As well as Baptism,  Marriage and Funerals there are four other Sacraments: Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick. These are briefly explained below.

Eucharist

Then he took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Lk 22:19-20)

The Church service that Catholics are obliged to go to on Sunday, and often attend during the week as well, is called the mass. The mass is founded on two events of Jesus’ life; the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.

When we attend mass we show ourselves to be obedient to Jesus’ command to do this in remembrance of me and during the mass, in accordance with the actual words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper, the bread and wine that we offer becomes the body and blood of Christ. And during mass the sacrifice offered by Christ on the cross of Calvary is made present. This is what Jesus is referring to when he speaks of his body being given for you.

Reconciliation (also known as Confession)

“God the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church may God grant 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.”

These words of forgiveness are available to us today. All we need to do is to confess our state and ask for God’s forgiveness. Catholics do this in a special way through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through the ministry of the priest we confess our sins to the person of Jesus Christ; and through that same ministry we hear from Jesus Christ himself words of forgiveness.

Saying sorry is never easy; or should never be easy. The struggle that we have in saying the S word is in itself a mark and demonstration of our true repentance and genuine contrition. Saying sorry should never be easy; and the Sacrament of Reconciliation helps us to keep it real.

Confirmation

Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they where sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched every person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. (Acts 2:2-4)

After Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven he sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. The above passage from Acts tells of this event. We celebrate this event on the feast of Pentecost and we ourselves receive the Holy Spirit during the sacrament of Confirmation.

Confirmation brings about an increase and deepening of Baptismal grace. It roots us more deeply as a child of God as we cry out ‘Abba!’ Father! It unites us more firmly to Christ. And it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us. In Confirmation we receive a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ.

Like Baptism, Confirmation is a one-off. If you have not been Confirmed, or if your children do not go to a Catholic School, receiving this Sacrament is something you should think seriously about. Just contact the Parish Office or speak to a priest.

Holy Orders

After passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.”(Mk 1:16)

A priest is somebody who acts on behalf of the people in relation to God. A priest, as it were, stands between us and God. In confession when the priest speaks the words of absolution it is Christ himself who forgives us. When, during Mass, the priest says the words that Jesus said at the Last Supper he acts in the person of Christ. When the priest holds the host (the bread wafer) aloft at the consecration (the moment during the mass when the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ) the priest does not say “this is Jesus’ body” he says “this is my body”.

The priesthood, like Marriage, is a vocational sacrament. A vocation is something that we are called to. Through our vocation we live out our Christian calling in a particular way.

It is through the Sacrament of Holy Orders that people are Ordained by the Church and become Deacons, Priests and Bishops.

Anointing Of The Sick

If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him.  (James 5:14)

The Anointing of the Sick, together with Reconciliation are sacraments of healing. If a Catholic you know becomes seriously ill, or is about to have a serious operation, you should let the parish priest or Hospital Chaplain know so that they can bring the person the Eucharist and anoint them with the oil of the sick.