What are Sacraments?
In Catholic theology, the Sacraments are an outward sign of an inward grace. In other words, a Sacrament is an encounter with Christ who gives us his strength to help us on our Journey in Faith to be with him forever.
There are seven sacraments which can be divided into the following groups:
- Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism; Confirmation; Holy Eucharist
- Sacraments of Healing and Restoration – Reconciliation; Anointing of the Sick
- Sacraments of Communion and Mission – Holy Orders; Matrimony
The Sacrament of Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation and is the way out of the kingdom of death into life. It is the gateway to the Church, and the beginning of a lasting communion with God.
In Baptism we become members of the Body of Christ, the Church. We become sisters and brothers of our Lord, and children of God. We are freed from sin, saved from the darkness of death, and destined from then on for a life forever with God.
If you would like to have your child baptised at St Teresa’s please contact the Parish Office
Christ’s love is shown in the fact that he seeks the lost and heals the sick. This is why he gave us the Sacraments of Healing and Restoration, in which we are freed from sin and strengthened in our physical and spiritual weakness.
One way in which the Lord does this is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as the Sacrament of Penance or Confession. Through this Sacrament, we confess any serious sins that we remember after making a thorough examination of conscience and receive sacramental absolution from the priest who acts in Persona Christi (the person of Christ). In this way, we are reconciled to the Lord and to His Church.
Holy Eucharist / Communion
The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament in which Jesus Christ gives his Body and Blood – his very self – for us, so that we too might give ourselves to him in love and be united with him in Holy Communion. In this way we are joined with the one Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.
Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist on the evening before his death, when he gathered the Apostles around him in the Upper Room in Jerusalem and celebrated the Last Supper with them.
The celebration of the Eucharist is the heart of the Christian Communion and, as Pope St John Paul II reminded us, is the source and summit of our faith.
Catholics often make their First Holy Communion aged 7 / 8 having undertaken a sacramental preparation programme.
Confirmation is the Sacrament that completes Baptism and is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. Thorough this Sacrament, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and we are given the strength to witness to God’s love in both word and deed. The Sacrament can only be administered once and leaves a permanent or indelible mark on a person’s soul – marking them out forever as a Christian.
Through the Sacrament of Confirmation we become full members of the Catholic Church and are called to be witnesses for our faith to all those whom we encounter.
At St Teresa’s, young people often celebrate their Confirmation from Years 7 (11 – 12 years old) or above having undertaken a sacramental preparation programme.
The Sacrament of Marriage comes about through a promise made by a man and a woman before God and the Church, which is accepted and confirmed by God and consummated by the bodily union of the couple. His is because God Himself forms the bond of Sacramental Marriage, it is binding until death of one of the partners.
If you would like to be married at St Teresa’s, please speak to Fr Sean after any of the Weekend Masses or contact the Parish Office
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is one of the Sacraments of Communion and Mission. Like the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Confirmation, Holy Orders can only be received once for each level of ordination. Once a man has been ordained, he is spiritually changed and is called to serve the Lord and the Church in a deeper way and continue the mission of Christ.
Each level of ordination confers on the individual special graces, from the ability to preach, granted to Deacons; to the ability to act in Persona Christi, the Person of Christ, to offer the Mass, granted to Priests; to a special grace of strength, granted to Bishops, which enables him to teach and lead his flock.
For men interested in following the Lord’s call to serve Him as Priests, please contact the diocese Vocations Director:
Fr Andrew Richardson on 01582 502400
For men interested in serving as Permanent Deacons, please contact Fr Tony Brennan 01582 662710
Anointing of the Sick
Jesus came into the world to show God’s love. He often did this in places where we feel especially threatened: in the weakening of our life through sickness. God wants us to become well in body and soul and, therefore, to believe and to acknowledge the coming of God’s kingdom.
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a way in which the Lord comes to us in our frailty and weakness and can be received by any Catholic whose health is in a critical state.