Sacraments are visible signs of invisible grace, instituted by Jesus, by the Church. 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. If you learn more about the sacraments, you can celebrate them more fully. The 7 Sacraments are:
Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick
Baptism is a true sacrament instituted by Christ. It is administered by washing with natural water and at the same time invoking the Most Holy Trinity. Baptism is necessary for salvation and it erases our original sin. It confers sanctifying grace, membership in Christ and in the Church, and the obligation to obey the Church's laws, and give an indelible character.
he Holy Eucharist is a true sacrament, instituted by Christ. Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, It is therefore to be honored and adored. For the wheat bread and grape wine are transubstantiated by the ordained priest into the flesh and blood of Christ so that only the appearance of bread and wine remains. The sacrament affects union with Christ; it is nourishment for the soul, gives increase in grace and remits venial sin and punishment. In our Church, CCD students receive their First Holy Communion in third grade and it is a joyful and sacred event in the child’s life.
The Church has the power to forgive all sins. This forgiveness of sins is a true sacrament instituted by Christ. Sins are forgiven only by the sacrament of penance. Sins are forgiven by absolution which can only be given by an authorized priest. Confession must cover all mortal sins committed since baptism and not previously confessed. Venial sins, sins already confessed can validly be confessed. The effect of the sacrament is reconciliation with God and remission of sins.
Confirmation is a true sacrament instituted by Christ It is administered by the laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer. The chrism is blessed by the bishop, who administers the sacrament. The effect of the sacrament of confirmation is to give strength in faith, confess the faith, and impress an indelible character. Through the sacrament of Confirmation, confirmands receive the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Marriage is willed by God and was raised to a sacrament by Christ. The sacrament of matrimony consists of the marriage contract so that for Christians the contract and the sacrament are inseparable. The purpose of marriage is the increase of the people of God and mutual help for the partners in loyalty and love. The sacrament gives married people a claim on the graces necessary to their state. It is a lasting commitment of a man and a woman to a lifelong partnership, established for the good of each other and the procreation of their children.
Holy Orders is a true sacrament instituted by Christ who ordained the Apostles at the Last Supper. It is administered by the laying on of hands and the key phrases of the ordination preface. The celebration of Holy Mass and the power of forgiving sins belong to the priesthood. It is the sacrament by which men are ordained as priests or deacons. The sacrament is carried out by a bishop, who must lay his hands on the candidate.
Anointing of the Sick or 'Extreme Unction' is a true sacrament instituted by Christ and proclaimed by St. James. It is administered by anointing with blessed oil accompanied by prayer. Only a priest can validly administer it. It can be received by any baptized person who has reached the age of reason or is on account of sickness or age in danger of death. Its effect is the strengthening of the soul, often of the body as well, and in the necessary conditions, the remission of sins.