Sacraments are signs and instruments of God’s Grace. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church recognizes seven sacraments instituted by the Lord. They are the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist), the Sacraments of Healing (Penance and the Anointing of the Sick), and the Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Marriage and Holy Orders). Through these sacraments, God shares his Holiness with us so that we, in turn, can make the world holier.
For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church’s way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God. In this sacrament all personal sins are forgiven, and we’re infused with the grace necessary for salvation.
Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ’s Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, or Confession) forgives sins committed after Baptism. In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness; as a result we are called to forgive others.
Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. It is most often associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage is a public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and wife speaks of family values and also God’s values.
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical, but also for mental and spiritual sickness. Through the sacrament of anointing, Christ strengthens the faithful who are afflicted by illness.
Holy Orders is the sacrament by which bishops, priests and deacons are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties.