The word sacrament comes from the Latin word sacramentum which means "a sign of the sacred." The seven Catholic Sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence.
We recognize that the Sacraments have a visible and invisible reality, a reality open to all the human senses but grasped in its God-given depths with the eyes of faith. When parents hug their children, for example, the visible reality we see is the hug. The invisible reality the hug conveys is love. We cannot "see" the love the hug expresses, though sometimes we can see its nurturing effect in the child.
The visible reality we see in the Sacraments is their outward expression, the form they take, and the way in which they are administered and received. The invisible reality we cannot "see" is God's grace, his gracious initiative in redeeming us through the death and Resurrection of his Son. His initiative is called grace because it is the free and loving gift by which he offers people a share in his life, and shows us his favor and will for our salvation. Our response to the grace of God's initiative is itself a grace or gift from God by which we can imitate Christ in our daily lives.
The saving words and deeds of Jesus Christ are the foundation of what he would communicate in the Sacraments through the ministers of the Church. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church recognizes the existence of Seven Sacraments instituted by the Lord. They are the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist), the Sacraments of Healing (Penance and the Anointing of the Sick), and the Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Marriage and Holy Orders). Through the Sacraments, God shares his holiness with us so that we, in turn, can make the world holier.
Sacrament Preparation is a wonderful and special time in the lives of the faithful. The community of St Francis Xavier is pleased and blessed to help and guide individuals and families through the process. We help the community to encounter the Lord in the work of the Holy Spirit through its ministers. It is the grace of the Holy Spirit that awakens our faith, converts our hearts, and leads us to adhere to the Father’s Will. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that we must be “well disposed” to receive the Lord’s grace in His sacraments. These dispositions are the preconditions both for the reception of other graces conferred in the celebration itself and the fruits of new life which the celebration is intended to produce afterward. (CCC, 1098)
NOTE: Children must:
- Attend one year of faith formation (PSR or a Catholic school) immediately prior to the year of preparation with good attendance (at least 70%).
- Be enrolled in PSR or attend a Catholic school the year of preparation.
- Be enrolled in Sacrament Preparation for the sacrament(s) they need to receive. This requires an additional form when registering for PSR. Parents are required to attend meetings specific to the sacrament(s).
For all questions regarding the celebration of sacraments, contact your priests or deacons. The Church Office phone is 265-3249.