The Holy Sacraments
The Latin word sacramentum means "a sign of the sacred." The seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. That's what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God's grace.
Please see below for a summary of each Sacrament:
The Sacrament of Baptism:
The Sacrament of Baptism, the first of the three sacraments of initiation, is also the first of the seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. It removes the guilt and effects of Original Sin and incorporates the baptized into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ on earth.
The Sacrament of Confirmation:
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the second of the three sacraments of initiation because, historically, it was administered immediately after the Sacrament of Baptism. Confirmation perfects our baptism and brings us the graces of the Holy Spirit that were granted to the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion:
While Catholics in the West today normally make their First Communion before they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the reception of Christ’s Body and Blood, was historically the third of the three sacraments of initiation. This sacrament is the source of great graces that sanctify us and help us grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ.
The Sacrament of Confession:
The Sacrament of Confession is one of the least understood, and least utilized, sacraments in the Catholic Church. 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.
The Sacrament of Marriage:
Marriage, 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. It reflects the union of Jesus Christ and His Church.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders:
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the continuation of Christ’s priesthood, which He bestowed upon His Apostles. There are three levels to this sacrament: the episcopate, the priesthood, and the diaconate.
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick:
Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rights, 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 the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength.