The Seven Sacraments of the Church

 

A sacrament is:

 

  • An efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.

  • In other words, sacraments make visible something that God wants to give us, namely His grace.

  • They are like a downspout collecting God's grace and piping it to us.

  • Grace is part of the supernatural realm, which means it is above our nature.

  • Hence we cannot see nor interpret the supernatural unless it is brought down to our level and interpreted by our five senses.

  • Therefore, Catholics are "sensual" people in that we use water, oils, bread, wine, and the laying on of hands to show that grace has come upon us.

  • A sacrament is a personal "encounter" with the Risen Christ.

Baptism

 

Confirmation

 

Eucharist

 

Penance

 

Holy Orders

 

Marriage

 

Anointing of the Sick

Water

 

Oil of Sacred Chrism

 

Wheat bread & grape wine

 

Profess our sins out loud

 

Laying on of hands by a bishop

 

Exchange of vows & consummation

 

Oil of the infirmed & laying on of hands

Material Signs Used in Each Sacrament

History of the Word "Sacrament"

 

The word sacrament comes from the Latin word sacramentum, which means "consecration" or "the act of making holy or sacred."  Its use stems from the Roman Empire: When a person entered into a contract or filed a lawsuit, he would give a sacramentum, or "pledge," of money or property to the temple, and he would forfeit this sacramentum if he were to lose the lawsuit or break the contract.  The word sacramentum also referred to the oath taken by a Roman soldier pledging loyalty to the emperor and to the Roman gods.  By the second century, Christians started to use the word to describe the profession of Christian Faith which bonded the Christian to God.  Eventually, sacramentum was applied to any sacred Christian ceremony.  In time, as the Church grew in its understanding of Divine Revelation and the unique character of seven of these rites, it started using sacramentum to refer to these seven sacraments alone.

Baptism

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. -Matthew 28:19-20

 

 Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. -John 3:5

Baptism is:

 

  • The first of all the sacraments.

  • It removes the stain of original sin from Adam & Eve.

  • It makes us a beloved child of God.

  • It makes us a member of the Body of Christ.

  • It gives us a share in God’s divine life.

  • It imparts a seal or indelible mark on our soul which designates us as a Christian.

  • It clothes us with Christ.

  • It imparts the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

  • We also receive the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.

  • We receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.

  • Baptism washes away all stain of sin, but leaves a weakness or attraction to sin called concupiscence.

Why does the Church practice infant Baptism?

 

From antiquity the Church has practiced infant Baptism. There is one reason for this: before we decide on God, God has decided on us. Baptism is therefore a grace, an undeserved gift of God, who accepts us unconditionally. Believing parents who want what is best for their child want Baptism also, in which the child is freed from the influence of original sin and the power of death. [CCC 1250, 1282]

 

Infant Baptism presupposes that Christian parents will raise the baptized child in the faith. It is an injustice to deprive the child of Baptism out of a mistaken liberality. One cannot deprive a child of love so that he can later decide on love for himself; so too it would be an injustice if believing parents were to deprive their child of God's grace in Baptism. Just as every person is born with the ability to speak yet must learn a language, so too every person is born with the capacity to believe but must become acquainted with the faith. At any rate, Baptism can never be imposed on anyone. If someone has received Baptism as a little child, he must "ratify" it later in life—this means he must say Yes to it, so that it becomes fruitful. (YouCat 197)

I want to have my child baptized, what are the requirements?

 

  • A desire to grow in holiness yourself as the parent(s).

  • A short baptismal class (if this is your first child)

  • Choose godparents worth imitating and can intercede for the godchild if their spiritual life is ever at risk.

  • Make an appointment to talk with Fr. Tim (906) 563-9845 or fathertim@norwaymi.com

  • Fill out these two forms:

Penance is:

 

  • Also called confession or reconciliation.

  • The way we restore our baptismal purity when we commit sin.

  • There are two types of sin: venial sin and mortal sin.

  • A venial (or lesser) sin is like building a brick wall between us and God, brick by brick.

  • A mortal (or grave) sin is a prefabricated wall placed between us and God.

  • Over time venial sins can turn into mortal sins easily.

  • The word “mortal” means “subject to death.”

  • Just as a mortal wound inflicted on our body could kill us, a mortal sin (deliberately not confessed) can lead to spiritual death or hell (eternal separation between us and God).

  • There are three conditions that must be met for sin to be considered mortal:

    • The act is a grave or serious matter as defined by the Church

    • The individual has full knowledge of its gravity

    • The act must be freely chosen

Penance

Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest?  Why can't I confess them directly to God?

 

The short answer is that we should do both.  When our conscience stings us with guilt or shame it’s time to clean our spiritual house.  We should start with an honest and open dialogue with God, not hide like Adam and Eve.  We should also make an immediate act of contrition. Then as soon as possible we should go to confession to a priest.  Why?  It is human to confess our sins, people do it on television, the internet, and at bars, but these venues don’t offer God’s healing grace (absolution) nor the seal of confession.  God gave the power to forgive sins to the Apostles.  “[Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained’” (Jn 20:22-23).  These Apostles raised up bishops to replace themselves and carry Christ’s forgiveness into the world.  The bishops have delegated priests to reconcile sinners back to God and to the community.  There is no such thing as a ”private sin,” so when we sin we distance our self from the believing community (Body of Christ) also.  The priest, as a representative of the faithful, welcomes us back.  God wants us to have this personal encounter of forgiveness and we need it.  Remember, we are dealing with God’s grace and it must be brought to our human level to interpret it.  Thus we hear those words of absolution from the priest say, “…through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Amen!

 

 

 

Five steps to a good confession:

 

  1. examination of conscience 

  2. state my sin(s) out loud

  3. have contrituion or sorrow from my sin(s)

  4. make a good act of contrition

  5. do my assigned penance

 

Here's a copy of an examination of conscience:

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” -Mark 2:17

 

"If we say, 'We are without sin,' we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." -1 John 1:8

 

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”      -Luke 19:10

 
 

Jump to:     Baptism     Confirmation     Eucharist     Penance     Holy Orders     Marriage     Anointing of the Sick

Marriage

Marriage is:

 

  • The image used most often in the Scriptures to describe God’s relationship with humanity.

  • This love between husband and wife, called nuptial love, is the total gift of self to the other. 

  • But where is the highest form of nuptial love found? 

  • It’s found in the Trinity itself, because God is love.

  • Marriage is meant to be a reflection of the love found in the Holy Trinity. 

 

  • There is a painting that hangs in the chapel at my Mundelein Seminary that depicts this reality well (seen to the left).

  • The artist painted God the Father at the top, with the dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, descending, and Jesus as a small boy directly below.

  • On either side of Jesus were his parents, Mary and Joseph.

  • Essentially, the artist displayed two Trinities, the one in Heaven, and its reflection: the Holy Family.

 

  • The Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – was described by St. Augustine as the Lover, the Beloved, and the Love shared between them, respectively. 

  • God has destined us to share in this exchange.

  • Why?  Because God’s love is diffusive or bubbling over.

  • Creation happens because God has so much to share, so his love creates humanity to share it with.

  • One of the greatest gifts God can share with a married couple is to make them co-creators of life; to have the ability to produce a third person: a child, the visible fruit of their love. 

  • From the very beginning, the Book of Genesis reminds us that God has called a man and a woman together by love to leave what they have previously known, the love of their own families, in order to become something brand new, to become one flesh; to be of one mind and heart, always striving for mutual salvation together. 

  • It is God who seals and strengthens a couple's love for each other and makes it something sacred, something truly beautiful and extraordinary.

  • All of the qualities of a healthy marriage are summed up in one person, Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, who came to marry his spouse, the Church, and elevate her.

  • Ultimately, Christ laid down his very life to better his bride.

 

  • Since Christ is our model for authentic love, we are called to offer the same thing that Jesus offered to the Father on the Cross: our body. 

  • At the Last Supper Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you.” 

  • St. Paul tells us in Romans, “I urge you … to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God… Do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness.”

  •  So how do we do this? 

  • First, we must recognize that our bodies are holy because they belong to the body of Christ, who is God. 

  • St. Paul said, “[T]he Spirit of God dwells in you … And the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” 

  • Second, our bodies are meant to be given away in love. 

  • We are created in the image of God, who is love, and as his disciples we are sent forth into the harvest to make true love visible.

  • St. Paul defined true love in marriage as this, “The wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does.” 

  • In other words, marriage makes God visible through the man offering his body to his wife, and the woman offering her body to her husband, serving one another, and fulfilling their call to be a one flesh union through the conjugal act. 

  • The fruit and visible product of this love, God willing, is children. 

  • The one flesh union of husband and wife foreshadows an even greater mystery. 

  • St. Paul said in Ephesians, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to sanctify her.” 

  • Or as St. John Chryosostom said, “Young husbands should say to their wives: ‘I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself.  For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated . . . I place your love above all things and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.”

  • The true definition of marriage is so vital that St. Pope John Paul II said that marriage is the prototype of all the sacraments in the Church since each aims at uniting us with Christ our bridegroom.  

"From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” -Mark 10:6-9

 

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word ... So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." -Ephesians 5:25-25, 28

 

 

 

Planning a Marriage at St. Mary or St. Barbara?

 

  • Contact Fr. Tim about 6 months in advance by calling (906) 563-9845 or emailing: fathertim@norwaymi.com

  • Let him know immediately if you have ever been married before civilly, in another denomination, or in the Catholic Church.

  • No date for a wedding will be confirmed until freedom to marry has been verfied

  • Find out where you were baptized

  • Review the Marriage Guidelines below

  • Have 2 witnesses for the bride and 2 witnesses for the groom fill out the affidavit form below

  • Meet with Fr. Tim to do marriage prep (4-6 sessions)

  • Plan your liturgy by picking out readings and prayers using the Wedding Planning Guide

  • Plan your music with the music director at the respective parish

 

 

Marriage

Holy Orders

Holy Orders is:

  • a sacrament at the service of communion because Jesus said at the Last Supper, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19).

  • With this command from Jesus to celebrate the Eucharist at Mass, the sacrament of Holy Orders was started.

  • Through the sacrament of Holy Orders Christ’s mission to his apostles continues to be fulfilled. 

  • This sacrament was set up by Christ to provide ministers of service to his people, the Church.

  • Those who attain Holy Orders are than servants of the Word of God and God’s sacraments.

 

Three degrees of apostolic ministry: (see chart)

  • There are three degrees of Holy Orders: the episcopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests), and diaconate (deacons).

  • Normally, only celibate men are chosen for priesthood and the episcopacy.  Permanent deacons are the exception, and may be chosen from among married men.

  • Men chosen for ordination are called to give themselves “with undivided heart” to the Lord and his Church.  This is the reason celibacy is required of priests and bishops, and is seen as a sign of the life of service these men have chosen.

 

Why is it called “Orders”?

  • It comes from the ancient Roman word ordo used for a civil body, especially a governing body.  When a man is ordained as a bishop, priest, or deacon, he is being incorporated into that order, made a member.

 

In the Old Testament: The Priesthood of the Old Covenant:

  • Israel, a kingdom of priests

  • Levites, a tribe set apart for religious service

  • Aaron and his sons, priests who offer sacrifice

 

In the New Testament: The Priesthood of the New Covenant:

  • The priesthood of the Old Covenant is fulfilled in the one person of Jesus Christ, our High Priest (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 5:10).

  • While the priests of the Old Covenant had to sacrifice over and over again, Jesus Christ offered his sacrifice of himself as a once-and-for-all offering for sin.  His sacrifice does not have to be repeated; but, his sacrifice is made present for us at every Mass in the Eucharist.

 

The Priesthood of All Believers and the Ministerial Priesthood:

  • Through Christ, all baptized and confirmed Christians share in the priesthood of Christ.  We are all, in a sense, priests.

  • This called the priesthood of all believers, and must be distinguished from the ministerial priesthood, however. 

  • The ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood of believers. 

  • This is the reason the Church has the sacrament of Holy Orders, to pass on this ministerial priesthood.

 

The Hierarchical Church:

  • The hierarchy, or governing body, of the Church is the very means that Christ gave the Church to preserve the faith and to pass it on to each succeeding generation of believers. 

 

Bishops (the Episcopacy): The Fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders:

  • Our Catholic Tradition gives the highest place to bishops who, because they are in the unbroken line of apostolic succession, are seen as being the ministers who pass on our apostolic faith.

  • Jesus Christ passed on to his chosen apostles his mission.  The apostles in turn passed on this mission to those who succeeded them.  This passing on of the faith is called the apostolic transmission, and it has gone on from the beginning until now in an unbroken chain.  Bishops are the successors, then, of the apostles, and guard, protect, teach, and pass on the apostolic faith of the Church.

  • The bishop, once he has been consecrated in his office, becomes the pastor of the local Church which is entrusted to him.  Pastor means shepherd; so, the local bishop becomes the shepherd of the flock in his particular Church, such as Cardinal George is the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

  • Traditionally, the bishop was seen as the representative of God the Father.

  • Only bishops can ordain priests and deacons.  New bishops are ordained by other bishops, and appointed by the pope, the Bishop of Rome.   

 

Priests (the Presbyterate): Co-workers of the Bishops:

  • Priests are the co-workers of the bishops in the fulfillment of the apostolic ministry.

  • When priests receive the sacrament of ordination to the priesthood they receive an anointing of the Holy Spirit by which they are “signed with a special character” and are “configured to Christ” so that they may act in the person of Christ.

  • What other sacraments leave a permanent mark on our souls?

    • Baptism and confirmation

  • Priests, in the sacrifice of the Mass, make present the sacrifice of Christ. 

  • The sacrament of ordination gives a special grace of the Holy Spirit to the one who receives it I order for us to bring God’s grace to other people, to be ambassadors of Christ.  To bring God to his people, and to bring people to God.

  • At a priest’s ordination, after the bishop has laid hands on him, his brother priests likewise lay hands on him.

 

Deacons (the Diaconate): Ordained to Serve:

  • Only the bishop lays hands on the deacon in ordination.

  • There are two types of deacons: (1) transitional deacons, as they are commonly called, who will be ordained as priests and serve only temporarily as deacons; and (2) permanent deacons, who are ordained for lifetime service as deacons. 

  • Married men may be ordained as permanent deacons, although if a deacon is widowed he may not re-marry.

  • Deacons assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the sacraments, especially in the distribution of communion, performing marriages and funerals, proclaiming the Gospel reading, baptizing, and other works of charity.

  • They cannot hear confessions, anoint the sick, or say Mass.

 

Quotes:

 

"Only Christ [is] truly priest. But the others are his ministers." - St. Thomas Aquinas

 

"Priestly ordination is administered as a means of salvation, not for an individual man, but rather for the whole Church." -St. Thomas Aquinas

 

"The priest continues [Christ's] work of redemption on earth." - St. John Vianney

 

  • The sacrament of Holy Orders, like marriage, is called a vocation.

 

  • How many people do you think have a vocation in life?

    • All of us

 

  • What is a vocation?

    • A vocation may simply be thought of as what we are called to be in life, whether that is a priest, a religious, a married person, or single person.

 

  • Why do you want to become a priest?

    • Because I feel that God has asked me to set aside my plans and dreams in life in order to serve Him and His people in the Church.

 

  • Don’t you want to get married?

    • Sure, who doesn’t?  Celibacy is a call to follow Christ, the Bridegroom, in marrying the Church and elevating her to Heaven.  

 

  • Don’t you want to have kids?

    • I’m sure there is no greater feeling than when a parent first sees their child born.  They also get to raise a child and watch them carry on everything that was good from their mother and father.  Having children is the greatest gift that God has given to us.  Think about it, this is the only act that we become co-creators with God who is constantly creating the universe.  Sure we could invent something or paint a beautiful picture and those are creations, but to bring life into the world is the highest of all creations.  A good priest has to be a good father, even if he doesn’t have any children of his own.  It’s been said that nobody calls a priest “daddy,” but everyone calls him “father.”

 

  • What do you have to do as a priest?

    • A short answer would be you have to be a mediator between Christ and the people of God. 

    • Practically we do this by:

      • Presiding at the Mass

      • Teaching through preaching and in classroom settings

      • Administering the seven sacraments

      • Visiting the sick and homebound

      • Consoling people in crisis or grief

Vocations:
Recommended Reading

Confirmation is:

  • seen as the completion of baptism.

  • It is an expression of our dependence on the Holy Spirit.

  • St. Thomas calls confirmation the “perfectioning” of a human.

  • He says that confirmation is to baptism what the reception of the Blood of Christ is to the reception of the Body of Christ.

  • In other words, confirmation is a fuller expression of our faith.

  • In this sacrament we are sealed with the Spirit through the anointing with oil.

  • Confirmation points to a difference in your relationship with the Church community, not to God.

  • Our confirmation is a personal Pentecost and an infusion of the Holy Spirit who bears seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.

 

  • Wisdom: This helps us see God at work in our lives and in the world. 

  • St. Thomas Aquinas said wisdom is the view from the hilltop or a higher perspective. 

  • Little St. Therese of Lisieux innocently asked God if there was an elevator to Him. 

  • The answer she received was yes, and this elevator was the very arms of God waiting to pick her up. 

  • Seeing the world from God’s vantage point is wisdom. 

 

  • Understanding & knowledge: These help us look beyond the temporary pleasures of this world towards the permanency of God. 

  • Material things are like mirages, they only bring temporary happiness. 

  • The philosopher, Blaise Pascal said, “Happiness is not within us, and happiness is likewise not outside us.  Happiness is only in God.  And when we have found him, then happiness is everywhere.” 

 

  • Counsel: This helps us discern the difference between right and wrong. 

  • It helps us determine what type of spiritual person we want to be and guides us there. 

  • If our goal is Heaven, then we must aim to be saints!

 

  • Fortitude (Strength): Being a follower of Christ involves laying our reputation, our possessions, and even our life on the line. 

  • Practicing fortitude is like getting off the inner tube in the lazy river at the water park and walking against the current. 

  • We must take a stand for something or fall for anything.

 

  • Piety: This gift means to “know what we owe to God.” 

  • Piety involves reverence and practice of the faith. 

  • Sunday Mass is more than an obligation, it’s an opportunity to praise and thank God, and realign our self before starting the week over again.

 

  • Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe): With this gift we realize that God is all we have or ever will desire.  Period. 

  • This is not fear that God will hurt us, but fear that we will hurt our relationship with God. 

  • This is the child that avoids doing something wrong out of fear of disappointing his or her parents. 

 

  • When these seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, given at Confirmation, are put into practice we are never the same.   

  • Blessed John Henry Newman said, “I am created to do something for which no one else is created … God knows me and calls me by my name.” 

  • St. Thomas Aquinas called Confirmation our “perfectioning.” 

  • We are perfected in three ways: as a true friend of Jesus, as a soldier for the faith, and as an ambassador of faith.

 

  • Confirmation makes us a true friend of Jesus. 

  • Society uses the term “friend” loosely. 

  • A friend can be anyone online, a causal acquaintance, or even a famous person we idolize but have never met. 

  • The bible says a friend is a sturdy shelter, a refuge in a storm, and someone who loves at all times. 

  • Jesus said that a true friend will lay down his life for yours, keeps his commandments, and has knowledge of the Heavenly Father through the Son. 

  • The Holy Spirit introduces us to this friendship with Christ.

 

  • Confirmation makes us a soldier for the faith. 

  • The sacrament of Confirmation used to come with a slap on the cheek from the bishop. 

  • It reminded us it is not easy to Christian. 

  • Confirmation can be seen as the boot camp for our soul; a fortification so we can stand up for the faith.  Jesus said that if they have persecuted him, they will persecute you. 

  

  • Every friend of Jesus is called to martyrdom, to witness to the faith when it is under attack. 

  • There are red martyrs, those dying for the faith and there are white martyrs, those who have discriminated against and marginalized because of our Catholic faith.

 

  • Confirmation makes us an ambassador of the faith.  

  • We must pray that the Holy Spirit open the door in a particular individual’s heart and then we slip in a word about the faith. 

  • Specifically we share a personal joy or comfort that we find in practicing Catholicism. 

  • Returning to the military analogy, we don’t send in ground troops until an airstrike softens the target. 

  • This is why we call on the Holy Spirit and offer little sacrifices for the conversion of a person before we open our mouths. 

 

  •  With the infusion of the Holy Spirit both at Pentecost and at our Confirmation we were never the same, we were perfected as friends, soldiers, and ambassadors for Jesus. 

  • For St. Basil the Great said, “The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings to perfection those who are making progress.  The Spirit . . . offers his own light to every mind to help it in its search for truth.” 

 

Confirmation

Requirements for Confirmation

  1. Attend Mass on a weekly basis

  2. Attend High School Faith Formation

  3. Perform 20 service (volunteer) hours

  4. Make 2 retreats (i.e. Steubenville, Totus Tuus, Diocesan Youth Rally, Youth Encounter, NET, local retreat)

  5. Letter to Fr. Tim requesting Confirmation

  6. Letter to Bishop John requesting Confirmation

"Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit." -Acts 8:14-17

Anointing of the Sick

 

 Is anyone among you sick?  He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven." -Jas 5:14-15

Do you need this sacrament administered?

Contact Fr. Tim

Current sites being visited {click here}

Anointing of the Sick is:

  • the Last Rites?

  • Last Rites typically consist of confession, Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, and an Apostolic Pardon to forgive all the sins of one’s life. 

  • The last Eucharist, however, is called viaticum, meaning food for the journey; a journey from this life to the next. 

  • This sacrament can be administered by any priest or bishop at their discretion but is typically reserved for the dying, the aged, those who are ill or suffering, before surgery, and for a person's recovery.

The effects of the Anointing of the Sick include:

  • unites the suffering person to the Passion of Christ, as he or she offers up all the pain for his or her good and the good of the Church.

  • provides strength, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age.

  • forgives sins and reduces or removes temporal punishment due for sin if the person has true contrition but is unable to receive the Sacrament of Penance; it even restores sanctifying grace if the recipient has committed mortal sin and is truly penitent.

  • can restore health, if it is good for the salvation of the person's soul.

  • spiritually prepares the recipient for death and entry into eternal life in Heaven.

Why should the Church take special care of the sick?


Jesus shows us: Heaven suffers with us when we suffer. God even wants to be rediscovered in "the least of these my brethren" (Mt 25:40). That is why Jesus designated care of the sick as a central task for his disciples. He commands them, "Heal the sick" (Mt 10: 8), and he promises them divine authority: "In my name they will cast out demons; ... they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mk 16: 17-18). [CCC 1506-1510]


One of the distinctive characteristics of Christianity has always been that the elderly, the sick, and the needy are central to it. Mother Teresa, who cared for those who were dying in the gutters of Calcutta, is only one in a long series of Christian women and men who have discovered Christ precisely in those who were marginalized and avoided by others. When Christians are really Christian, a healing influence goes out from them. Some even have the gift of healing others physically in the power of the Holy Spirit (the charism of healing). (YouCat 242)

 

Eucharist

The Need for the Eucharist​

  • The Second Vatican Council said, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” 

  • There is nothing greater that we can receive than the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

  • The Church did not dream this up, rather Jesus left us this clear command: “Do this in remembrance of me.” 

  • Do what? 

  • Offer the elements bread and wine back to God as a sacrifice and they will become so much more.

 

  • We may think that our humble gifts of bread and wine are rooted only in the Last Supper, but their origin is far older. 

  • Genesis 14 takes place almost 2000 years before Christ. 

  • Abraham, having just returned from a successful battle met Melchizedek, a priestly-king, who offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving for Abraham’s victory. 

  • He offered the elements of bread and wine. 

  • Melchizedek foreshadows Jesus, the true priestly-king. 

  • Priests and kings typically play distinctive roles: a priest offers sacrifice to bring people closer to God, while a king gathers and feeds his people. 

  • Jesus as both king and priest invites us to participate in His perfect sacrifice to the Father that is “re-presented” at every Mass.

 

  • Jesus played the role of King in the Multiplication of Fishes & Loaves. 

  • Just as the early kings of Israel gathered the twelve tribes into one nation set apart for God, so Christ the King draws his people together into one body and feeds them. 

  • Mother Teresa commented that the Eucharist is the “satisfaction of Christ’s hunger … [because] He hungers for souls.”

  • Jesus’ multiplication of loaves and fish recalls the greatest miracle ever performed in the mind of an ancient Jew – Moses calling down the manna in the desert. 

  • Jews believed that the coming Messiah would be able to create manna also. 

  • This is why Jesus called himself, “the bread from Heaven.” 

 

  • Jesus also fulfilled the priestly role in the second reading by offering the first sacrifice of the Eucharist: “[T]he Lord Jesus … took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you.’ […] In the same way also the cup … saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood.’”

  • Jesus performed a priestly sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving with same elements as Melchizedek; bread and wine. 

  • In every sacrifice we return to God some element of his creation to show our gratitude. 

  • God doesn’t need our sacrifices but they please him and bring us into right relationship. 

  • Think of like the dandelions you brought to mom or dad as a child. 

  • Your parents didn’t need your humble gift, but they appreciated it because it expressed our love and affection. 

 

  • Every Mass is like Memorial Day, for we gather as a grateful people to worship God because of his great sacrifice for us.   

  • The purpose of worship is to foster an awareness that we are a “creature” and we depend upon the Creator for life.

  • The process of reorienting creatures to their Creator is inevitably painful, this is where sacrifice comes in. 

  • Under the Old Covenant, the one making an offering of a slaughtered animal was really saying, “Out of justice this ought to be happening to me.”  

  • Under the New Covenant at the Last Supper, we are saying, “Out of mercy, this sacrifice is happening to you, O’ Lord.” 

  • As the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus poured out His life so that we could keep ours. 

  • Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote, “The law that runs through Nature is there is never a sacrament without sacrifice.  Nothing contributes to our living except through something that has experienced dying.  Here is the fallacy of those who would reduce the Eucharist to [just] a meal – What meat is ever put on a dish except through its death?  It seems a hard law, but it is true; we live by what we slay.  We slew Him by our sins.  But through His mercy we live by what we have slain.”

 

  • The Mass is the highest form of prayer because prayer keeps us in communion with God’s presence. 

  • Jesus said at the Last Supper, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” 

  • The Last Supper foreshadowed Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. 

  • The Latin roots of the word “sacrifice” literally mean “to make holy.” 

  • We’ve all heard, “You are what you eat;” well this is true in the case of the Eucharist. 

  • God told St. Augustine in prayer, “I am the food of the strong; eat then of me and grow … be transformed into me.”  

  • The Eucharist is a sacrificial gift that draws us back into communion with the living God. 

 

  • Humanity has been offering bread and wine to God for 4,000 years, and celebrated Mass for the last 2,000 years, so in the words of St. Paul let’s make this commitment to future generations: “What I received from the Lord I handled on to you.” 

  • We hand on the gift of the Eucharist to souls who thirst for Christ. 

  • For St. John Vianney said this about the Eucharist: “God would have given us something greater if he had had something greater than himself [to give].”

The Eucharist is Actually Jesus?!

  • Why do we go to Mass? 

  • If our answer is because we seek an encounter with the Risen Christ then we will not be disappointed. 

  • The two disciples from the Road to Emmaus telling told their story of how they met the Risen Christ in the breaking of the bread, which is the Eucharist. 

  • St. John Chrysostom asked, “How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.” 

  • Sadly though, many Catholics say they have not encountered the Risen Christ at Communion, but only a symbol. 

  • Praise God that our parish children are making their First Holy Communion today to remind us of the awe and wonder surrounding this sacrament. 

  • For Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” 

 

  • Have you ever wondered what we should say when the priest elevates the Body of Christ and then the Blood of Christ during the Eucharistic prayer? 

  • The altar servers ring the bells, but the Church has no official thing that we have to say. 

  • But I pray by the end of this Eucharistic liturgy we, liking the doubting St. Thomas, can say this in the quiet of our hearts, “My Lord and my God!”  

  • If we do not come to the realization that Christ is truly present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, then our “Amen,” meaning “so be it,” is said in vain. 

  • For St. Paul reminded the Romans that “some have exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” 

  • If we do that, then we are no better off than our first parents, Adam and Eve. 

 

  • One could rightly say that our troubles in this world began with a bad meal in the Garden of Eden. 

  • God offered a choice to Adam and Eve to receive his divine life from the many gifts he freely gave them to survive, but at last they chose to steal the fruit off the tree. 

  • This would be like stealing our wrapped Christmas gifts from under the tree before they were distributed to us. 

  • Divine life can only be received as a gift, never taken as a possession. 

  • We, like the disciples from the Emmaus walk, are on a journey from death to life, from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from this world to Heaven. 

  • Christ comes as food and drink to sustain us on this journey. 

  • In the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 

  • After he said this there was fight among the Jews and his disciples about the meaning of his words. 

  • Jesus didn’t stop and say, “Gentlemen I’m merely speaking to you of a symbol.” 

  • No he ups the ante and the tension by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

  • To make sure that the crowd does not miss his point Jesus switched from using the phrase, “eat my flesh,” to the phrase, “gnaw or chew my flesh.” 

  • Sadly, many of Jesus’ disciples abandoned him that day.

 

  • Jesus turned to his Apostles and asked, “Will you also go away?” 

  • Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

  • This is what we confess at this Mass and every Mass, and on every altar around the world. 

  • For St. Francis of Assisi said, “In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood [at Communion].” 

  • This is not a symbol, but truly the Real Presence of the Risen Christ that we are invited to approach. 

  • We must receive the Risen Christ at Mass as if it were not only our first Holy Communion, but also as if it were our last. 

  • For St. Jerome said, “It is dangerous to try to get to heaven without the Bread of Heaven.”

The Eucharist is:

  1. A Sacred Meal

  2. The Sacrfice of Jesus

  3. The Real Presence of Jesus' body blood, soul & divinity

To Receive Communion:

  1. You must be Catholic

  2. Have made your First Holy Communion

  3. Be free from mortal sin

  4. Believe that the Eucharist is Christ himself

Making Your First Communion?

  1. For youth:

    1. Second grade or older​

    2. Enroll in Sacramental Prep Classes

    3. Be attending parish faith formation or Holy Spirit Catholic School

  2. For Adults:

    1. Be in sacramental marriage or single​

    2. Complete RCIA