The Latin word sacramentum means “a sign of the sacred.” The seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God’s saving presence. That’s what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God’s grace. If you learn more about the sacraments, you can celebrate them more fully.
The Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. Choose any Sacrament below to learn more.
There are three groups of Sacraments: Sacraments of Initiation, Healing and Service.
Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism, the beginning of life; Eucharist, which nourishes the disciple with Christ's Body and Blood for his or her transformation in Christ; and Confirmation, perfecting Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply, incorporates us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.
Sacraments of Healing - Penance and Anointing of the Sick. The Sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and priest's absolution. The penitent's acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age.
Sacraments of Service -Holy Orders and Matrimony. Holy Order 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. It includes three degrees: Episcopate (bishop), presbyterate (priest), and diaconate (permanent and transitional deacons). The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other Ian intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation of children.