Catholic Community of Waukesha

Sacraments

 

The Sacraments are defined as outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ to help individuals in their spiritual life and to grow in holiness. Sacraments are mysteries; they are signs of the sacred presence of our God in our midst today. They are more than mere signs, however, for the sacraments impart grace. The sacraments help to make people holy and build-up the body of Christ. They are a way to relate to God throughout life’s transitions and help us to give praise and worship to God. They help us nourish, strengthen, and express our faith. Through the sacraments, Jesus remains with His people, strengthening, healing, feeding, and forgiving them as they face life’s challenges.

The Catholic Church celebrates seven Sacraments, which were instituted by Christ during his earthly ministry and which continue to define the liturgical life of the Church today. The Sacraments nourish, strengthen, and express faith.

Sacraments of Initiation

 

Baptism

Baptism, the first and fundamental sacrament is the gate to the other sacraments. Baptism is the purifying and sanctifying sacrament of rebirth and the means by which its recipients are incorporated into the Church in a bond of unity.

Baptism is the first sacrament of Christian initiation. It is the sacrament that frees a person from original sin and makes that person a member of Christ and His Church, thus being the way to a new and spiritual life. It is administered by immersing the recipient in water or by pouring water on the person’s head “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. One must be baptized before sharing in any of the other sacraments. Baptism is the foundation for all ministry and life in the church, and confers a commitment to follow Christ and spread his message throughout the world. Furthermore, in baptism, one is incorporated into the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and thus participates in the gift of resurrection and eternal life with Christ.

Infants can be baptized soon after birth. At the time of baptism, parents vow to practice their faith and provide a Catholic upbringing for the child. Adults who have never been baptized take part in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), and will typically be baptized at the Easter Vigil. The Catholic Church recognizes baptisms from other Christian denominations that baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, a person can only be baptized once.

Parents who wish to have their child baptized should be parish members, and both are expected to attend the Baptism Preparation Class (offered monthly throughout the Waukesha Catholic Parishes) prior to the Baptism.  Baptisms are not permitted during Lent.

Eucharist

The Eucharist is the most special sacrament, in which Christ himself is contained, offered and received, and by which the Church constantly lives and grows. The Eucharistic sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated over the centuries, is the summit and source of all Christian life and worship; it signifies and affects the unity of the people of God and achieves the building up of the Body of Christ.

As children reach the age of reason, generally around age seven, the Church extends to them an invitation to celebrate the sacrament of Eucharist. The initiation into the Christian community that took place at baptism is further extended by inviting children to enter fully into the heart of Christian faith through participation in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is the sacrament by which Catholics receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. For Catholics, this is the most treasured gift given to the Church by the Lord at the Last Supper. In receiving the Eucharist, we are nourished by the Lord. The bread and wine used in the Mass are transformed in all but appearance into the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Parish Community gathers each weekend to celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy, or Parish Mass.  Baptized Catholics, having been prepared to celebrate Eucharist, and who are in a state of Grace, are welcomed to participate fully in a Eucharistic Liturgy.  Children who have been baptized as Catholics and who have prepared for and celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation are also invited to be prepared for and celebrate the Sacrament of Eucharist when they are ready.  Parents and Guardians also take an active role in the formal preparation of their children to receive Eucharist for the first time.

Confirmation

Confirmation is one of the sacraments of initiation, along with Baptism and Eucharist. While baptism is the sacrament of rebirth to a new and supernatural life, confirmation is the sacrament of maturity and coming of age. It is conferred by the anointing of Chrism oil and the laying on of hands by the Bishop. The Sacrament of Confirmation draws us into a greater awareness of the Holy Spirit, which we received at Baptism. Through this sacrament, we confirm the presence of the baptismal gifts we have already received; we are sealed with the undeserved and unearned gift of the Holy Spirit.

By a signing with the gift of the Spirit, confirmation enriches the baptized with the Holy Spirit, binding them more perfectly to the Church, and strengthening them in their witness to Christ by word and deed and in their work to bring to its fullness the Body of Christ.

Confirmation candidates are asked to enter a program of preparation that involves instruction, service, prayer, and participation in parish community life.  Opportunities for parent and sponsor involvement are an integral part of the preparation process of our youth. We celebrate this sacrament in collaboration with the youth of the other parishes in Waukesha. All youth of the parish, who are juniors in high school, or sixteen years of age, are invited to register for and participate in the formal preparation.

Sacraments of Healing
 

Penance

As sinners, we recognize both our human limitations and failures and also God’s limitless love for us. God loves and forgives us, and the sacrament of reconciliation makes this gift of forgiveness a reality in the life of the sinner. We are restored to a proper relationship with God. Through the cleansing of our sins and guilt, we are once again made whole and holy.

The sacrament of penance is one of two sacraments of healing. It is the sacrament that brings spiritual healing for Catholics who have distanced themselves from God by committing sins.

There are four elements involved:

  • the penitent’s contrition for sin
  • confession to a priest
  • absolution by the priest
  • satisfaction

Through penance, the faithful receive pardon through God's mercy for the sins they have committed. At the same time, they are reconciled with the Church community. The confession, or disclosure, of sins frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others.

Parish children are usually introduced to the sacrament around the age of seven, or second grade.  There is a formal period of preparation which includes the support, participation and example of their parents, who are actively involved in this process.  Communal Penance Services are held regularly during Advent and Lent. INDIVIDUAL RECONCILIATION is available Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. .

Anointing of the Sick

Through the sacrament of anointing, Christ strengthens the faithful who are afflicted by illness, providing them with the strongest means of support. Jesus showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and commanded his followers to do the same. The celebration of this sacrament is an opportunity for the deepening of the faith of the community who are able to witness the faith and devotion of those being anointed.

This is a ministry of comfort. Through Anointing, the sick are reminded that Christ and the Church are in communion with their suffering. The Holy Spirit shares the blessings of health, trust in God, and strength against temptation.

Anointing of the Sick is also a sacrament of healing. Anointing of the Sick was once known as "extreme unction." The idea behind this sacrament is that we are all members of the body of Christ. When one of us suffers, all of us suffer, and all of God's creation suffers with us.

When one is struck down by disease or illness, the entire parish community is wounded.  Thus, when the need is felt, please contact the parish office to celebrate this sacrament. 

Sacraments of Vocation
 

Marriage

The Church has a rich tradition on sacramental marriage and covenantal union. The Old Testament authors write of God making a covenant with the chosen people and promising them that they will never be forsaken. The New Testament authors write of Jesus as the new covenant and compare the relationship of Jesus with the Church to the relationship of a husband and wife.

The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership for the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.

Matrimony, or Marriage, like Holy Orders, is a sacrament that consecrates for a particular mission in building up the Church. It is seen as a sign of the love between Christ and the Church, which is established between spouses in a permanent and exclusive bond, sealed by God. The Sacrament gives couples the grace they need to attain holiness in their married life and for responsible acceptance and upbringing of their children.

Holy Matrimony is a sacrament, administered by the couple themselves, with a priest or deacon as a witness of the church.  We strive to enable couples to develop a beautiful and permanent relationship through an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses.  Due to the need for adequate preparation, marriage arrangements should be made at least six (6) months in advance.  The parish will assist couples in preparing for marriage through an instructional program concentrating on a deeper awareness of self, sexuality, and the sacramentality of marriage.

Holy Orders

Holy Orders is the sacrament by which bishops, priests and deacons are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties. The sacred rite by which orders are conferred is called ordination. The apostles were ordained by Jesus at the Last Supper so that others could share in his priesthood.

Holy Orders, which was instituted by Christ himself, is administered by the laying on of hands by the Bishop, through which the priest is given the power to serve the Church through his preaching, teaching and celebration of the Sacraments.

Encouraging and fostering vocations to the priesthood and permanent diaconate is a crucial part of our parish's mission.  It is through Baptism that we all share in the priesthood of Christ Jesus.  It is through the sacrament of Holy Orders that men are called from the faith community to serve its spiritual needs.  Anyone interested in the priesthood, permanent diaconate, or other religious vocations, should contact the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations.