There are seven sacraments which Christ instituted and entrusted to the Church. They are sacred signs of God’s presence and channels of grace to those who receive them with the proper disposition. Throughout our lives we celebrate the power of God through these life giving actions. The seven sacraments celebrate our initiation into God’s life (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), God’s call (Marriage and Holy Orders) and God’s healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick).
For adults who have not been initiated into the Catholic Church the sacraments are usually received after careful preparation.
The sacrament of baptism forms the foundation of the sacramental life in the Church. It is the gateway to a life with Christ, being the first sacrament of Christian initiation. The three fold pouring of water in baptism symbolises the destruction of sin and a new life in Christ bestowed through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism of Infants
Through the sacrament of baptism the child becomes a member of the Church, hence the ideal time for the baptism of infants, is during the Sunday mass at which all Christ’s faithful are present. The parents of those to be baptised are asked to profess their faith and to accept the responsibility to raise their child in the Christian way of life. This presumes an active faith life and regular participation in the Sunday Eucharist. Parents are expected to participate in baptism preparation sessions prior to the baptism of their child.
The Eucharist is at the heart of our parish life and Mass is usually celebrated everyday. We have regular times of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the week. Please see the Bulletin for details.
First Holy Communion
Children are prepared for their First Holy Communion once they have reached the age of reason. For most children this will be around the age of seven years old. Children usually participate in the sacrament of reconciliation at least twice during their preparation for First Holy Communion. Children are prepared in small groups with sessions carefully tailored to meet their individual needs.
We celebrate the Rite of Enrolment within a Sunday mass at the start of the process, where they commit to participating fully in the program. It also makes the Parish community aware that the young people are preparing for the sacrament and encourages them to be active participants in the process. Nearer to Confirmation we have the Rite of Election for those who have decided they wish to be confirmed.
All our young people have a sponsor. The sponsor provides a link for the young person with the Parish community as well as praying for the young person. A relationship is encouraged between sponsor and candidate by providing questions for the candidate to ask their sponsor throughout the preparation process. Sponsors may be the young person’s baptismal god parent or another confirmed, adult member of the community. They must, however, be able to meet with the young person on a regular basis.
Parents, as the primary catechists of their children also need to be involved in the process. We have a ‘welcome’ session for parents and potential candidates prior to starting the process. This is usually a social event during which we explain the process to the parents and young people We have catechetical sessions for parents to remind them of aspects of their faith and to support them in developing the faith of their children.
Reconciliation (sometimes called Confession)
Christ preached a message that calls each of us to reform our lives. We are called to conversion, from selfishness and sin, to love and holiness. This journey of conversion to a fuller life in Christ, takes a life time and through the sacrament of reconciliation we are able to celebrate this ongoing conversion. Through this sacrament we are absolved of sin and reconciled to God.
The sacrament of reconciliation, is available at Minehead on Saturday 4.30 – 4.50 pm and Dulverton on Sunday 8.30 – 9.15 am or at other times by making an appointment with Fr Michael.
Anointing of the Sick
Sickness often presents a great challenge and reminds us of our human frailty. The sacrament of the sick strengthens us during these times and if necessary forgives us of our sins. The sacrament of the sick involves an anointing with holy oil and a prayer for healing. The priest is the minister of this sacrament.
The priest or an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may also visit a sick person to bring them Holy Communion.
Scripture affirms that man and woman were made for each other. Marriage is a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a life long partnership, ordered to the good of the other and the procreation of children. In the Catholic Church the celebration of Marriage takes place during Mass. The husband and wife as ministers of Christ’s grace confer upon each other the sacrament by expressing their consent before the Church. The priest receives the consent of the spouses on behalf of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church.
You can read more about marriage in the Catholic Church in the following document:
If you are interested in exploring a call to the priesthood or the permanent diaconate then please speak to Fr. Michael or contact the Clifton Diocese Vocations Director, Fr. Matt Anscombe.
|Fr. Matt Anscombe
St Bernadette’s Presbytery
731 Wells Road
Phone: 01275 833699
If you require further information on the sacraments or wish to arrange for a baptism, wedding or funeral in this parish, please contact Fr Michael.