Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives acess to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word." (Catechism of Catholic Church #1213).
This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) which means to "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1214).
"This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding...Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself:
Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift...We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is even given to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates lights; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1216).
- Baptisms are celebrated every 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month immediately following the Noon Mass.
- You are kindly asked to call the Parish House to make arrangements.
- The Godparents may be ONE male and ONE female (2 Godparents) OR One Godparent.
- Godparents must ascertain a Letter of Eligibility from their "present" parish and submit each letter (2) to the Parish office 10 days before the scheduled Baptism.
Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the "character," which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness. - Catechism of the Catholic Church #1304
This "character" perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and "the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi ex officio)." - Catechism of the Catholic Church #1305
"As Primary educators of their children, parents, along with sponsors, are to be intimately involved in Catechesis for Confirmation." - National Catechetical Directory
Our sacramental program includes Confirmation catechesis of both parents and candidates. Catechesis for the Candidates is a three-year program beginning in the 5th level and concluding in the spring of their 7th level of Religious Education.
The Most Holy Eucharist
The Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life." "The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself, our Pasch." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1324).
"The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through Him to the Father in the Holy Spirit." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1325).
Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1326).
*First Holy Communion is held in late April/Early May of the Second Grade Year in the PREP Program.
Penance and Reconciliation
"Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against Him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1422).
It is called the Sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: "Be reconciled to God." He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: "Go; first be reconciled to your brother." (#1442)
The Sacrament of First Penance and Reconciliation is celebrated each year in our parish church. The Church recommends that this sacrament be celebrated for the first time during the Season of Lent; the Season of Penance and Conversion.
The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is offered every Saturday morning at Saint Mary Church from 9:30AM until 10:00AM and again at 2:45PM until 3:45PM. However, this sacrament of God's mercy is available at anytime upon request.
*Reconciliation is held in February of the second grade year in the PREP program.
Anointing of the Sick
The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick:
This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord. Council of Trent (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1511)
From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointings of the sick with blessed oil. Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred it received the name "Extreme Unction." Notwithstanding this evolution the liturgy has never failed to beg the Lord that the sick person may recover his health if it would be conducive to his salvation. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1512) Council of Trent
The Apostolic Constitution Sacram unctionem infirmorum, followed upon the Second Vatican Council, established that henceforth, in the Roman Rite, the following be observed:
The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil - pressed from olives or other plants - saying, only once: "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1513)
Saint Mary Parish offers a communal celebration of the Anointing of the Sick within Mass each year during the month of October. October is Respect Life month.
Any Catholic, who is advanced in age, seriously ill, preparing for surgery or is ill in body, mind or soul may receive the Sacrament of the Sick. It is understood that persons under the age of reason or have not celebrated their First Holy Communion should not approach this sacrament when they are seriously ill but rather receive the Sacrament of First Eucharist - The Sacrament of Healing par excellence.
The Sacrament of Matrimony
"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament." CIC, canon 1055 #1; cf. Gaudium et Spes 48 #1
Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh." CCC #1605
The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant. CCC #1617
The Sacrament of Matrimony may be celebrated within the context of Holy Mass (The Nuptial Mass) or The Liturgy of the Word (The Nuptial Ceremony). For more information, please call the Parish House.
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: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: espiscopate, presbyterate, and diaconate. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1536)
St. Paul said to his disciple Timothy: "I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of hands" (2 Tim 1:6), and "if any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task." (1 Tim 3:1) To Titus he said: "This is why I left you in Crete, that you amend what was defective, and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you" (Titus 1:5). CCC #1590
The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the "common priesthood of the faithful." Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community. CCC #1591
The ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the common priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power for the service of the faithful. The ordained ministers exercise their service for the People of God by teaching (munus docendi), divine worship (munus liturgicum) and pastoral governance (munus regendi). CCC #1592
Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bishop, that of presbyters, and that of deacons. The ministries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church: without the bishop, presbyters, and deacons, one cannot speak of the Church (cf. St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3,1). CCC #1593
The bishop receives the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which integrates him into the episcopal college and makes him the visible head of the particular Church entrusted to him. As successors of the apostles and members of the college, the bishops share in the apostolic responsibility and mission of the whole Church under the authority of the Pope, successor of St. Peter. CCC #1594
Priests are untied with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity and at the same time depend on them in the exercise of their pastoral functions; they are called to be the bishops' prudent co-workers. They form around their bishop the presbyterium which bears responsibility with him for the particular Church. They receive from the bishop the charge of a parish community or a determined ecclesial office. CCC #1595
Deacons are ministers ordained for the tasks of service of the Church; they do not receive the ministerial priesthood, but ordination confers on them important functions in the ministry of the word, divine worship, pastoral governance, and the service of charity, tasks which they must carry out under the pastoral authority of their bishop. CCC #1596
The sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred by the laying on of hands followed by a solemn prayer of consecration asking God to grant the ordinand the graces of the Holy Spirit required for his ministry. Ordination imprints an indelible sacramental character. CCC #1597
The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. CCC #1598
In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying celibate for the love of God's kingdom and the service of men. CCC #1599
It is bishops who confer the sacrament of Holy orders in the three degrees. CCC #1600
Any man who feels called by God to serve him as a deacon is kindly asked to call the Director of the Office of Permanent Deacons at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary at 610-664-2213
Any man who feels called by God to serve him as a priest is kindly asked to call the Director of the Office of Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary at 610-667-5778. Please check out their website: www.HeedTheCall.org