"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."
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1131
There are seven sacraments; Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion), Penance (Confession), Anointing the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony.
Within these seven sacraments there are three of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion) because the rest of our life as a Christian depends on them.
These three are important for the completion of baptismal grace.
There are two of healing (Confession and the Anointing of the Sick).
The remaining two (Marriage and Holy Orders) are for the mission in building up the church.
Baptism is the first and basic sacrament of Christian initiation.
Baptism makes the person/child share in the life of God, which is why they are baptised in the name of “the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. The baptism also makes the person a sharer in the priest hood of Christ (“a priest, a prophet and a king/queen”). This first sacrament frees the person from original sin and from all personal sins and any punishment that is due to them. Baptism gives the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual seal that indicates their permanent belonging to Christ. Symbols of baptism include a white garment, which symbolizes innocence and purity, a candle, which symbolizes the Light of Christ and the Oil of Chrism, which is used to anoint and finally the water, which symbolises cleansing and the washing away of sin.
Confirming and strengthening you baptismal vows. To receive the sacrament of Confirmation you are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit
Holy Eucharist/Holy Communion
This completes sacraments of initiation. This sacrament is the source of great graces that sanctify us and help us grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Catholics partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Christ, at the Last Supper, the night before He died Christ consecrated bread and wine and these were changed into the substance of His body. Christ gave His priest the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when he said to his Apostles “do this in memory of me”.
For a baptised person, this is the sacrament of spiritual healing from sins committed. Reconciliation is in 4 parts.
1) Contrition – the remorse for the wrongdoing/sin and their repentance;
2) Confession to a Priest*;
3) Absolution by the Priest*;
4) Act of Penance.
In reconciling us to God, it is a great source of grace, and Catholics are encouraged to take advantage of it often, even if they are not aware of having committed a mortal sin.
Anointing of the Sick/Extreme Unction/Last Rites
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is administered both to the dying and to those who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation. For those who are to undergo an operation, it is given for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength. For those who are dying, it is given for their upcoming journey.
This is the continuation of Christ's priesthood, which He bestowed upon His Apostles. There are three levels to this sacrament. A man can be made a bishop (the episcopate), a priest (the priesthood), or a Deacon (diaconate). The Ordination to a Bishop fulfils this sacrament, making the Bishop one of the successors to the Apostles. It gives him the mission to teach, sanctify and guide, along with the care of all the Churches. Ordination to a Priest allows the individual, as the bishop’s assistants, to celebrate the sacraments and other liturgical acts. Ordination as a deacon places him at the service of the bishop.
Marriage is a reflection of the love uniting Jesus Christ and the Church, establishing itself between spouses a permanent and exclusive bond, sealed by God. It is a lifelong union between a man and a woman for procreation and mutual support, is a natural institution, but it is also one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. A marriage between baptised people that has been consummated cannot be dissolved. This sacrament gives them the grace they need for keeping God in their married life and the acceptance for the upbringing of their children. Marriage is given in the presence of the Priest* and at least two other witnesses.
The Baptismal policy of St Thomas the Apostle
Baptism of infants (children under the age of 5 years old) is offered to Catholic parents living within the boundaries of the Parish (exceptions are made for people who attend this Parish but may live outside the Parish boundaries). At least one parent must be a Confirmed Catholic (Confirmation Certificate required) and be an active member of this Parish for at least six months. A Baptismal course must be attended and the proper documents filled in before the date of the Baptism. The Baptism Policy of this Parish is in accordance with the code of Cannon law and the guidelines of the Archbishop.
In order to be married within the church, please ensure that you notify the priest six months prior to the date of your wedding date. Also, all couples will be required to take part in a Marriage Preparation Programme. For further information, please see either of the priests for details.