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Home >> Christian Resources - Sacraments of Christian Initiation

Christian Resources - Sacraments of Christian Initiation

Communion

Sacraments, sacred rites through which God and man interact, are Christ-instituted rituals that restore mankind’s relationship with God and consecrates the life of the participant for God. In the Catholic Church, the are seven sacraments total -- all of which reflect what happened to Jesus Christ during his time on Earth. Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist -- in that order -- are the sacraments of Initiation and therefore must be the first sacraments for any person seeking a relationship with the Church. The Eucharist is also commonly known as communion. These gateway sacraments are the first steps to a new bond with God, all the other sacraments, and the joining of the Church, which is considered the Body of Christ.

Sacraments, sacred rites through which God and man interact, are Christ-instituted rituals that restore mankind’s relationship with God and consecrates the life of the participant for God. In the Catholic Church, the are seven sacraments total -- all of which reflect what happened to Jesus Christ during his time on Earth. Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist -- in that order -- are the sacraments of Initiation and therefore must be the first sacraments for any person seeking a relationship with the Church. These gateway sacraments are the first steps to a new bond with God, all the other sacraments, and the joining of the Church, which is considered the Body of Christ.

Baptism

Baptism is a ritual which transforms of an individual from a person who is full of sin and separated from God to a brand new person who is bonded with God. During baptism a person is fully immersed in water a total of three times (some churches choose to sprinkle water instead of immersion). The number 3 is symbolic of the Holy Trinity. Thus, a person is baptized once in the Name of Father God, the second time in the name of the Son of God (Jesus Christ), and the third time in the name of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit of God). The use of water during a baptism expresses the idea of sins being washed away.

Confirmation

Confirmation is ritual during which an individual is anointed by the Holy Spirit. Once a person is baptized with water, he must also be baptized with the Holy Spirit for the baptism to be complete. For this reason, confirmation and baptism were once considered one sacrament. During confirmation, an individual is anointed with holy oil, as a sign of the Holy Spirit. This oil might also be called a chrism, particularly if it is a mixture that is balmy in texture. The oil is typically used to anoint the forehead; other parts of the body can be anointed as well.

  • Primer on Confirmation:This Albany University site answers typical questions about confirmation.

  • Explanation of Confirmation This website addresses how confirmation enhances and completes the sacrament of baptism.

  • St. Cyril & Confirmation: This web page looks historically at the role of spiritual anointing in confirmation, using the story of Saint Cyril for illustration.

  • All About Confirmation: This site explains how Confirmation affirms baptism by connecting the participant to the Holy Ghost.

  • What Happens During Confirmation: This site discusses how the confirmation is done immediately after baptism with oil that is applied to several points on the body.

  • A Children's Guide to Confirmation:This 27-page guide teaches the components of confirmation and how to prepare for it.

  • Supernatural Sacrament: This Catholic Website discusses the supernatural character of the act of confirmation and how it confers strength to a new Christian convert. (See the bottom half of website after the “baptism” section).

  • Scriptural References: Website identifies passages in the Bible that discuss confirmation and looks at the historical tradition.

  • Video on Confirmation: In this 4-minute video by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a monsignor discusses how confirmation originally was not a separate sacrament. (See fourth video)

  • Chrismation: Another term for the sacrament of confirmation is the sacrament of Holy Chrismation, as detailed in this article.

  • Photos of a Confirmation: This site illustrates what a standard act of confirmation looks like.

Eucharist / Communion

Outsiders observing Christians at Mass partaking of blessed wine and bread sometimes assume that this mirror of the Lord’s Supper is a simply a metaphor for the body of Jesus Christ and his Blood. The Eucharist, however, is not a figurative event for the Christians participating in it. It is meant to be a literal consumption of the Christ’s blood and body. During the Eucharist the wine is the blood -- not simply a symbol of it; the unleavened bread is the body. Partaking of these two elements is a ritual that brings Christians closer to God and erases any separation caused by sin.

  • Origins of the Eucharist: This Yale University website looks at the history and format of the Mass.

  • Philosophy of the Eucharist: This Hanover College website explores the canons or principles behind the Eucharist. .

  • Interpretation of the Lord's Supper:The page on the Catholic website explores the literal translation or hermeneutics behind consuming the body and blood of Christ during the Eucharist ritual.

  • Attitudes for Eucharist: This pastoral letter from a Bishop in Youngstown explains how parishioners and pastors should approach the sacrament of the Eucharist.

  • The Sacrificial Sacrament: This 14-page essay by well-known university professor and Christian scholar Bruce Chilton explores how the Eucharist ritual is a form of sacrifice.

  • All About the Eucharist: This Britannica Encyclopedia article explains all the basics surrounding the Eucharist.

  • Restoring the Bond with God: This website looks at how the Eucharist is an essential step in mankind’s salvation.

  • Children & the Eucharist: This letter from the Vatican addresses how children should partake in the Eucharist.

  • Resources on the Eucharist: This website provides manuals on preparing for the Eucharist.

  • Sanctity of the Ritual: Website explains how the Eucharist must be observed as the true partaking of Christ’s body.



Communion Supplies

Most churches make it a priority to take communion as a whole congregation during various church services throughout the year. We offer discount communion supplies in our communion supplies store. Communion is a very special time for Christians and Catholics to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. You don't have to be at church to take communion; many families will take communion together during important times and holidays.






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