The whole liturgical life of the Catholic Church revolves around the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.
The sacraments are communal celebrations of the Church, grace-giving encounters with Christ that articulate what God is doing in our lives now. Through symbols and rituals, they are signs of God’s saving actions in Jesus, offering us a way to express and deal with realities that are almost inexpressible – divine and human realities such as love and life and death and hope and sorrow and joy. So powerful are they that they actually effect here and now the very thing they are celebrating.
Sacraments mark the peak moments of our lives. They celebrate the grace of God that calls us to conversion and membership in the Church and gifts us with the Holy Spirit, that offers us reconciliation and healing, that calls some to leadership in the church community and others to the vocation of Christian marriage, and invites us into the mystery of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection.
In Christ, God became visible and tangible. In the Church, Christ, and hence God, remains visible and tangible among us. And the Church in turn becomes visible and tangible in the seven signs. They are Christ’s hands which now touch us and Christ’s words which now ring in our ears.
Although it is not a sacrament, the Rite of Christian Funerals will be addressed in this section.
Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist
Sacraments of Healing: Penance and Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
Sacraments at the Service of Communion: Matrimony and Holy Orders
Called to Faith: Diocesan Guidelines for Sacramental Preparation of Initiation and First Penance
Called to Faith Addendum: RCIA and Respecting the Dignity of the Baptized