Becoming Catholic (RCIA)
Most adults who are interested in joining the Catholic Church follow a process of instruction and formation called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is a gradual formation process of initiating new members into the Catholic Church by prayer, study, discussion and ritual. It culminates with the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil. Besides instruction in the Faith, this process of becoming Catholic aims at changing the heart and transforming the spirit of those undergoing the process, as well as the whole parish community to become more authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.
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Baptism is the first Sacrament and the gateway to all the other Sacraments of the Church. Our Christian Faith tells us that in Baptism, we are reborn through water and the Holy Spirit as adopted children of God; join Jesus in his death and resurrection as we pass through the water; become members of the Church in which the Holy Spirit dwells and acts; become disciples of the Lord Jesus; are given the pledge of eternal life; and are forgiven of sin and transformed into a new creation full of God’s grace.
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Known by many names, the Sacrament of the Eucharist follows after Baptism. Children, usually around seven years of age, begin preparations to receive Holy Communion for the first of many times. The parish and the parents are jointly responsible for this preparation. During this preparation, the children will learn about the many gifts God has given us, especially the greatest gift of all, his Son Jesus. They will learn how they are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ to assist them in growing in virtue and the Christian life.
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Confirmation is the one of the three Sacraments of Initiation of the Catholic Church. Confirmation continues and strengthens the grace we first received at Baptism. The Sacrament of Confirmation roots us more deeply in our identity as God’s children; unites us more firmly with Christ; increases in us the gifts of the Holy Spirit; binds us more closely to the Church; and gives us special strength to bear witness to our faith in today’s world.
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Reconciliation is a Sacrament instituted by Jesus in his love and mercy to offer sinners forgiveness. At the same time, sinners are also reconciled with the Church because she is also wounded by our sins.
In Reconciliation, we acknowledge our sins before God and his Church. We express our sorrow in a meaningful way, receive the forgiveness of Jesus, make reparation for what we have done and resolve to do better in the future.
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Marriage is a vocation, a calling by God to live a particular way of life. As Catholic Christians, the love between a wife and husband is the sign of how God loves us and how Christ loves his bride, the Church. This is why Marriage is a Sacrament and the Church has surrounded it with special traditions and sacred rites.
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Holy Orders is the Sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles to proclaim the Good News continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time. Holy Orders has three degrees, which are the episcopate (bishop), the presbyterate (priest), and the diaconate (deacon). Through the laying on of hands, men are ordained bishop or priest for roles of leadership in the Church or ordained deacon for the role of service in the Church.
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Anointing of the Sick
Throughout our lives, and especially as we grow older, we may experience periods of poor health. When these moments are marked with a greater seriousness, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick can offer both spiritual and physical healing.
In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, we encounter Jesus who heals and consoles us by offering us the presence of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in body, mind and spirit during our time of illness. Our trust and faith in God are renewed and our suffering is united to Jesus’ suffering on the cross.
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Although a funeral is not a Sacrament per se, it is listed here as one of the important rituals of the Church.
At the time of the death of one of its members, the Church proclaims with confidence that God has created each person for eternal life, and that Jesus Christ by his death and resurrection has overcome sin and death forever. The Church prays for the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end, and that there is still a bond of community with the living. The Church ministers to the sorrowing and gives consolation to them by means of the Funeral Rites.
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The Mass: Step by Step
English-speaking Roman Catholics have been celebrating Mass with a newly revised translation of the Roman Missal since Advent 2011. Hopefully, Catholics have noticed the stronger scriptural references, attuned our ears to the more formal sound of the prayers, and asked questions regarding the meaning of new or less familiar words and phrases.
Above all, this time of transition has given us an opportunity to renew our appreciation of our Catholic worship and to deepen our relationships with the Lord and one another. This page gives a detailed explanation of the parts of the Mass to assist you in learning more about how we worship as Catholics.
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The Liturgical Year
The seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter help us to mark time. Similarly, the Church has its own seasons that mark our journey of faith as we grow in discipleship and follow in the footsteps of the Lord.
The season of Advent is a time of waiting marked by preparation to welcome the birth of our Saviour at Christmas.
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With our Advent preparations over, we enter into the joy of our Saviour’s birth and his coming into our lives.
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This solemn season of forty days prepares our hearts to follow the Lord’s walk to the cross to free us from sin.
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The three most holy days of the year recall the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection.
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This joyous season calls us to rejoice in the new life we have received through Christ’s death and resurrection. We are called to bring that new life to others.
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This season is anything but ordinary. It reveals how the Lord called, taught and formed his disciples to be his Church and to carry out his mission.
Click here to learn more about the season of Ordinary Time.