What Are the Sacraments?
The seven Sacraments of the Church are individual and personal encounters with Christ that “touch all the stages and all-important moments of the Christian life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324 1210). They are central to our Catholic faith and crucial for us to continue growing in holiness.
The best way to learn more about a sacrament is to contact your local Catholic parish. It can help you prepare to receive the sacrament, including for the first time.
The Seven Catholic Sacraments
Learn about the seven Catholic sacraments below!
Baptism is one of three sacraments of Initiation that bring a person into the faith. At baptism, we are washed clean from sin and reborn into a new life with Christ. We are also given special sanctifying grace by Holy Spirit, which enables us to believe in God and grow in our love for him.
If you are looking to baptize your child, get in contact with your local parish. Most parishes offer baptism courses that will prepare you and your child for the sacrament. If you are an adult seeking baptism, you will need to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program (RCIA), available at your local parish.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, often referred to as Confession, is a sacrament of Healing. In scripture, Jesus sought out the broken and suffering, healing their physical ailments, but also their spiritual ones. In many cases, he began by saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” When we come to confession, we encounter that same Jesus, and are washed clean of our sins. There is no sin so great that God will not forgive.
To find local confession times, check out our parish finder app and locate a parish near you. You may also register with your local parish for the appropriate Sacramental Preparation Program if you are interested in having this sacrament for the first time.
Marriage is a serious and sacred commitment. In this unique relationship, two persons make a solemn commitment to be totally for the other. Every marriage shares in God the Father’s creative love as an image of the Holy Trinity.
If you are looking to marry in the Church, contact your parish for next steps! This should be done as soon as you get engaged and before the wedding date is set. At the very least, it needs to be done six months before your wedding.
Anointing of the Sick
In scripture, Jesus gives special compassion to those who are ill or suffering. Through the Anointing of the Sick, the Church brings the sick to Christ and asks for his healing touch. If you or a loved one are in need of the Anointing of the Sick, contact your pastor or a local priest.
In the sacrament of Confirmation, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. The Bishop (or in some cases, another priest) lays his hand on the candidate (the person requesting the sacrament) and prays for the Holy Spirit to fill the person. Though we might not begin spontaneously speaking in foreign languages like it is outlined in the Bible, we are nonetheless filled with the same Holy Spirit and the graces given to the Apostles at Pentecost. The graces given at Baptism are completed in Confirmation. We are given the strength to go out into the world and live our faith.
If confirmation is something you are thinking about with your child, you can contact your local parish to get more information and eventually join a preparation program. As an adult seeking to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, you will be invited to participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program, available at your local parish.
The Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324). During the mass, the bread and the wine are miraculously transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Though it may still look and taste like bread and wine, it is truly Jesus present.
If your child is in grade 2 or older, you can register with your local parish in their Sacramental Preparation Program, which will prepare your child to receive the Sacrament of Communion.
Sacrament of Holy Order
We each have a vocation, a specific calling from God for our lives. Some of us are called to serve God and the Church through Holy Orders as priests, deacons, or religious. Is God calling you?
Visit our Vocations page for more information, or check out our resources for lists of local religious orders.