There are 7 Sacraments in the Catholic Church, namely:
- Holy Eucharist
- Penance, Anointing of the Sick
- Holy Matrimony
- and Holy Orders.
So what are the Sacraments?
Well the Church defines the Sacraments as:
“efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.”(CCC 1131)
In essence, the Sacraments are not mere signs; they actively signify and make present divine grace in the lives of people who are properly disposed e.g. place no obstacles in the way. Each Sacrament gives a particular sacramental grace from the Holy Spirit, which help us to cooperate with God’s plan for our lives.
The 7 Sacraments can be divided into the following 3 categories:
- 1. Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist)
- 2. Sacraments of Healing (Penance and Anointing of the Sick)
- 3. Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders)
Once someone has been validly Baptized, Confirmed or received Holy Orders the Sacrament cannot be undone and never needs to be repeated. All Catholics are strongly encouraged to have recourse to the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance.
For more information on the Sacraments please see the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 1113 to 1212.