3 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Being a Devout Catholic
A sacrament in the Catholic Church is a rite Catholics believe was established by Jesus Christ. The seven sacraments of the Catholic Church are its most sacred and ancient rites of worship. Receiving a sacrament brings grace to everyone who participates in the ritual.
The sacraments fall into three categories:
- Sacraments of Initiation
- Through Baptism, people enter (are initiated into) the Catholic Church.
- Through Confirmation, they’re considered personally responsible for their faith.
- Through Holy Eucharist (or Holy Communion), they express their unity with the Church — all her doctrines, laws, and practices.
The Byzantine (Eastern) Catholic Church administers all three Sacraments of Initiation at infancy. The Latin (Western) Catholic Church separates the three sacraments: Normally, infants are baptized, children receive Holy Eucharist at the age of reason (around 7 years of age), and adolescents or young adults are confirmed anywhere from 7 to 18 years old, but most Catholics are confirmed at around 14 years old.
- Sacraments of Community
- Through the sacrament of Matrimony a couple is made part of their Catholic community.
- By receiving Holy Orders, a Catholic man becomes a ministering spiritual leader to the community.
- Sacraments of Mercy
- The sacrament of Penance (or Confession), when you do it every week, gives you the opportunity to release the burden of your sins and to start healing and growing stronger in your faith.
- The Anointing of the Sick is also about spiritual healing and release from earthly concerns.
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