The Seven Catholic Sacraments

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. (

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.

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 Penance  and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion, confession and  celebration. 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, or Holy Matrimony, 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.

Holy Orders
In  the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, the priest being ordained  vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially  the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel, and by providing other means  to holiness.

Anointing of the Sick
The  Catholic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last  Rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only  for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.


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