Sacraments - General Introduction
The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions. (CCC 1131)
Sacraments have an unmistakable importance in the worship and teaching of the Catholic community. Sacramental preparation programs cannot be content with the mere teaching about the sacrament, its history, meaning, and manner of celebration; the goal of sacramental preparation must be to invite and lead Christians into a faith-filled celebration of these important mysteries. Thus, the goal of sacramental preparation is to make “the sacraments strengthen faith and express it” (CCC 1133).
Sacraments of Initiation
“The sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – lay the foundations of every Christian life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life” (CCC 1212).
Sacraments of Healing
“The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation) and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick” (CCC 1421).
Sacraments of Service
The sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony “confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God” (CCC 1534).