What is it? In this Rite of Initiation, the recipient
(usually an infant) is received into the Church and is
officially given a name. This Sacrament, required only
once, cleanses the person of Original Sin passed down from Eve
at birth (and all other personal sins if they are receiving this
older). Here begins a person's faith journey.
happens? The presider pours water over the person's head in the
name of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Parents and Godparents profess the Creed of the faith on the
infant's behalf and attest they will raise the child in the
teaching's of the Church.
Cool factoids. Anyone can
technically perform Baptism so long as water is poured
(the water has to flow over the skin in a symbolic "washing")
and the recipient is claimed in the name of the Trinity.
Because of this, those converting to Catholicism baptized in
another denomination using this formula need not go through it
What is it? Here the person "confirms" the faith into
which they were baptized. The recipient expresses their
desire to continue as an adult Catholic, taking
full responsibility of the mission charged to their parents and
Godparents at Baptism. The recipient also chooses a
Saint's name to provide a model of Christian living.
happens? The Bishop or Archbishop anoints the recipient on the
head with chrism, "sealing" them with the gift of the Holy
Spirit. A sponsor, who will continue to look after their
growth, stands behind with a hand placed on the recipient's
Cool factoids. Before the time of modern
transportation, a Bishop would rarely come through an isolated
town, so the parish would gather all the eligible children to
have them Confirmed, regardless of age.
Confirmation Gifts and
Patron Saint Medals...
What is it? The First Communion is considered a Rite of
Initiation because it is when the person is fully united with
Jesus by partaking in His Body and Blood. The importance
of this Sacrament is evident in that we are charged to attend
Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation, and to receive
Communion at least once a year (during the Easter Season).
What happens? 2nd graders in Catholic schools prepare for this
Sacrament together and receive in a special Mass. But for
others in a program through their parish, their First Communion
is usually discreetly done with the rest of the congregation
during a regular Mass.
Cool factoids. There is a special sink
in the sacristy called a sacrarium. Instead of
draining into the sewers, it goes into the ground. Because
we truly believe in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the
vessels which held Him are washed in the sacrarium so any
remaining particles return to the earth beneath the church.
First Communion Gifts...