The sacraments are central to the life and worship of the Catholic Church. A sacrament is a visible sign – in words and actions – of God’s grace at work in his Church. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick.
Preparation programmes and celebrations of all the sacraments – with the exception of Holy Orders (the ordination of a Deacon, Priest or Bishop) – are regularly held at St Mary Mother of God Church.
In Baptism, Christ unites us with himself. It is the first of the sacraments of Initiation. “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word” and by which a baby, child or adult becomes a member of the Church.
To help parents to understand the importance of Baptism for their children, we offer a short two-evening programme of preparation.
Initial enquiries about Baptism should be made to Sacramental Co-ordinator on 07415 602774.
In Holy Communion we receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as he promised at the Last Supper. It is the third of the sacraments of Initiation.
Our First Holy Communion programme prepares children – and their parents – for the moment when they first celebrate this most important part of their lives as Christians. The programme normally runs from September each year and is open to children in school year 3 and above.
The First Communion programme also includes preparation for the children’s first celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Initial enquiries about First Holy Communion should be made to Sacramental Co-ordinator on 07415 602774.
In Confirmation we receive a sacramental gift of the Holy Spirit. For young Catholics, Confirmation is the second of the sacraments of Initiation and completes the sacrament of baptism. It is also the moment when they become full, adult members of the Church.
The Confirmation programme at St Mary’s usually begins in the autumn of each year and is open to young people from the age of 16.
Initial enquiries about confirmation should be made to Sacramental Co-ordinator on 07415 602774
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God welcomes the return of the repentant sinner and offers the grace of forgiveness. This sacrament is also known as Confession (because it involves the sinner making a spoken confession to God through the ministry of a Priest) or Penance (because it requires an attitude of genuine repentance for wrong-doing).
Sacramental Reconciliation is available every Saturday 5.30-6.00pm in the church.
In Advent and Lent we celebrate a Parish Reconciliation Service of music, readings and individual confessions.
At St Mary’s we offer marriage preparation and celebrate wedding services. Normally, at least one of the partners must be a baptised Catholic living in the parish, or have a strong connection with the parish. In some cases (especially when one partner has previously been married, either in a church or in a registry office ceremony and their husband or wife is still alive), a Catholic marriage service may not be possible. Please contact us for advice.
Because of the time needed for preparation, we normally require at least six months notice of a wedding. We also offer marriage preparation for couples who plan to marry in a Catholic church ceremony in another country. Again, at least six months notice is needed. Please make initial enquiries to the Parish Priest.
In the Sacrament of the Sick, a Priest prays for the sick person and anoints them with oil for their outward and inward healing. In the past, this sacrament was commonly known as “the last rites”. It is, however, recommended for all those who fall seriously ill, even if the illness is not expected to be fatal. Another source of spiritual comfort, for those who are not able to attend Sunday Mass, is Holy Communion brought by a Priest or a lay minister. This can be arranged on individual occasions, or as a regular weekly or monthly visit, depending on circumstances.
If you believe that you or someone close to you would benefit from the Sacrament of the Sick or Holy Communion, please contact the Parish office.