• The Sacraments

    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. The purpose of the sacraments is to make people holy, to build up the body of Christ, and finally, to give worship to God; but being signs, they also have a teaching function. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and object, they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called "sacraments of faith." The sacraments impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of celebrating them disposes the faithful most effectively to receive this grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God rightly, and to practice charity. They draw us closer to Christ and closer to each other. In the sacraments we believe Christ is present with us. His Holy Spirit is poured into our lives. They are a visible confirmation that Christ is present in our lives and that he loves us. When he ascended into heaven he sent us the Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us - and we receive his grace through the sacraments. If you learn more about the sacraments, you can celebrate them more fully. To learn more about the individual sacraments, please follow the links below.

  •  
  • Baptism

    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me….” (Mt 19:14) and God the Father said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you….” (Jer. 1:5) This is how important children are to God and as a parish we do everything we can to help and support parents in having their children baptised. If you would like to arrange for a baptism please contact Fr George after Mass at any of our churches. (See Mass times here) He will need to know the child’s name and date of birth. He will also need the names of the parents or guardians, the home address and contact telephone number. You will be invited to attend a Baptism Preparation Meeting which are normally held immediately after Mass. At the meeting you will be given practical advice about the Baptismal Service. Any questions you may have will be addressed and a date will be arranged. You will then complete a booking form and nominate godparents. It is important that at least one godparent is a practising Catholic who will be able to help your child and you in the coming years. We request that you do not nominate those who have no faith in God as godparents. This is out of respect for their position and also to ensure the integrity of the Baptismal Service. As family or good friends there will be many other ways they will be able to support you and your child in the years ahead.

  •  
  • Confirmation

    Catholics believe that the soul also needs to grow in the life of grace just as minds and bodies grow. Traditionally the sacrament of Confirmation was carried out immediately after baptism. In modern tims, however, it normally is conferred last and builds on the sacraments of Baptism, Penance, and Holy Communion, completing the process of initiation into the Catholic community. Once Confirmed young adults become full-fledged members of the faith. This sacrament is called Confirmation because the faith given in Baptism is now confirmed and made strong. When we are Baptised as children, our parents and godparents make promises to renounce Satan and believe in God and the Church on your behalf. At Confirmation, you speak on your own behalf and renew those promises. The focus during Confirmation is on the Holy Spirit, who confirmed the apostles on Pentecost and gave them courage to practice their faith. Catholics believe that during the Sacrament of Confirmation the same Holy Spirit confirms them and gives them the same gifts. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are enumerated in Isaiah 11:2-3. They are present in their fullness in Jesus Christ but are found in all Christians who are in a state of grace. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude (courage), knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts are supernatural graces given to the soul. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, "They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them.” Infused with His gifts, we respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as if by instinct, the way Christ Himself would.

    We hold classes for Confirmation candidates every two years during which young people can learn about these things and ask questions about the Faith. The Bishop is the Ordinary Minister of Confirmation. Part of the process is to explain exactly what happens during the Mass of Confirmation.

  •  
  • Eucharist

    First Communion is considered one of the holiest and most important occasions in a Roman Catholic person's life. It is the first time that a person receives the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which is the eating of consecrated bread and drinking of consecrated wine. Catholics believe these to be the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Most Catholic children receive their First Communion when they're 7 or 8 years old, because this is considered the age of reason. Other people can receive Communion for the first time whenever they've met all of the Catholic Church's requirements.

  •  
  • Reconciliation

    Modern society has lost a sense of sin. As Catholic followers of Christ, we must make an effort to recognise our sin in our daily actions, words and omissions. The Gospels show how important is the forgiveness of our sins. The lives of saints prove that the person who grows in holiness has a stronger sense of sin, sorrow for sins, and a need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. Jesus gave us this precious gift so that we can reconcile ourselves with God when we have fallen short in our behaviour. It is the ordinary way for us to have our sins forgiven. This sacrament is a powerful help to get rid of our weaknesses, grow in holiness, and lead a balanced and virtuous life. The sacrament is available on request and before each of our Masses.

  •  
  • Anointing

    Although the sacrament began as a ritual of healing, over time the emphasis shifted to the forgiveness of sins on the deathbed, when such forgiveness would be the final preparation for heaven. The Second Vatican Council returned the original meaning to the sacrament by emphasizing that it is not only for those who are at the point of death but for anyone who is seriously ill, including mental or spiritual illness.

    Today we are all aware that tensions, fear and anxiety about the future affect not only our mind but our body as well. These illnesses can be serious. They can move us to ask for the healing touch of Christ in the Sacrament of Anointing. Persons with the disease of alcoholism or persons suffering from other addictions can be anointed. So can those who suffer from various mental disorders. The anxiety before exploratory surgery to determine if cancer is present is a situation in which Christ's power can be invoked in the sacrament. In these cases the person does not have to wait until the illness is so grave that he or she is in the hospital or institutionalized to celebrate the sacrament. Sacraments, after all, are community celebrations. It is preferable to celebrate them in the context of family and parish even before going to the hospital. The sick person has a better opportunity to appreciate the prayers and symbols of the rite when in her or his customary worshiping community.

  •  
  • Marriage

    Within our Christian vision of marriage, here's what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, "I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that.” Marriage is not just a private thing between two people. As Catholics we believe marriage is what couples were made for. We stand before God, our family and our friends to make a public statement that we are committing ourselves to each other for a lifetime of love. Love of each other, love of those we care most about and love of God.   Getting married is a huge, even a daunting, step. We are here to help couples prepare carefully, both spiritually and in the organisation of the wedding ceremony.

  •  
  • Holy Orders

    Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate. If you are a young, or not so young, single man who feels he might be called to the priesthood please contact Fr. George for an informal discussion. How can you tell if you are called to the priesthood? You only have to join a gathering of priests anywhere, or visit a seminary, to realise that there is no such thing as one single ‘priestly type’. Priests are people as varied as any other group, widely different in interests, temperament and background. This is one of the riches of the priesthood. No priest can in practice be all things to all people: but together they do much better! So do not worry if you are not very much like some other priests you know. You may think you are an unlikely person to be a priest, but so do most priests! The apostles themselves were a motley bunch. What mattered was that Jesus chose them, and they said ‘Yes’.

    If you are a young, or not so young, single man who feels he might be called to the priesthood please contact Fr. George for an informal discussion.

    If you are a single or married man who feels he might be called to the diaconate please contact Deacon Bill for an informal discussion.