God Distributes His Gifts
Jesus promised he would not leave us
orphans (Jn 14:18) but would send the Holy Spirit to guide and
protect us (Jn 15:26). He gave the sacraments to heal, feed, and
strengthen us. The seven sacraments are not just symbols. They
are signs that actually convey God’s grace and love.
These are the seven
(also called Penance or Confession)
Anointing of the Sick
The sacraments were foreshadowed
in the Hebrew Scripture by things that did not actually convey
grace but merely symbolized it (circumcision, for example,
prefigured baptism, and the Passover meal prefigured the
Eucharist). When Christ came, he did not do away with symbols of
God’s grace. He super-naturalized them, energizing them with
grace. He made them more than symbols. God constantly uses
material things to show his love and power. After all, matter is
not evil. When he created the physical universe, everything God
created was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). He takes such delight in
matter that he even dignified it through his own Incarnation (Jn
During his earthly ministry Jesus
healed, fed, and strengthened people through humble elements
such as mud, water, bread, oil, and wine. He could have
performed his miracles directly, but he preferred to use
material things to bestow his grace. In his first public miracle
Jesus turned water into wine, at the request of his mother, Mary
(Jn 2:1 – 11). He healed a blind man by rubbing mud on his eyes
(Jn 9:1 – 7). He multiplied a few loaves and fish into a meal
for thousands (Jn 6:5 – 13). He changed bread and wine into his
own body and blood (Mt. 26:26 – 28). Through the sacraments he
continues to heal, feed, and strengthen us.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1213-1284)
Because of original sin, we are born without grace in our souls,
so there is no way for us to have fellowship with God. Jesus
became man to bring us into union with his Father. He said no
one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is first born of
"water and the Spirit" (Jn 3:5) – this refers to baptism.
Through baptism we
are born again, but this time on a spiritual level instead of a
physical level. We are washed in the bath of rebirth (Titus
3:5). We are baptized into Christ’s death and therefore share in
his Resurrection (Rom 6:3-7). Baptism cleanses us of sins and
brings the Holy Spirit and his grace into our souls (Acts 2:38,
Baptism is the
gateway into the Church, welcoming members into the Christian
Celebrated on the last Sunday of each month, at 1:oo p.m..
Preparation classes are required prior to Baptism.
Sometimes on our journey toward the heavenly Promised Land we
stumble and fall into sin. God is always ready to lift us up and
to restore us to grace-filled fellowship with him. He does this
through the sacrament of
reconciliation (which is
also known as confession or
penance, each term emphasizing a different element of the
Jesus gave his apostles power and
authority to reconcile us to the Father. They received Jesus’
own power to forgive sins when he breathed on them and said,
"Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven
them, and whose sins you retain are retained" (Jn 20:22-23).
Paul notes that "all this is from
God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given
us the ministry of reconciliation.... We are ambassadors for
Christ, as if God were appealing through us" (2Cor 5:18-20).
Through confession to a priest, God’s minister, we have our sins
forgiven, and we receive grace to help us resist future
awesome forgiveness! Individual confessions may be made on
Saturdays at IHM, from 3:00 p.m. to
3:45 p.m. or by appointment with
(CCC 1322-1419 )
Once we become members of Christ’s family, he does not let us go
hungry, but feeds us with his own body and blood through the
Eucharist. In the Hebrew Scripture, as they prepared for their
journey in the wilderness, God commanded his people to sacrifice
a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their door posts, so the Angel
of Death would pass by their homes Then they ate the lamb to
seal their covenant with God.
This lamb prefigured Jesus. He is
the real "Lamb of God," who takes away the sins of the world (Jn
1:29). Through Jesus we enter into a New Covenant with God (Lk
22:20), who protects us from eternal death. God’s chosen people
ate the Passover lamb. Now we must eat the Lamb that is the
Eucharist. Jesus said, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my
blood you have no life within you" (Jn 6:53). At the Last Supper
he took bread and wine and said, "Take and eat. This is my
body... This is my blood which will be shed for you" (Mk
14:22-24). In this way Jesus instituted the sacrament of the
Eucharist, the sacrificial meal Catholics consume at each Mass.
The Catholic Church teaches that
the sacrifice of Christ on the cross occurred "once for all"; it
cannot be repeated (Heb 9:28). Christ does not "die again"
during Mass, but the very same sacrifice that occurred on
Calvary is made present on the altar. That is why the Mass is
not "another" sacrifice, but a participation in the same,
once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Paul reminds us that the bread
and the wine really become, by a miracle of God’s grace, the
actual body and blood of Jesus: "Anyone who eats and drinks
without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks
judgment on himself’ (1Cor 11:27-29). After the consecration of
the bread and wine, no bread or wine remains on the altar. Only
Jesus himself, under the appearance of bread and wine, remains.
First Communion is
celebrated by our young people so that they may celebrate the
Eucharist on a regular Sunday basis. Classes are held during the
school year. Guidelines from the Diocese mandate two consecutive
years of programming prior to Sacrament celebrations.
God strengthens our souls in another way, through the sacrament
of confirmation. Even though Jesus’ disciples received grace
before his Resurrection, on Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to
strengthen them with new graces for the difficult work ahead.
Then they went out and preached the gospel fearlessly and
carried out the mission Christ had given them. Later, they laid
hands on others to strengthen them as well (Acts 8:14-17).
Through confirmation you too are strengthened to meet the
spiritual challenges in your life.
Confirmation is an
important Sacrament for the young person and their full
commitment (along with their parents) is required! Classes are
held during the school year. Service hours are also required.
Guidelines from the Diocese mandate two consecutive years of
programming prior to Sacrament celebrations.
Most people are called to the married life rather than to the
religious life or to life as a single person. Through the
sacrament of matrimony God gives special graces to help married
couples with life’s difficulties, especially to help them raise
their children as loving followers of Christ.
Marriage always involves three
parties: the bride, the groom, and God. When two Christians
receive the sacrament of matrimony, God is with them, witnessing
and blessing their marriage covenant. For Catholics, God does
this through the priest or deacon who presides at the wedding as
the Church’s witness.
A sacramental marriage is
permanent; only death can break it (Mk 10:1-12; Rom 7:2-3; 1Cor
7:10-11). This holy union is a living symbol of the unbreakable
relationship between Christ and his Church (Eph 5:21-33). It is
celebrating faithfulness and fidelity with God at the center of
a couple's marriage!
All arrangements must be made
with the church at least one year before the
wedding date. Classes and attendance at the Marriage Prep course
is required before celebration of the Sacrament.
(CCC 1536- 1600)
Others are called to share specially in Christ’s priesthood. In
the Old Covenant, even though Israel was a kingdom of priests
(Ex 19:6), the Lord called certain men to a special priestly
ministry (Ex 19:22). In the New Covenant, even though Christians
are a kingdom of priests (1Pet 2:9), Jesus calls certain men to
a special priestly ministry (Rom 15:15-16). This sacrament is
called holy orders. Through it, priests are ordained and thus
empowered to serve the Church (2Tim 1:6-7) as pastors, teachers,
and spiritual fathers who heal, feed, and strengthen God’s
people – most importantly through preaching and the
administration of the sacraments.
of the Sick (CCC 1499-1532)
Priests care for us when we are physically ill. They do this
through the sacrament known as the anointing of the sick. The
Bible instructs us, "Is anyone among you suffering? He should
pray.... Is any one among you sick? He should summon the
presbyters [priests] of the Church, and they should pray over
him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the
prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will
raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven"
Anointing of the
sick not only helps us endure illness, but it cleanses our souls
and helps us prepare to meet God. The healing presence of God
... is available upon request. If you are seriously ill or are
preparing to enter the hospital for surgery, please call the
parish office and make arrangements to celebrate the Sacrament
of the Sick.
Participation at our liturgies is
ARTICLE 14 OF THE CONSTITUTION ON THE LITURGY STATES: “The
Church earnestly desires that ALL the faithful be led to that
full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical
celebrations called for by the nature of the liturgy.” Full
participation calls for each member of the community to take
their proper role of listening, praying, singing, processing,
using proper and uniform gestures and postures at the liturgical