How do the Catholics worship?

How do the Catholics worship?

Liturgy & Sacraments

Bible with lightThe public worship of the Roman Catholic church is its liturgy, principally the Eucharist, which is also called the Mass. After the recitation of prayers and readings from the Bible, the presiding priest invites the faithful to receive communion, understood as sharing in the sacramental presence of Christ. At the Sunday liturgy the priest preaches a sermon or homily, applying the day’s biblical texts to the present lives of believers.

The church observes a liturgical calendar similar to that of other Christians, following a cycle of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. It also follows a distinctive cycle of commemoration of the saints.
The worship of the church is expressed as well in rites of baptism, confirmation, weddings, ordinations, penitential rites, burial rites or funerals, and the singing of the Divine Office. A distinguishing mark of Catholic worship is prayer for the dead.

The Sacraments

The sacraments are Christ’s own gift that provide us with his grace. They are the divine helps which God gives us to enable us to: believe the truths of his faith, Live according to his moral code, and grow in his gift of divine life. The seven sacraments are a fundamental part of the Catholic faith.

  • We receive the supernatural life, called sanctifying grace, which dissipates the spiritual emptiness of original sin.
  • And there is imparted to the soul a permanent and distinctive quality which we call the character or the mark of Baptism.

Eucharist ~ In the Presence of the Lord Himself

This is often called the greatest sacrament Eucharistbecause Christ himself is present in the consecrated bread and wine. The catechism points out that the Holy Eucharist is both a sacrifice and a sacrament. As a sacrifice the Holy Eucharist is the Mass. The Mass is that divine action in which Jesus, through the agency of the human priest, changes the bread and wine into His own Body and Blood and continues through time the offering which He made to God on Calvary—the offering of Himself for mankind. It is at the consecration of the Mass that the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist comes into being. It is then that Jesus becomes present under the appearance of bread and wine. As long as the appearances of bread and wine remain, Jesus remains present and the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist continues to there exist. The act by which we receive the Holy Eucharist is called Holy Communion. We might say that the Mass is the “making” of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Communion is the receiving of the Holy Eucharist. In between the two, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist continues to exist (as in the tabernacle) whether we receive it or not.

Reconciliation ~ Rising Again to New Life

reconciliationThis sacrament brings us God’s forgiveness through the words of a priest, makes us holy and reconciles us with God and the Church (previously called “Penance” or “Confession”). The sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament in which the priest, as the agent of God, forgives sins committed after Baptism, when the sinner is heartily sorry for them, sincerely confesses them, and is willing to make satisfaction for them. By his death on the Cross, Jesus Christ redeemed man from sin and from the consequences of his sin, especially from the eternal death that is sin’s due. So it is not surprising that on the very day he rose from the dead, Jesus instituted the sacrament by which men’s sins could be forgiven.

Confirmation ~ Grace for Fullness of Faith and Life


A sacrament that bestows the special seal or mark of the Holy Spirit. It gives those receiving the special spiritual energy to make Jesus known in the world, and the courage to live the way Jesus would like them to live.

  • Root us more deeply in divine filiation (being children of God)
  • Unites us more firmly to Christ
  • Increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us
  • Strengthens our bond with the Church
  • Associates us more closely to her mission of bearing witness to Christ
  • Helps us and more strictly obliges us to spread and defend the faith by word and deed

Catholic Marriage ~ A Union Sealed by the Sacrament of Matrimony

Received when a husband and wife pronounce their marriage vows, this sacramentmarriage cross gives the grace for two people to join their lives together until death. The husband and wife perform this sacrament for each other. The priest is only the official church witness of this sacrament. Matrimony is defined as “the sacrament by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties.”

The sacramental grace of Matrimony:

  • Perfects the natural love of husband and wife;
  • Elevates this love to a supernatural level which far surpasses mere mental and physical compatibility;
  • Gives to marital love a sanctifying quality, making it an instrument for growth in holiness and marriage a path to sainthood;
  • Imparts conscientiousness in the begetting and rearing of children;
  • Gives prudence in the innumerable problems consequent upon family life;
  • Enables husband and wife to adjust to one another’s shortcomings and to bear with one another’s faults.

This is only a little of what the grace of Matrimony will accomplish for those who, by their cooperation, give God a chance to show what he can do.

AnointedAnointing of the Sick ~ Comfort & Healing

Typically for the seriously ill, the infirm and the very old, the sacrament of the sick sanctifies sufferings, increases grace, forgives sins and makes us ready for heaven.

The primary purpose of the special grace of Anointing of the Sick is to comfort and to strengthen the soul of the sick person.

  • This is the grace that quiets anxiety and dissipates fear.
  • It is the grace which enables the sick person to embrace God’s will and to face the possibility of death without apprehension.
  • It is the grace which gives the soul the strength to face and conquer whatever temptations to doubt, despondency, or even despair may mark Satan’s last effort to seize this soul for himself.

Holy Orders ~ Priests of the New Sacrifice

Gives priests the power to forgive sins, anoint the sick, change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and to perpetuate Jesus’ sacrifice, which is the Mass. Through Holy Orders, priests and bishops receive the Spirit’s grace to guide the church and take care of the people of God. There are two notable ways in which the sacrament of Holy Orders differs from the other sacraments.

One is the fact that Holy Orders can be administered only by a bishop. Only a bishop has the power to ordain priests. An ordinary priest cannot pass his power on to another. The second way in which Holy Orders differs from other sacraments is that Holy Orders is not received all at once. When we are baptized, we are completely baptized by the single pouring of water. When we are confirmed, we are completely confirmed in a single ceremony. Holy Orders, however, is given by degrees, by successive steps.

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