The 7 Catholic Sacraments

A sacrament is an outward sign of an invisible spiritual reality. Because humans are a unity of a physical body and a spiritual soul, God uses the means of physical objects and rituals to convey spiritual truths that we cannot detect using our senses.

This outward sign functions as a channel through which God imparts sanctifying grace into the soul. The sacraments are seven in number and have their source in the saving work of Jesus in his passion, death, and resurrection, and were established by Him for the sanctification of every member of His Church.

Baptism

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Eucharist

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Confirmation

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Reconciliation

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Anointing of the Sick

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Marriage

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Holy Orders

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What is a Sacrament?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us" (#1131).



This is a complex definition, so let's break it down.

  • The word efficacious means "effective." This means that according to Catholic teachings, sacraments do what they say they do. Because of God's power, they simply work, Catholics believe.
  • A sign is an object, word, or gesture that points to something beyond itself. According to Catholic teaching, sacraments use all kinds of human objects, words, and gestures, but all of these point beyond themselves to something greater, to God and His grace.
  • Catholics define grace as God's free gift of His presence, His help, and His salvation.

Catholics believe, then, that sacraments point to and are channels of God's grace. They work as an effective means of communication between God and His people.

Next Steps…

If you would like to learn more about how to receive the sacraments, please contact us and we will guide you through it.