The whole liturgical life of the Catholic Church revolves around the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.
The sacraments are communal celebrations of the Church, grace-giving encounters with Christ that articulate what God is doing in our lives now. Through symbols and rituals, they are signs of God’s saving actions in Jesus, offering us a way to express and deal with realities that are almost inexpressible – divine and human realities such as love and life and death and hope and sorrow and joy. So powerful are they that they actually effect here and now the very thing they are celebrating.
Sacraments mark the peak moments of our lives. They celebrate the grace of God that calls us to conversion and membership in the Church and gifts us with the Holy Spirit, that offers us reconciliation and healing, that calls some to leadership in the church community and others to the vocation of Christian marriage, and invites us into the mystery of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection.
In Christ, God became visible and tangible. In the Church, Christ, and hence God, remains visible and tangible among us. And the Church in turn becomes visible and tangible in the seven signs. They are Christ’s hands which now touch us and Christ’s words which now ring in our ears.
Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
The Sacraments of Initiation are the foundations of Christian life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, are strengthened by Confirmation, and nourished by the Eucharist.
Sacraments of Healing: Penance and Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
Through the sacraments of healing, the whole person is reconciled to God and the Church. These are both repeatable sacraments.
Sacraments at the Service of Communion: Matrimony and Holy Orders
All Christians are called to their vocations to be of service to others. These two sacraments confer a special grace for a particular mission in the Church to serve and build up the People of God.