharist and warns them  ‘anyone who eats the Bread and drinks the Cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord’.  

In John’s Gospel (John 6:53 – 56) those listening to Jesus protested when they heard Him say “I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you will not have life in you.” On hearing this some of the disciples left, unable to accept what Jesus said – Jesus made no attempt to call them back to explain.  

Here is a mystery requiring faith – many have tried to rationalise Jesus’ words, but the Church has always maintained it’s faith in the ‘real presence’ of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine.  

If Christ’s presence were only ‘symbolic’, the whole teaching of the Eucharist as a sacrifice would be severely diminished – the profound identity between the Eucharist and Calvary would be fatally undermined.

First Holy Communion takes place in the first two weekends of May each year. This is part of the Sacramental Programme for Forgiveness and Holy Communion which is both  a School and Parish based programme.

Penance - Sacrament of Healing (CCC1422- 1498)

We should all be aware of our falling short of the perfection required of us as Christians. This was the original understanding of Sin.  

Jesus says that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48 ) but it does not mean that we should give up if and when we fail.  Jesus’ whole ministry was directed towards reconciling sinners with God.  

The apostles and their successors were given authority to ‘bind and loose’ in the name of God (Matt 16:19 ; 18:18 )  

They can act on behalf of Christ and His Body the Church, to reinstate a repentant sinner into a proper relationship with God.  

This is done through the Sacrament of Penance, Reconciliation or Confession.  

The Church teaches that a Catholic in a serious state of sin, should seek the Grace of God offered through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

If no serious sin has been committed then private confession is sufficient or in full participation in the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass. However the Church encourages us to celebrate the Sacrament regularly in order to benefit from the graces it bestows.

A good examination of conscience is essential.

First Forgiveness [Confession]: The children in our Infant School receive the Sacrament of First Forgiveness during their final year in the Infant School [Year 2].   This takes place in the second half of the Autumn Term. This is part of the Sacramental Programme for Forgiveness and Holy Communion which is both  a School and Parish based programme.

Anointing of the Sick (CCC 1499 - 1532)

Sickness and pain have always been a problem in human life. Sickness is more than ill health, it affects the whole person and we experience our limitations and ability to control our own lives.

Ultimately sickness is a reminder of our own mortality and that one day we will die.  

In the Bible we see that suffering and sickness exist because we live in a world disordered by sin.

However, the Gospel insists that sickness is not a punishment for personal sin.

Jesus went around curing the sick and His miracles are a sign that the Kingdom of God is breaking into our world bringing salvation for the whole person – body and soul.  

Jesus gave His disciples a command “cure the sick” (Matt 10:8). In His discourse on judgment Jesus included visiting the sick amongst the works of love by which we will be judged  (Matt 25:36,43).  

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is given to us to assist in this work (Rom 8:17; Col 1:24; 2 Tim 21:12; 1Peter 4:13) (L.G.11) and to help us share in the sufferings, death and Resurrection of Christ.

Funerals by arrangement - either Requiem Mass at 10 am, or a Service in Church, or a Service at the Crematorium. For further information please ring the Presbytery

 061 437 5042.

Holy Orders CCC 1409 - 1532)

Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God to all. He announced it to all and He called all to follow Him.

However from the multitude He selected 12 in particular, saying that they might share in His mission in a special way (Mark 3:13 15; 6:6 – 13)

Their calling was a free choice of Jesus and was not due to any particular merit on their part (John 15:16 ).

He made it clear that “anyone who listens to you, listens to me, anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me, reject the One who sent me” (Luke 22:19)

After His Resurrection Jesus repeated this special calling and mission to preach, baptize and forgive sins (Matt 28:19 – 20)

He sent the Holy Spirit to help them to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

The Risen Lord still gives graces for building His Church – prophets, evangelists, pastors etc. (Eph 4:11 13).

It is important to acknowledge that in the 2nd century the Church unanimously recognized bishops as the successors to the Apostles.  (Letter of St. Clement of Rome ).

Matrimony (CCC 1601 - 1666)

With the possible exception of the Eucharist, Marriage is probably the Sacrament most seen by non-Catholics and lapsed Catholics.

It is a beautiful Sacrament through which two people are given the grace to commit themselves to a lifelong commitment of love.

Jesus did not institute or invent marriage as such. Nor did He indicate how it should be celebrated. He did however grace weddings with His presence (John 2:1 – 12) and upheld a challenging ideal of marriage in His teaching (Matt 19:1 – 12)  

In the OT, the covenant between a man and a woman becomes an ‘image of likeness’ of the covenant between God and humanity 

(Hosea 1 – 3; Isaiah 54, 62; Jer 2 – 3, Ezk 16, 23)  

In the NT, the church was already developing a specifically Christian understanding of marriage before the time of the Pauline epistles.

Paul exhorts one to enter into marriage ‘in the Lord’ (1 Cor 7:39 ).  Marriage is taken into the new being ‘in Christ’ begun in baptism.

For that reason the NT sees marriage and the family as a place of particular Christian testing. The daily behavior of a man and a woman is to be orientated by love, faithfulness, self-surrender and obedience to Jesus Christ. (Col 3:18-19; 1Peter 3:1-7; 1Tim 2:8-15; Titus 2:1-6)

The most important description of domestic order is to be found in (Eph 5:21 – 33). Here the covenant between man and woman is described as an image of the covenant between Christ and His Church. The basic idea is one of mutual subordination. The texts most important statement is that the love between a man and a woman in marriage is a sign that makes present God’s love and faithfulness – Such is the definition of a Sacrament. Because marriage is a natural reality the Church tended to accept the rituals and customs of society for establishing a marriage. The exchange of consent, giving away of the bride, contract etc.- In Roman law it was the exchange of consent that made the marriage and the Western Church ultimately accepted this definition.  

Christian couples may have invited priests/bishops to attend and give a blessing – such custom can be found in Anglo-Saxon England from the 8th century. They might also have gone to Mass. Formulas for a Nuptial Mass exist in the Roman Rite from the 5/6th centuries. Only with the breakdown of civil authority did the Church begin to take responsibility for ‘solemnizing’  or formally witnessing marriage. The Council of Trent decreed that for the Sacrament to be valid, it had to involve the free exchange of consent by both parties in public and before an accredited priest and two witnesses.

The parish has produced a useful BOOKLET to help couples through their preparation for marriage

Sacrament of Marriage:  Please contact Father Paul Lomas 061 437 5042 at least 12 months before your intended wedding. Pre-marriage Courses are arranged with Marriage Care, Stockport.

A more in depth look at the Sacraments can be read HERE and HERE 

( Notes from a Parish Catechesis Course held at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham)

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