Sacraments

ADMINISTRATION OF SACRAMENTS 

Baptism:  It is a Sacrament of initiation. It is given to infants and adults on every 2nd and 4th Sunday in our parish.

As a sacrament:

  1. It removes the Original Sin committed by our first parents Adam and Eve.
  2. It is given following the mission mandate of our Lord, “Go, preach my good news to all nations, making them my disciples and baptise them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (This is the baptismal formula that a priest utters while pouring holy water upon the child) 28:20.
  3. It gives a new birth to every candidate (“Unless one is born again he shall not enter the Kingdom of God” Jn.3:3
  4. By baptism a candidate receives the Holy Spirit and thereby receives indelible nature.
  5. It makes the candidates children of God crying ‘Abba Father..’ and they become members in the RC Church.
  6. It makes them new creation and Disciples of Christ. The tradition of baptising infants focuses on the theology of leading the infants to Christian life right from their infancy itself.
  7. It is the gateway to other sacraments

SOME USEFUL TIPS before baptism

  1. Approach your parish priest at least one month before the celebration with your family record and ensure the ceremony is booked in advance in the parish office.
  2. Every month on 2nd & 4th Sunday (Except the season of Lent) at 11.15 am baptism for the children is administered.
  3. Please keep any Christian name or Biblical name to your child that shall be called and addressed so till the end and let the baptism name be ever. Do not add any calling name upon the baptised name
  4. God-Parents must be Catholics who are not the biological parents and grand-parents
  5. Baptismal counselling to the child’s parents and god-parents by the parish clergy is given a couple of days before the celebration.
  6. Please bring a fresh candle for the ceremony and the child must wear white garment symbolizing the purity in Christ
  7. A baptism form will be given to the child’s parents in order to write the required data about the child and this form should be produced to the Minister(who baptizes)
  8. A love offering or church use articles may be presented to the parish priest at the end of the celebration as a token of appreciation and gratitude to the parish
  9. When a non-Christian desires to receive baptism, an affidavit (willingness to get baptized) should be presented to the parish priest at the first instance and a minimum of 3 months catechetical preparation is required
  10. If non-Catholic like CSI, Marthoma, Syrian Orthodox Christian, Jacobite, a baptism certificate of that church is must and the person should learn our Catholic prayers and be catechized for the entry into the Catholic faith during a simple ceremony

Holy Communion (First Holy Communion) – Eucharist

Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my Body which is given up for you….Take this all of you and drink from it for this is the blood of the new and eternal covenant which is shed for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of Me”.  Lk.22:17-20

These words of our Lord at the Last Supper are remembered again and again in every Eucharistic celebration. This celebration we call Holy Mass. Doctrinally Holy Eucharist is a sacrament of the Holy Communion which is the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

What Jesus said and did at the Last Supper was truly enacted on the Mount Calvary by breaking His body and shedding His blood on the Cross. This sacrifice of Jesus is re-enacted on the altar at every Mass celebrated by the priest ordained.

Thus Holy Mass reminds us of three locations namely: Last Supper (LS) + Calvary Sacrifice (CS) + Eucharistic Sacrifice at the altar (ES). Hence to sum up the whole Mass in to an equation: LS+CS+ES. By this equation you can understand the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.

The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist unveils three theological truths: The Eternal Meal (“I am the Bread of Life” Jn.6:34,41,48,51). Sacrifice of the Lamb for the forgiveness of sins of many (Lk. 22:17) and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic Bread (“Do this in remembrance of Me..” Lk.22:20)

Practical Tips

  1. Candidates must be 9 years to receive First Holy Communion
  2. Parents must meet the parish priest with baptism certificate of the candidate
  3. Children (1st standard to 10th standard) attending Sunday Catechism is totally different from preparing exclusively for the reception of the Holy Communion
  4. Learning by-heart the basic prayers is obligatory for First Holy Communion candidates
  5. Once in 2 years the First Holy Communion is administered along with the sacrament of Confirmation by our archdiocesan archbishop
  6. Those who receive Holy Communion must pronounce the word ‘Amen’ (Let it be so) while receiving.
  7. Parents must encourage their children to make confession once a month that they may receive the Holy Communion worthily
  8. Parents, hence, must practice themselves the virtue of attending regularly the Holy Mass on Sunday.
  9. Ladies preferably must to set an example to the younger generation in their dress code and they must cover their head during the Holy Mass and must pronounce ‘Amen’ while receiving communion.
  10. In order to keep the sanctity of the Holy Communion it is strongly recommended to receive Holy Communion on the tongue rather than in the palm

Sacrament of Confirmation

While conferring on a candidate for the sacrament of Confirmation, the bishop says,  ‘Dear…..(Name)…Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”. The candidate as he receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit becomes a soldier for Christ.

Jesus empowered the apostles saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Jn.20:22. On the Pentecost day the apostles “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” Act.2:4

By the Sacrament of Confirmation the candidates receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Fortitude, Prudence, Piety, Fear of God).

Practical Tips ……

  1. In our parish, our archbishop visits our parish once in 2 years and confirms the candidates with the sacrament of Confirmation.
  2. It is always preferred to have such a celebration in the month of May with catechetical formation commencing one week after Easter. The age for the sacrament of Confirmation is stipulated as 11 years.
  3. Parents have to meet the parish priest and submit baptism and Communion certificates of their children and get registered in the parish office.
  4. It is pastorally and strongly recommended for the parents to get the celebration done here in the parish. White dress is always desired and to fetch a candle for the celebration.
  5. If anyone in your family has not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation, please contact your parish priest

THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE (RECONCILIATION)

The Sacrament of Reconciliation brings forgiveness from the Lord to the penitent. It was instituted by the Lord. Jn.21:19-23 Jesus said to the apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive they are forgiven in heaven and whose sins you don’t forgive they shall not be forgiven in heaven”

Jesus intended the sacrament of Reconciliation for the penitents. In Baptism the Original sin is remitted whereas in the individual confession, personal sins (mortal and venial) sins are remitted.

Merits of individual confession:

  1. It forgives the sins of penitent(person who confesses to a priest)
  2. It restores relationship with God and people
  3. It removes sins and guilt in the penitent and grants peace of soul
  4. It heals penitent’s soul and even physical illness
  5. It builds family and church and society
  6. It restores psychological and spiritual strength in penitent and promotes Christian fellowship
  7. By the virtue of Oath of secrecy, priests ordained are obliged to maintain the value of secrets of the individuals and he representing Christ never in any case leaks out the sins of the faithful.
  8. Hence family people are strongly recommended to make confession every first Friday and receive Holy Communion in order to strengthen the unity of the family

Steps how to make confession:

  1. By kneeling down in the Church, recall sins
  2. Feel sorry or remorse for the sins committed
  3. Resolve not to commit sin any more
  4. Then going to a priest, kneeling down make the sign of the Cross say, ‘Forgive me Father for I have sinned’
  5. Mention all the sins that are recalled and say, ‘forgive me Father for these sins and for the sins I have forgotten’
  6. The priest advises and gives penance and will ask you to say Act of Contrition (O My God I am sorry for all my sins because they displease You who are all good and deserving of all my love. With Your help I will sin no more’)
  7. Then the priest will say the prayer of absolution and bless you with sign of the Cross
  8. You too make the sign of the Cross and thank him and then coming to your place do the penance and thank for the Lord for the blessing

HOLY ANOINTING – Extreme Unction

‘Is there any one sick among you, call for the priest; he will anoint the sick person and will lay his hands upon him and bless him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven’ says St.James in his epistle. Jm.5:14-15

The Sacrament of holy anointing is not new to our times. It was practised among the early Christians times. It is intended to anoint a sick with holy oil of the sick on the forehead and wrist of the patient and to pray for him. By this sacrament, the priest visits the patient who may be critical or semi-critical and anoints the patient.

It comforts and heals the patient even from his illness. It is not desired to frighten the patient but to administer healing upon the patient who may be critically ill or just ill. It is meant to heal and comfort the sick at the time when he is distressed by the illness.

It is feared that this sacrament (Extreme-Unction) is administered only in the danger of death. It is not so. The most of the Catholic faithful think so. Rather it is a sacrament of healing and comforting. Any catholic who feels that he should have the anointing of the sick, can ask for it.

Practical Tips

  1. When someone is bedridden due to illness, the family people at home should at once contact the PP for the sacrament of holy anointing
  2. Even if someone is ill or seriously ill in the hospital, the immediate relative of the patient must feel binding to inform the PP and get his spiritual help

Sacrament of Holy Order (Priesthood)

“I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth” Jn.17:19

“He took bread….saying ‘Take this and eat of it, this is my body….do this in memory of me…He took a cup..saying ‘Take this all of you and drink of it…. do this remembrance of me” Lk.22:14-20

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet” Jn.13:14

“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” Jn.20:21

“He (Jesus) breathed on them (apostles), and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” Jn.20:22

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” Jesus said to the apostles. Jn.20:23

All the above mentioned scriptural quotations strongly prove to the fact that Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Order in order to celebrate the sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance and to lead the faithful to Him at large.

A Catholic Priest (Sacerdos) is a representative of Christ. He is ordained by the Local Ordinary (Bishop) for a particular diocese or for a particular Religious Order to serve the Lord and the people.

He is empowered to celebrate the 7 sacraments and to administer a parish or institution.

He is empowered to teach, preach and to heal the faithful and thereby to save the souls.

He studies in a seminary for 13 or 15 years either as a diocesan or as a religious priest.

He is not an extra ordinary person, but a man in a good family called by the Lord and trained by the Church for the sake of the people carrying in himself limitations of flesh and blood.

He shares the priestly, kingly and prophetic ministries of Jesus Christ. Thus a priest is a priest in the Order of Melchizedek, a preacher by the Mission mandate given by the Lord and a prophet participating in the prophetic ministry of Christ.

Practical Tips

  1. A candidate to the priesthood normally hails from a good and devote Catholic family
  2. Receive him with due respect and love and approach him for any pastoral needs without any inhibition.
  3. Know that he too is a man with limitations of flesh and blood and hence support and guide him in all his pastoral ministry
  4. Support him with your prayer, monetary help and of course with your presence in running the parish smoothly and ably
  5. Inculcate the virtues of love, faith and justice in your family in such a manner that God calls someone from your home for priesthood or religious life.

Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

The Sacraments of Holy Order and Holy Matrimony are like two eyes of the same person and two sides of a same coin. One is supplementary and complimentary to the other.

Both the Sacraments play equally and significantly the sanctifying role given by God. From a devote family, comes priest for God and the priest by virtue of his ordination celebrates a marriage between a baptized man and woman to a sacrament.

A Catholic Marriage is a sacrament that blesses and strengthens the union between baptized man and woman.  It is a divine order given by God to humankind … “It is not for good for man to be alone….. I will make him a suitable partner to him…” Gen.2:18

It aims at 1. Welfare of the spouses   2. Procreation &  3.Up-bringing of children.

Unity and Indissolubility are the two properties of a Catholic marriage that is blessed in a Catholic Church by an ordained minister.

The Marriage Consent given by man and woman on the day of marriage freely, loudly, externally without any fear and coercion (force) in front of the Minister (priest) and the two witnesses during the Holy Mass makes the marriage holy, valid and significant. Such marriage of the baptized Catholic spouses becomes by divine call a sacrament and hence covenantal (Holy and indissoluble, and inseparable). “What God has united, no man has authority to put asunder” Jesus said. Mt.19:9

Practical tips

  1. Please approach your PP with a baptism certificate (Original) of your son or daughter and discuss with him about the marriage celebration much earlier so to say minimum 2 months before
  2. If a non-Christian is marrying a Catholic in the church and that he or she wants to remain in his or her faith and agrees for the baptism of the children in the Catholic Church, a dispensation from the disparity of cult has to be obtained from the archdiocesan Vicar General.
  3. Letters of marriage proposals between the parish priests will be exchanged.
  4. While 3 banns are read in your parish church on 3 Sundays the spouses have to attend marriage preparatory course in the Paalana Bhavan (Archbishop’s House just behind the Cant Rly Stn)
  5. Once the banns reading is over, the marriage candidate has to meet the PP in person and sign the prenuptial enquiry papers in front of the priest after taking oath on the Bible. This paper is prerequisite for blessing of wedding in any church arranged.
  6. Punctuality of the marriage spouses is always a blessing one and hence try to please the priest, relatives and friends by entering the church on time for the wedding celebration.
  7. Marriage Rectification: Couples whose marriage is not yet blessed in the Church and yet if they are leading family life, must approach the parish priest to get their marriage rectified in the church. Only then they are allowed to receive Holy Communion.

Courtesy: Fr.J.A.Nathan