Sacraments and Funerals
The Seven Sacraments that we as Catholics are familiar with are rooted in the life of Christ and in the tradition of the early Church. The sacraments are moments of encounter between God and human beings. They make Christ’s presence real in the world in a very particular way at a particular time and are often connected with life’s important moments or transitions such as birth or death.
In Our Parish we put great emphasis on preparation for the sacraments. This stress on preparation is to enable people to come to the sacraments with understanding and with open hearts, so that their encounter with Jesus Christ will be all the more powerful. The Seven Sacraments that we as Catholics are familiar with are rooted in the life of Christ and the tradition of the early Church. When we look at the life and ministry of Jesus, we see that:
He brought people to new life,
He forgave people’s sins,
He sacrificed himself out of love,
He shared the power of his spirit with others,
He healed people’s illnesses,
He was faithful to the One he called Abba,
He ministered to people’s spiritual needs
Often it is easy to get caught up in the social aspect that surrounds the celebration of some of the sacraments. Clothes, hairstyles, parties etc can become very important and the deeper, spiritual meaning of the sacrament can be lost sight of.
Essentially, Jesus Christ himself acts in the sacraments, offering new life (Baptism) forgiving sins (Reconciliation) giving his own body and blood (Eucharist) healing (Sacrament of the Sick) uniting (Marriage) consecrating (Confirmation and Holy Orders).
But sacraments are not magic.
While they are gifts given by God, they need a response from those who receive them. Even this word “receive” implies some form of activity on the part of the individual. So those receiving or celebrating a sacrament need to be prepared; they need to understand what the sacrament is about. Their hearts need to be open and receptive to God’s gift. Likewise, the sacraments need to be celebrated in a meaningful way rather than in a way where people just go through the motions.
For this reason, we in the parish put great emphasis on preparation for the sacraments. There are preparation meetings for parents asking to have a child baptised; there is a programme for parents and children to help prepare for First Penance and First Communion; young people and their parents prepare for Confirmation as do couples getting married.