The Sacraments

GOD is to be discovered and realised in and through all things.  We encounter that mystery we name ‘God’ in many ways:

–          in creation – the world about us and the women and men who inhabit it;

–          through the Holy Scriptures that witness to the way people have experienced God: how God has reached out to them and how they have responded;

–          in the Sacraments of the Church – Baptism, Eucharist, Conformation, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders.

Scripture and Sacrament are both outward expressions which, if embraced, are means of grace.

In this parish we offer various ways of encountering God through the SCRIPTURES:

–          through its recitation in the Divine Office of Morning and Evening Prayer and the Mass;

–          our Bible Study Group allows for those who want to ‘dig deeper’ to meet and discuss the Scriptures.  Information about this group can be found on our ‘Facebook’ Bible Study Group site.

The SACRAMENTS provide another means of grace:

BAPTISM is the way in which old and young become part of the Body of Christ, the Church, and find new life.  The Sacrament is one of three that create an indelible mark called a sacramental character on the recipient’s soul (the other two are Holy Orders and Confirmation).  It is for this reason that the Sacrament cannot be repeated at a later stage in life.  For those who were baptised as babies and wish to affirm their Christian commitment the Church offers a wonderful service of re-affirmation of Baptismal Vows.

EUCHARIST – or MASS celebrates week by week and day by day that sacred meal instituted by Christ and rooted in the great Jewish Passover;

CONFIRMATION allows adults to affirm their incorporation into Christ and, as the bishop anoints them with the Oil of Chrism, that affirmation is empowered by the Holy Spirit.  In this parish we prepare candidates who are over 13 years of age.  From the age of 7 we offer a First Communion Course each year.  First Communion Sunday is normally celebrated after Easter.

CONFESSION – or the SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION provides a way in which we can be open before God, in the presence of a priest (who cannot reveal to anyone what has been said within the context of the Sacrament).  We can lay bare our hearts knowing that, as we admit our sins to another, promise to amend our lives and ask forgiveness, we will be granted what we seek.  In confessing our sins and seeking reconciliation we are facing up to who and what we are, not hiding those aspects of ourselves that we may have buried (with all the consequences), and move towards the freedom of living with greater integrity.

ANOINTING OF THE SICK is means whereby the Church proclaims that God wants our healing and wholeness.  Using the Holy Oil consecrated by the bishop at the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday.  It compliments (but does not replace) other means of healing and is rooted in the injunction in the Letter of S. James in the New Testament: “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” ( Ch. 5:14)

HOLY MATRIMONY whereby two people vow to commit themselves to each other for the whole of their earthly life.  This Sacrament is presided over by a priest but enacted by the couple.  Such a commitment parallels the way in which Christ became at one with humanity and changes those who seek to live out this Sacrament in their daily lives.

HOLY ORDERS refers to the three orders of bishop, priest and deacon, or the sacrament or rite by which candidates are ordained to those orders.

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