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Sacraments

Baptism

Baptisms are arranged by appointment with the Parish Priest – 01554 832520 or burryport@menevia.org

The first of the Sacraments is Baptism. It is the doorway into the life of grace, the life of the Church, the eternal life of Heaven itself. Holy Baptism is the foundation of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission:

“Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

Baptism leaves an indelible (permanent) mark on the soul and there is no way, nor any reason, that one could be re-baptized or un-baptized. There are no age restrictions for baptism; you cannot be too old or too young.

The Church believes in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation (1 Timothy 2:4, John 3:5).

Can someone be baptized twice?

Baptizing someone twice is not necessary so long as the person was baptized in water using the Trinitarian formula of being baptized with water “in the name of the Father & of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Does the Catholic Church accept baptisms from another church?

Yes, the Catholic Church recognizes any baptism that uses water and in which the person baptized was baptized with the Trinitarian formula.

Some churches do not use the Trinitarian formula for baptism and thus their baptisms are not valid.

Why are children baptized?

Children receive baptism primarily to remove original sin. This is not a personal sin, it is the sharing in the original falling away from God that happened as a result of humanity choosing to reject God in our early history.

 Infant baptism has been debated for centuries. First, let us appeal to the Bible. John 3:5 says, “Jesus answered, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.’” Note that Jesus says “no one” can enter heaven in that passage. In the spirit of brevity here is the short answer straight from the Catechism:

“The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized,” (Acts 16:15,33; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1252)

St. Irenaeus wrote one of the most important works of the early Church Against Heresies’, in the late second century. He states that people of every age, from infants to the elderly, have been reborn in God.

The ‘Apostolic Tradition’ (usually attributed to St. Hippolytus) was written in the early third century. It states:

“Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them.”

What does the Grace of Baptism accomplish?

Baptism does five things specifically.

  • It forgives all sins that may have been committed prior to a person’s baptism and it relieves the punishment for those sins.
  • It makes the newly baptized person “a new creature.”
  • It turns the person into a newly adopted child of God and a member of Christ. Baptism incorporates a person into the Church, which is the body of Christ.
  • It brings someone into the flock of the faithful and brings them to share in the royal priesthood of Christ (1 Pet. 2:9-10). Catholic baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.
  • Last, but certainly not least, baptism leaves and indelible spiritual mark (character) of belonging to Christ on the soul. Nothing you can do will take away this mark even if you sin a million times. Those sins may prevent you from being open to the salvation God offers through baptism, but you will always carry the mark of a Christian on your soul, therefore making re-baptism impossible.
Confirmation

Confirmation is arranged through the Parish by contacting theParish Priest – 01554 832520 or burryport@menevia.org or can be arranged via St. John Lloyd Catholic High School, which is the High School for the parish of Burry Port & Kidwelly

Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation which completes baptism through those being Confirmed receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit. They are sealed in the Spirit and anointed as sharers in the dignity of Christ who is Priest, Prophet, and King. They become full members of the Church and sharers in the mission to proclaim Christ to the world.

Who can receive Confirmation?

In the Catholic Church, anyone that has been baptized properly can and should be confirmed and who is disposed to Christ, accepting Him as Saviour and Lord.

What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is a Sacrament in the Catholic Church in which the one who is confirmed ( the Confirmandi) receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit through the imposition of hands and anointing with oils, which is usually done by the Bishop of the area wherein the candidate resides. It’s considered a sacrament of initiation which means that it brings you deeper into communion with the Church.

It is a permanent gift which cannot be revoked, nor will it expire.

What are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit?

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit received through Confirmation are:

  1. Wisdom,
  2. Understanding,
  3. Knowledge,
  4. Fortitude or Courage,
  5. Counsel,
  6. Piety or Love, and
  7. Fear of the Lord.

Where is this Sacrament found in Scripture?

Anointing with oil is an ancient Biblical tradition originating in those parts of the Sacred Scriptures Christians often refer to as the Old Testament.

Kings and priests among the Jews were often anointed as a sign that they had been set apart by God to fulfill their particular duties.

This tradition carried on in Christianity with the teaching of the sharing in Christ’s messiahship and his royal priesthood.

In fact, the first example of Catholic Confirmation can be found in Acts 8:14-17.

The sacrament of confirmation is the way for a Catholic to attain full membership in the Catholic Church. It is a beautiful sacrament that will instill God’s grace within you to strengthen and sustain you in your journey of faith.

Reconciliation

In the Catholic Church people go to confession to say sorry for the wrong (sin) in their lives and to experience God’s healing through forgiveness. Confession also permits reconciliation with the Church, which is wounded by the sins people commit, even if others don’t know they have committed them!

Catholics believe that baptism removes original sin, the belief that all people are born tainted by sin. Therefore, baptism turns us back to God. Despite this, humans still commit sin. As a result, Catholics regularly confess their sins. The act of confession is important because it allows us to put things right with God and to know that they have been forgiven.

The Catholic Church believes that only God can forgive sin. But as Christ’s successors and representatives, priests have received from Christ the power to pass on that forgiveness and to speak the mercy of God in the name of Jesus. Roman Catholics believe it is important to continue to confess sin (even though someone has already accepted Jesus as their Saviour) because we continue to sin and to be damaged by its on-going power.

Many Catholics treasure the sacrament of Reconciliation also known as Penance and Confession, among other names. The peace of mind and soul which this sacrament imparts to us is one for which there is no substitute. It is a peace that flows from a certainty, rather than from an unsure hope, that our sins have been forgiven and that we are right with God. It is the continuing the work of redemption.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a Sacrament in which the priest, as the agent of God, forgives sins committed after Baptism, when the sinner is heartily sorry for them, sincerely confesses them, and is willing to make satisfaction for them.

By his death on the Cross, Jesus Christ redeemed us from sin and from the consequences of his sin, especially from the eternal death that is sin’s due.

So it is not surprising that on the very day he rose from the dead, Jesus instituted the sacrament by which our sins could be forgiven.

It was on Easter Sunday evening that Jesus appeared to his Apostles, gathered together in the Upper Room, where they had eaten the Last Supper.

John 20:19-23:
“Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, ‘Peace be to you!’ And when he had said this he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore rejoiced at the sight of the Lord. He therefore said to them again, ‘Peace be to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed upon them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

To paraphrase our Lord’s words in more modern terms, what He said was this:

As God, I have the power to forgive sin. I now entrust the use of that power to you. You will be My representatives. Whatever sins you forgive, I shall forgive. Whatever sins you do not forgive, I shall not forgive.

Jesus on the cross already has “done our work for us”. In the sacrament of Reconciliation we simply give God a chance to share with us the infinite merits of his Son.

Marriage

Marriages are arranged through the Parish by contacting the Parish Priest – 01554 832520 or burryport@menevia.org

Marriage is considered a Sacrament by Catholics because it is the visible sign of God’s union with His bride, the Church.

Marriage in the Catholic Church, also called matrimony, is the “covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring”, and which “has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised.” Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states: “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.”

It also says: “The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence. In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning: permission given by Moses to divorce one’s wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble; God himself has determined it, ‘what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder’. This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy – heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God.”

The Catholic Church also has requirements before Catholics can be considered validly married in the eyes of the Church.

A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements:

(1) the spouses are free to marry;

(2) they freely exchange their consent;

(3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; and

(4) their consent is given in the canonical form, i.e., in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized church minister.

Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority. The Church provides preparation classes several months before marriage to help the participants inform their consent.

Sacrament Of The Sick

To request the Sacrament of the Sick please contact the Parish Priest on – 01554 832520 or burryport@menevia.org

The Anointing of the Sick has a twofold purpose. One purpose, and conditional effect of Anointing of the Sick, is to seek healing in time of illness. This might be in the form of the recovery of bodily health by the sick or injured person, or spiritual healing and the gift of entrusting oneself and one’s condition to the will of God, finding peace in doing so. The condition under which this effect can be expected to operate is stated by the Council of Trent: “When it is expedient for the soul’s salvation.”

In other words, if it will be spiritually good for the sick person to recover, then his recovery can with certainty be expected.

The Sacrament of the Sick is a remarkable sign of God’s great love for us.

The other purpose for this Sacrament is to experience the truth that in his merciful efforts to bring us safely to himself in heaven, God seems to have gone to the very limit.

Jesus, as though to make doubly sure that no one, except through their own deliberate fault, would lose heaven or even spend time in purgatory, instituted the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

Ordination

There are three Holy Orders in the Catholic Church, those of comprising the ordained Priests (or Presbyters), Bishops and Deacons. Church doctrine also refers to all baptised Catholics as the “common priesthood”, but the Sacrament of Ordination refers specifically to sacramental ministry.

The validly ordained priest acts “in persona Christi”, or “in the person of Christ” , representing the person of Christ. It is not the priest who administers the Sacraments. Christ does so using the physicality of the ordained minister’s presence to manifest His own presence. A priest is commonly addressed with the title “Father”.

Catholic priests are ordained by bishops through the sacrament of Holy Orders. The Catholic Church believes that Catholic bishops were ordained in an unbroken line of apostolic succession back to the Twelve Apostles, as depicted in the Holy Bible. The ceremony of Eucharist, which Catholics believe can only be performed by priests, in particular derives from the Last Supper, when Jesus Christ blessed and distributed bread and wine in the presence of the Twelve Apostles. In the Gospel of Luke(22:19-20) Jesus is recorded as commanding them to “do this in memory of me”.
See also Acts of the Apostles 2:42

Catholic tradition and the Sacred Scriptures, (Acts 1:15-26 & 6:1-7), says the Apostles in turn selected other men to succeed them as the bishops (episkopoi, Greek for “overseers”) of the Christian communities, with whom were associated
presbyters (presbyteroi, Greek for “elders”) and deacons (diakonoi, Greek for “servants”).

The theology of the Catholic priesthood is rooted in the priesthood of Christ and to some degree shares elements of the ancient Hebraic priesthood as well. A priest is one who presides over a sacrifice and offers that sacrifice and prayers to God on behalf of believers. In Christian theology, Jesus is the Lamb provided by God himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Before his death on the cross, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples (the Last Supper) and offered blessings over the bread and wine respectively, saying: “Take and eat. This is my body” and “Drink from this all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26–28 Jerusalem Bible). The next day Christ’s body and blood were visibly sacrificed on the cross.
Catholics believe that it is this same body, sacrificed on the cross and risen on the third day and united with Christ’s divinity, soul and blood which is made present in the offering of each Eucharistic sacrifice which is called the Eucharist, or the Mass.
Thus Catholic priests, in celebrating the Eucharist, join each offering of the Eucharistic elements in union with the sacrifice of Christ. Through their celebration of the Holy Eucharist, they make present the one eternal sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Catholicism does not teach that Christ is sacrificed again and again, but that “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice.”
The Catholic Church holds the Jewish concept of memorial in which “..the memorial is not merely a recollection of past events….these events become in a certain way present and real.” and thus “…the sacrifice Christ offered once and for all on the cross remains ever present.”
Properly speaking, in Catholic theology, expressed by Saint Thomas Aquinas, “Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers.”
Thus, Catholic clergy share in the one, unique, Priesthood of Christ.
The Canon Law of the Catholic Church holds that the priesthood is a sacred and perpetual vocational state, not just a profession. By virtue of ordination to priesthood the individual is ‘ontologically’ changed. An indelible mark is imprinted upon his soul and his nature is conformed to that of Christ, the Eternal High Priest.

If you feel you might have a vocation to Ordained Ministry or the Religious Life, or to find out more about how to discern if you have a vocation please contact our Vocations Director in the Diocese of Menevia:
Fr. Matthew Roche-Saunders on 01437 762284 or at vocations@menevia.org
You can also look at our Diocesan website for more information.

Please keep in your prayers the Rev. Robert Davies and Mr. Gregory Beckett, both of whom are preparing for Ordination to the sacred Priesthood in our diocese.