Three Elements Of Gift Giving:
Gifts reveal something of the giver.
Gifts have invisible elements.
Gifts can leads to something deeper in life.


When we give a gift we also give something of our selves. People opening a gift will ‘see’ the relationship with the giver. A really special gift tells the recipient that they are specially treasured as a friend or family member. A meager gift says they’re not! The gift also tells us something of the character of the giver. We learn of the depth of care another has, we can gauge another’s love and commitment from a gift.

God’s Gift Giving

God’s gifts always brings with them God’s presence.

The best gift of the Father was the person of Jesus who shares our human story and also brings the presence of the Father in a special way.


The action of gift giving opens up a broad field. There is ‘more than meets the eye’ in a gift. There are some unseen elements ‘hidden’ in the gift. The relationship is ‘named’ and enhanced by the act of gift giving. The gift links people to others, to a wider group. The gift connects us to people of the past and to the history of gift giving and receiving. The gift orients us to the future, to an invisible pledge for ongoing contact.

God’s Gift Giving

Our gift giving also has invisible elements. The God who created us and sustains our being is invisible to us. But God’s gift of human life and this world mediate to us God’s invisible presence. God’s gifts link us to the past, the story of the People of Israel, and orients us to our future, sharing and eternal destiny.


The action of gift giving and receiving can lead to a deeper element of human life. The key components of the Kingdom of God profound: Truth, Life, Holiness, Grace, Justice, Love and Peace. These are not simplistic terms that are easily defined. These elements of God’s Reign are the core of authentic freedom and the living of a fully human life.

Gift giving can disclose a deeper appreciation of what is a truly authentic existence. Since all life is a gift from God, all these gifts of God echo this primal core and can lead to a more profound appreciation of what is deepest in our lives.

God’s Gift Giving

God’s gifts look ahead to the coming Kingdom of God. The Sacraments have an end-time , age to come <eschatological> element.  A definition of Sacraments that highlights the end-time:

Sacrament takes place when the age to come  chooses, touches, exorcises (or pardons), occupies and consecrates an element of this age and thereby makes itself present.

The sacrament is an echo of the first coming of Christ and an earnest of his second, he himself being the sacrament par excellence.

The sacrament is prophetic in that is for the present age both a threat and a promise, signifying its end and its future, calling it to repentance and hope.

Jean-Jacques von Allmen


Human kind exists in an amazing world that is rich with both simple and complex natural systems. We can perceive both the intricate elements of plant and animal life as well as the vast and varied features of the landscape. Catholics believe that the wonders of creation, including our very lives, can indicate ‘the hand of God’ and mediate signs of a divine presence and plan. We can call this the ‘sacramentality of life.’


We also believe that God’s ‘work’ is evident on earth in another powerful way: in the Sacraments of the Church: an outward visible sign of an inward and invisible grace (St Augustine). Sacraments are signs of God’s presence in the world, they bring about what they signify: God’s special relationship with us. They are gifts we receive that enable and challenge us to be givers. In receiving these sacraments of God’s grace we are sustained, enriched and called forward into the fullness of life, into a relationship with God. Sacraments also demand a response from us; they call for accountability, for building up God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Sometimes sacraments are described as being ‘efficacious’ that is, having an influence or producing an outcome. The visible sign actually affect us in the invisible reality that it signifies.

JESUS THE SACRAMENT- God’s Greatest Gift To Us

Though we speak of seven sacraments in the Catholic Church we also assert that Jesus is the first Sacrament. He is the visible sign of the Father’s invisible presence.

His life, death and resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit, gave life to the Church. This ‘body of Christ’ is also a visible sign of and invisible God. So in a real way we may speak of the Church as another sacrament.

SEVEN SACRAMENTS – Gifts The Christian Journey Of Life

With these two sacraments of Jesus and the Church we add the seven sacraments that may be celebrated in the course of a Christian life: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Holy Orders, Matrimony and Anointing of the Sick. These sacraments initiate a person into the Church and provide moments of healing and transforming grace throughout life’s journey, from the cradle to the grave.

The Origin Of The Word ‘Sacrament’-A Holy Moment

When the Greek New Testament was translated into Latin, the word mysterion was often changed into the Latin word sacramentum (‘sacrament’in English). This Latin word sacramentum meant a holy oath made in the presence of the gods. The early Christians began to use the word sacrament to describe the holy moment in which Jesus was with his Church.

INITIATION SACRAMENTS – Gifts That Build On Each Other

The sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are the three rites that welcome and admit a new member into the Catholic Church. Baptism and Confirmation have a permanent effect and can’t be repeated whereas the Eucharist, crucial to Catholic belief and celebrated each Sunday, is the source and summit of Christian life. The Eucharist remembers, re-enacts and re-actualizes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the forging of a new covenant between God and his people.

SERVICE SACRAMENTS – Gifts For The Church And The World

The sacraments of service are Marriage and Holy Orders. God is present and active when couples devote themselves to live and work with each other in married life. God healing and transforming grace is also present and when men respond to a call to serve the people of God and are ordained as deacons, priests and bishops. Holy Orders have a permanent effect and can’t be repeated.

HEALING SACRAMENTS – Gifts For The Sick In Body And Soul

Reconciliation (sometimes called ‘Penance’ or ‘Confession’) and Anointing of the Sick are the sacraments of healing. They can be received more than once, in fact the Church advises regular Reconciliation. These sacraments indicate that God is present and active in difficult times, such as when forgiveness is needed or when Christian faith is challenged by illness. Through these sacraments Jesus is present and continues to forgive and heal the members of his body, the Church.


Jesus Christ is referred to as the sacrament. Of all the visible signs we have that can mediate God’s presence, the most complete is Jesus himself. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9). The mystery of God’s plan is ‘summed up’ or revealed in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

Jesus is both a gift from God and a ‘giver’ of God’s presence. He directed people to God and described himself as the way to God. Jesus means in Hebrew “God saves.”


Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan by his cousin, John. After his baptism he began his ministry, the healing and teaching that showed God’s love and care for humankind, especially for the marginalized and the poor.

“In his baptism, Jesus descended into the sinful history of all mankind. By doing so he established a sign. In order to redeem us from our sins, he would one day be submerged in death but, through his Father’s power, reawakened to life.” (CCC 535-537)


Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus’ baptism by John

John 14:1-6  Jesus, the way, the truth and the life

Col 1:15 – Jesus, the image of the invisible God

JESUS’ LIFE: God’s gift to us

In Jesus Christ, God became one of us by sharing fully our human life. The Father’s gift to human kind is the sending of His son, to be incarnate, sharing our flesh.

In the person, actions and words of Jesus, God revealed himself to us, thereby enabling us to share a special relationship with him. Through Jesus, God also gave us a means of salvation, the entrance eternal life. The gift of Jesus’ is Good News for humankind.

“Yes. Jesus “worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. (Second Vatican
Council, GS. 22,2) (CCC 470-476)

JESUS DEATH: his gift to us

During Jesus’ ministry on earth he consistently gave of himself through healing, teaching and friendship. Jesus ultimate gift was the offering of his life, sacrificing himself in atonement for our sins.

“Christ, our Redeemer, chose the Cross so as to bear the guilt of the world and to suffer the pain of the world. So he brought the world back home to God by his perfect love. (CCC 613-617)

JESUS’ RESURRECTION: The Father’s gift of salvation

In raising Jesus from the dead the Father fulfilled the Scriptures and gave us access to eternal life.

Because death is no longer the end of everything, joy and hope came into the world. Now that death “no longer has dominion” (Rom 6:9) over Jesus, it has no more power over us, either, who belong to Jesus.” (CCC 655,658)

The supreme gift that we have been given in our lives is the gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Him we have died and risen to new life. To add to this gift of salvation the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into our lives to enable us to live as saved people.

Following the Ascension of Jesus the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Church and the world. This final gift of the Spirit remains with us for ever.


Jesus invites each of us to build a special relationship with him, and through him, with the Father. The Holy Spirit dwelling amongst us enables this to come about.

This relationship that is initiated by God and celebrated in the sacraments demands a response.
We can choose to reply to this call in many ways: though prayer, reading of Scripture, interacting with others and engaging in a fully Christian life. We respond to Jesus’ invitation by opening a door to living a fully authentic life.
We show our accountability to following God’s call when we seek justice, forgive others and to witness to God’s Kingdom, here and now. 

Gifts Reveal Something Of The Giver

In the Incarnation the Father revealed to the world the love he has for all creation and for human kind. By sending His Son the Father show his loving care for humans who had lost their way, like sheep without a shepherd. The life and person of Jesus is also the story of a Father’s love for his great creation: human kind.

Gifts Include Invisible Elements

The death of Christ was not just the killing of one person. This death was a saving event for us and for all human kind. The offering of his life to the Father was world changing event.

Jesus whole life was one of ‘signs’ of an invisible God. John’s Gospel is filled with signs of the Father’s glory. Jesus is God’s gift from the Father. He is still invisibly present in our midst, especially seen in the poor and needy.

Gifts Leads To Something Deeper.

The saving death and resurrection of Christ enable the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon the world. This event opened the gates of heaven and gave the hope of eternal life to humankind. There was much more to the Christ event than the death and resurrection of one person. Jesus is the sacrament of the Father, he leads us to pastures where he give us repose, to restful waters, to the deeper reality of Being, to the banquet of heaven.

THE SACRAMENT OF THE CHURCH – Christ’s Gift To The World.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Body of Christ’ or the ‘People of God’, the Church is also a sacrament: a sign and a means of God’s grace. The Church is Christ’s gift to the world. Energized by the Holy Spirit the Church extends the mission of Christ and strengthens the unity among her members, facilitating the salvation that God offers humankind.

The Greek word for Church, ekklesia means “those who are called forth.” All of us who are baptized and believe in God are called forth by Lord. Together we are the Church. Christ is, as Paul says, the Head of the Church. We are his body. (CCC 748-757)

Members of the Church can build their relationship with God through prayer, liturgy and Sacraments.

The Holy Spirit and the Church

The Holy Spirit acts through the Church in a life-giving way, which is called grace. The seven sacraments are visible ways through which the Holy Spirit participates in the life of the Church.


Matt 28:18        Jesus’ Commissioning His Disciples

John 15:12        Jesus’ New Commandment Of Love

John 14:26        Jesus’ Promise Of The Holy Spirit

1 Cor 1:2             The Call Of Church Members

Eph 1:22             Jesus As The Head Of The Church
2 Cor 5:18          The Church’s Ministry Of Reconciliation

Historical Foundations

The Church was founded by Jesus Christ and made possible through his death and resurrection.

Following his Ascension, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, whose presence at the first Pentecost brought the Church alive. Its members were inspired and equipped to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Early Christians called their communities Church.

Catholic (Greek kat holon) means related to whole. The Church is catholic because Christ called her to profess the whole faith, to preserve all the sacraments, to administer them and proclaim the Good News to all; and he sent her to all nations. (CCC 830-831)

Participating In The Body Of Christ

Anyone can become a member of the Church by accepting and responding to Jesus’ divinity and being baptised. In joining the Body of Christ that person can come into a relationship with God and begin a life with Jesus as their companion. They can enter into the life of the Church and other sacraments.

As a member of the Church members are called to respond by building the Kingdom of God, working to improve the quality of life for all by promoting reconciliation and unity.

Gifts Reveal Something Of The Giver

In the Incarnation, the gift of Jesus to humanity, the Father revealed to the world His nature.

Gifts Includes Invisible Elements.

The death of Christ was not just the killing of one person. This death was a saving event for us and for all human kind.

Gifts Leads To Something Deeper.

The saving death and resurrection of Christ enable the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon the world, it opened the gates of heaven and gave the hope of eternal life to humankind. There was much more to this than a simple death and resurrection of one person.

TYPE OF SACRAMENT: BAPTISM – The First Gift Of God’s Grace

Baptism is a Sacrament of Initiation into the Church. It’s the foundation sacrament, the basis for Christian life and ‘gateway’ to other sacraments.

Baptism animates the soul as a child of God. Baptism is a ‘rebirth’ of the person in Christ. This sacrament is received only once.


A person of any age can receive the Sacrament of Baptism, though in our community we are often baptized as babies.

Scriptural Basis for Christian Baptism


Mark 1:7-8 John the Baptist foretells Jesus’ ministry and baptism
Mark 16:16 Jesus’ instruction

Compare the three immersions:

  • Jesus goes into the water Mark 1:9-12
  • Jesus and three disciples are covered with a cloud Mark 9:2-8
  • The women go into a tomb and meet a young person in a white garment Mark 16:1-8


Matthew 3:13-17   Jesus’ baptism by John
Matthew 28:16-20 Jesus’ instruction to the disciples


John 3:5-8         Nicodemus’ inquiry into baptism


Acts 1:4-5 Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:38-42   Peter’s instruction


Romans 6:3-4 Baptism and “new life” in Christ
Gal 3:27 Baptism as ‘putting on Christ”
1 Corinthians 12:13   Baptism becoming “one body”


A bishop, priest or deacon usually administers baptism. In an emergency it can be administered by or any person with the intention of baptising.

Historical foundation

The word Baptism comes from the Greek word baptizein, which means to plunge or immerse.
The Catholic practice of Baptism attested in the Scriptures has its foundation in earliest Tradition, the practice of the infant Church.

Jesus himself was baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. The practice of baptising in the Church is attested at the Pentecost event (Acts 2:38). The practice of infant baptism is recorded in the second century. It is possible that such practices occurred even earlier in the life of the Church, since whole ‘households’ were baptised in some cases (Acts 16:15,33).


During the sacrament of Baptism, the celebrant, the newly baptised (if able) parents and Godparents pray the Our Father.

The Blessing Of Water

The Blessing Of Chrism

The Prayer of Anointing a newly baptized with Sacred Chrism

The tracing of the Sign of the Cross in the forehead of the one to be baptized

The Prayer over the white garment

Essential signs and actions

The baptismal ceremony includes the family and friends of the one to be baptized. The Deacon, Priest or Bishop leading the ceremony. The key element is water.The newly baptised is anointed with Sacred Chrism, clothed in a white garment and given a candle that is lit from the Paschal Candle, the symbol of Jesus’ Easter victory over death.

The ‘pin drop’ moment of the Sacrament.

<All elements of a Sacrament explore the gracious gift from God.
In some Sacraments there are key moments that define the whole celebration.>

In the sacrament of Baptism the celebrant pours water on, or immerses the recipient in, water while saying, ‘I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’

Effects and response

The effects of Christian baptism are many:

Through Baptism a person is adopted by God and enters God’s family. The baptised, having become a brother or sister of Christ and member of Church, is able to celebrate the sacraments of God’s grace. Baptism itself is a sacrament of regeneration in which the individual is freed from original sin and restored to life in Christ. The baptised are strengthened in hope, trust and care for others and given transforming grace to live a new life in God.

Gifts Reveal Something Of The Giver

In the Incarnation, the gift of Jesus to humanity, the Father revealed to the world His nature.

Giving A Gift Includes Invisible Elements.

The death of Christ was not just the killing of one person. This death was a saving event for us and for all human kind.

Giving a Gift Leads To Something Deeper.

The saving death and resurrection of Christ enable the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon the world, it opened the gates of heaven and gave the hope of eternal life to humankind. There was much more to this than a simple death and resurrection of one person.

TYPE OF SACRAMENT: CONFIRMATION –Gifts Of The Spirit, Building On Baptism

Confirmation from the Latin, confirmation – strengthening, consolidating. As the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples gathered at Pentecost, so the Holy Spirit comes to every baptized person for whom the Church requests the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Conformation is the sacrament that completes Baptism; in it the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed on us.  Anyone who asks for God’s Spirit under the signs of imposition of hands and anointing with Christ receives the strength to witness to God’s love and might in deed and word. (CCC 1285-1314)

“When a coach sends a soccer player onto the playing field, he puts his hand on his shoulder and gives him final instructions. In Confirmation a hand is placed upon us and we step onto the field of life.”

Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, Brougham, Australia, p 120

Confirmation is the second of the sacraments of initiation that increases and deepens the graces of Baptism. Through Confirmation the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are secured and strengthened to be living witness to the person of Christ.


Confirmation can be received by any Catholic Christian who has received the sacrament of Baptism. (CCC 1306-1311) This sacrament can be received once.

Adults of any age may be confirmed. Each diocese sets the age at which the sacrament is conferred on young people. In many dioceses this is when children are in their early teens, although it can be administered at a younger or older age.

In the Eastern Rite of the Catholic faith the priest administers Confirmation immediately after the baptism of an infant.


Acts 2: 1-4 The Pentecost experience of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 6:2 Baptism and confirmation are separate
John 14:15-17 Christ’s promise of sending the Holy Spirit as an advocate
Isaiah 11:2
The gifts of the Holy Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 he fruits of the Holy Spirit


Confirmation is administered by a bishop, or by a priest authorised by a bishop.

Historical foundation

In the Old Testament the People of God expected the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Messiah. The special Spirit of Jesus was the “Holy Spirit” for whom the people of Israel longed; this was the same Spirit whom Jesus promised his disciples. (CCC 1285-1288)

Before Jesus ascended to Heaven he told his apostles that he would send the Holy Spirit. The descent of the Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost, which became an annual feast referred to in Acts (20:16) and the First Letter to the Corinthians (16:8). This feast, held 50 days after Easter, replaced the Jewish feast of Pentecost, which celebrated the sealing of the Old Covenant.

The word Pentecost derives from the Greek pentekostos, which means 50.

The earliest Christians received the three sacraments of initiation at once. Aroundthe fifth or sixth century confirmation began to be administered in the Latin Church at a later date to accommodate larger groups of Christians.

Un-baptised adults received into the Church today receive all three sacraments at once.


During the sacrament of Confirmation the celebrant, the congregation and the parents and sponsors gather to celebrate the gifts that will be poured out on the one to be confirmed.

Essential signs and actions, words and objects used.

The minister imposes hands on the candidates and anoints their foreheads with holy chrism while saying: “Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” Chrism from the Greek chrisma, oil of anointing, is an ointment made out of olive oil and balsam. Oil is a symbol of joy, strength and health. People anointed with Chrism are called to spread the “aroma of Christ” (2 Cor 2:15).

The ‘pin drop’ moment of the Sacrament of Confirmation

<All elements of a Sacrament explore the gracious gift from God.
In some Sacraments there are key moments that define the whole celebration.>

The celebrant anoints the person receiving this sacrament (often on the forehead) with chrism and says, ‘be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit’. The celebrant places their hands on the person’s head and prays for the reception of the Holy Spirit.

Effects and response

Confirmation has a strengthening effect on Church, affirming the children of God and reinforcing a witness to Jesus.

It increases the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the ones confirmed. These donations can build relationships, unity and purpose as well as helping them find and live out their calling.

A confirmed person, who is open to the graces of the Holy Spirit, is more able to grow in these qualities and act on the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The Gift Of The Confirmation Demands Some Actions

It goes without saying that the graces of the Holy Spirit are restless and demand to be used, for the good of the Christian community and for the benefit of the world.

Gifts Reveal Something Of the Giver

Since Confirmation is a Sacrament that is given to older children or teenagers they can be more attentive to the Person of God who gives these graces.
If the one confirmed recognizes in their lives the gifts of the Holy Spirit that they possess then their thanksgiving to God for these graces becomes an authentic prayer of praise.

The Eucharist, during which the Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated, is the liturgy that offers perfect thanks to God for all God’s gifts.

Gifts Include Invisible Elements

 Building on the gifts of grace given at Baptism the Sacrament of Confirmation brings new gifts to the candidates. These gifts of the Holy Spirit bring a fuller share in God’s life.

Gifts Leads To Something Deeper

The gift of the graces of Confirmation builds on the gift of Baptism. The dying and rising with Christ commenced at the baptismal font is taken to a new level with the gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

TYPE OF SACRAMENT: EUCHARIST- Thanksgiving For God’s Greatest Gift

Eucharist is the sacrament in which Jesus gives his Body and Blood – himself – for us, so that we might also give ourselves to him in love and be united with him in Holy Communion. In the Eucharist we are joined with the Body of Christ. (CCC 1322,1324)

Eucharist, sometimes referred to as ‘communion’ or ‘Holy communion’, is the third sacrament of initiation; it completes one’s induction into the Catholic Church. All other sacraments, ministries and works are oriented towards this “source and summit of the Christian life” (Second Vatican Council, LG, 11).

After receiving first Eucharist, this sacrament can be received weekly at Sunday Mass, or more frequently.


A baptised person who wants to be in unity with the Church and who understands the nature of the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ.


Matthew 26:26-29 The Last Supper
Luke 24:28-35 Jesus breaks bread with the disciples at Emmaus
Acts 2: 42 The earliest Christian practice, the breaking of bread
1 Corinthians 10: 16 -19 Our participation in the blood and body of Christ at the Eucharist
1 Corinthians 11:24-27 The oldest account of the events at the Last Supper.

The First Eucharist- Jesus Gives The Ancient Passover A New Context.

Jesus celebrated the Passover in the Upper Room the night before he died. The disciples thought they would be commemorating the liberation from Egypt but Jesus gave the meal a totally new context: He looked forward to the coming day and celebrated the liberation of all humankind from the power of death. The new ‘blood of the lamb’ was Jesus’ not the Temple sacrifices. This is the Paschal Mystery.

Every liturgy is an Easter in miniature. Jesus reveals his passage from death to life and celebrates it with us.

(CCC 1322,1324)


Actually Christ himself acts in every celebration of the Eucharist. The Bishop or Priest represents him. (CCC 1348)

A priest or bishop can consecrate the Eucharist, they stand at the altar in the person of Christ. A deacon or authorised layperson, sometimes called a Minister of the Eucharist, can distribute communion.

Historical foundation

St Paul’s letters, written between 40 and 60 AD, refer to the celebration of Eucharist and its origins in Jesus’ words and actions at the Last Supper.The Greek word, eucharistia, means thanksgiving. The word, Eucharist, initially referred the special prayer of thanksgiving over the bread and wine. Later it was applied to the whole celebration: the Gathering of the community, the Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist and Dismissal Rite. The Christian Eucharist, in renewing the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, replaced the Jewish sacrifices, including those of thanksgiving.

The Word Of God Drives The Sacrament Of Eucharist.

With all the Sacraments the Word of God is read and sets the theme for the action of God and the graces that are received in the liturgy. In the Eucharist several passages from the Sacred Scriptures are read. The Word of God that is read at each sacrament alerts the participants to the gifts the Christian community has received in the past. The readings prepare hearts for the reception of new graces and offer a pledge of God’s future blessings.

Essential signs and actions

At the Eucharist, the priest or bishop takes, blesses, breaks and shares the Eucharist, just as Jesus did at the Last Supper. The Eucharist, in both forms, is offered to the person receiving the sacrament with the words,  ‘The body of Christ’, or ‘The blood of Christ’. The person receiving the sacrament responds, ‘Amen’.

The ‘pin drop’ moment of the Sacrament of Eucharist.

<All elements of a Sacrament explore the gracious gift from God.
In some Sacraments there are key moments that define the whole celebration.>

In the Eucharistic Prayer the celebrant speaks the words of consecration over the bread and wine, transforming them into the body and blood of Jesus. “This is my body…..This is my blood.”

Consecration, from the Latin, consecratio, to hallow or sanctify, is a solemn act of making something holy. The Eucharistic Prayer has eight elements that commence with an Introductory Dialogue and conclude with the Doxology, a solemn conclusion of a prayer.

The Consecration is prayed over the bread and wine in the mid-point of the Eucharistic Prayer the remembrance of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, the Institution Narrative.

All elements of the Eucharistic Prayer have a long history demand careful attention from the participants at Mass.

Effects and response

The Eucharist, which represents a fundamental transformation of bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood, can also change us. We, the participants, are enabled by the Holy Spirit to grow in our relationship with God and in our love and care for our neighbors.

The Gift Of The Eucharist Demands Some Actions

In our first Eucharist we are called to participate more fully in God’s plan. We continue, with each Eucharist, to be spiritually fed and drawn into greater unity with Jesus and with each other. Consequently, we are called to feed the hungry of the world through our words and actions.

Gifts Reveal Something Of The Giver – And The Receiver!

A key theme in the celebration of the Eucharist is gift giving. The bread and wine that is processed to the altar reveal to us something of our fragile human existence: we cannot live without consuming something from outside ourselves- food and drink! Bread and wine that people have planted, harvested, reaped and processed sustain us.

The meager gifts of bread and wine symbolize, first of all, our need for nourishment.

In the Eucharistic prayer they reveal something greater: the presence of Christ amongst us, the “living bread, which came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51).

Gifts Include Invisible Elements

Eating the broken Bread and drinking the Blood poured out for us achieves an invisible action: we are united with Christ who is made present in the Mass. The invisible Christ is made visible under the forms of bread and wine and we are joined to him in participating in the Eucharist.

A further invisible element is the connection of the Eucharist to the other sacraments.

Eucharist is the mysterious centre of all the sacraments. Though all sacraments are related to Christ’s Calvary and Resurrection event; the Eucharist is the “source and summit of Christian life.”

Giving a Gift Leads To Something Deeper.

The gift of Jesus’ death was more than a single suffering of one man. His sacrifice had an invisible effect: it embraced all people of every era, all human history. Whereas the disciples came to celebrate the memory of Moses’ Passover at the Last Supper Jesus gave them the gift of the Eucharist uniting them to something deeper: his death and resurrection.

The Eucharist has a transient element, it transports the participants to something deeper than a mere community gathering. The Mass re-actualizes the event of Jesus’ death, resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit.


The sacrament of Penance is also called the sacrament of Reconciliation, of forgiveness, of conversion, or of confession. (CCC 1422-1424)

Its purpose is to restore us to God and God’s grace, from which sin blocks us. It involves a person confessing their sins, for which they are sorry, to a priest and receiving ‘absolution’ or forgiveness and penance – an act, such as a prayer, to show sincere sorrow.

After the first experience of the sacrament it should be received regularly.

Only God can forgive sins. Jesus could say, “ Your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2:5) only because he was the Son of God. Priests can forgive sins in Jesus’ place only because Jesus has given them that authority. (CCC 1441-1442)


A baptised person who has reached the age of reason.


Matthew 16:19 What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven
Luke 15:11-32 The Parable of the Prodigal Son
John 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.


A bishop or a priest can administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Historical foundation

The foundations for this sacrament are in Jesus’ appearance to his Apostles on the first Easter Sunday, when he granted them authority to forgive sins (John 20:22-23) as part of their mission.

The encounter of Jesus with his disciples after his resurrection is instructive. To those who betrayed and deserted him Jesus greets warmly, invites them to share a breakfast meal and commissions them to continue his work for the Kingdom of God.  

The Word Of God Drives The Sacrament Of Reconciliation.
Essential signs and actions

The sacrament commences with a scripture reading that reminds the penitent of
God’s unfailing forgiveness and love for human kind seen in the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

This sacrament involves a person confessing, or telling, their sins to a priest. The person needs to be sorry for their sins. The priest grants absolution, or forgiveness with the words, ‘I absolve you…’.

The words of absolution spoken by the priest are the outward sign of this sacrament. The inward sign is reconciliation of the person to God. The priest also gives the person an act of penance.

The ‘pin drop’ moment of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

<All elements of a Sacrament explore the gracious gift from God.
In some Sacraments there are key moments that define the whole celebration.>

The confession of sins.

The prayer of Absolution

God, the Father of Mercy, by the death and Resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church may he grant you pardon and peace. And I absolve you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Gift Of Reconciliation Demands Some Actions
Gifts Reveal Something Of the Giver

The Christian who comes to another and asks forgiveness for a failing truly reveals themselves. Just as one who cannot say sorry reveals a hardness of heart the act of apology discloses a truly humble human person. It is a gift that penitent people give to themself as well as a gift to another when you apologize. The prodigal son parable is a multiple story of gift giving and gift rejecting.

Gifts Include Invisible Elements

Every Sacrament belongs to a larger system. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, connected to other sacraments, also belongs to the larger system of personal apology and confession as well as the worldwide need for local, national and international forgiveness.

With every sacrament the ‘invisible’ death and resurrection of Christ is made present. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation invisibly present is Christ’s healing and transforming grace. The penitent is forgiven and is strengthened to sin no more. The sacrament refreshes the soul.

Gifts Leads To Something Deeper

The penitent who asks for forgiveness becomes more truly human, more authentically a follower of Christ. The Gospel of Mark, the first written, is filled with disappointing disciples who fail Christ. The go on to lead the early church, labor for the Gospel and proclaim God healing and transforming love. Like the Apostles penitent Christians are deeply human people who get up and walk on having heard the healing words of Jesus’ forgiveness.

With every sacrament there is a concluding word in the celebration. The commission is given to “Go and announce the Gospel” or “glorify the Lord by your life.” In the sacrament of Reconciliation the charge is to go and live out the death and resurrection of Christ that has just been celebrated.

The act of penance is an instruction to go and live out the new life, the new start that you have been given in Christ. Go and immediately use the new gift of grace that has been given to your soul.


Ordination comes from the Latin word ordinatio, which means to incorporate someone into an order.

The man ordained receives a gift of the Holy Spirit that gives him a sacred authority that is conferred on him by Christ through the bishop. (CCC 1538)

Holy Orders is a sacrament of service; the power and mission of the sacrament is for our brothers and sisters in faith.  Its purpose is to continue the priesthood that Jesus bestowed on his apostles, who dedicated their lives to the service of the Church, as Jesus did.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders, and the graces received are not to be hoarded by the ministers. They are gifts that bring invisible elements and lead to a deeper life in God.

Whilst Holy Orders is only one sacrament, it has three levels: bishops, priests and deacons. It can only be received once at each level of ordination.


Acts 6:3-6 Choosing and anointing leaders
Acts 13: 2-3 Leaders set apart


A bishop administers the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Historical foundation

The origins of this sacrament come from Jesus fulfilling the duties of the Old Testament priesthood once and for all when he offered himself on the cross. In the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the priesthood of Jesus.

Essential signs and actions

In administering this sacrament the bishop places his hands on the head of the ordinand, the one receiving Holy Orders, and prays that God will give the necessary gifts for the ministry of a bishop, priest or deacon. The prayer imprints upon the souls of these men an indelible seal that can never be lost. (CCC 1562-1568)

The ‘pin drop’ moment of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

<All elements of a Sacrament explore the gracious gift from God.
In some Sacraments there are key moments that define the whole celebration.>

Effects and response

Each level of this sacrament confers particular graces that build up the Body of Christ– the ability to preach (deacons), to celebrate Mass (priests and bishops) and the strength of leadership and teaching (bishops). Those ordained are also given the grace of the Holy Spirit to exercise powers in persona Christi.

The Gift Of Holy Orders Demands Some Actions
Gifts Include Invisible Elements

 The Sacrament links the ordained minister to the task embraced by the disciples. It joins todays mission for the Gospel with the history of the Body of Christ.

Gifts Leads To Something Deeper

What could be deeper than receiving a special grace that enables an ordained minister to become the person of Christ for others?

This depth of the sacrament can never fully be plumbed by the human minister who is entrusted with this great gift:

  • to make Christ present for the Christian community
  • to represent Christ for that community


The sacrament of Matrimony comes about through a promise made by a man and a woman before God and the Church. (CCC 1625)

Marriage is a sacrament of giving and receiving, it incorporates the decision to reveal oneself to another, and leads to a deeper appreciation of human life, one that includes the co-creation of human life.

The unique relationship of a married couple is regarded by the Church as a symbol of Christ’s love for the Church, and a sign of the unity in which we are called to live.

It is a witness of love, commitment, fidelity and openness to children.


This sacrament is administered to a baptised man and woman who understand the commitment they are making in this sacrament.


John  2:1-1 Miracle at the marriage feast of Cana- the gift of new wine.
Ephesians 5:31-32 – Married couple as ‘one flesh’

God’s covenant with Israel was like a spiritual marriage. God was present, intimate and active in the lives of the People of God, around them.

In the incarnation God became even more intimately present. In Jesus we have a God who walks beside us.

With the sending of the Holy Spirit we have a God inside us.

God’s relationship with His People, and Jesus relationship with the Church is often referred to in terms of a loving marriage.


This marriage sacrament is conferred (freely given) by the spouses on each other. A priest is the Church’s witness to this exchange of vows and calls down God’s blessing on the couple.

Historical foundation

The origins of this sacrament are found in the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11), which Jesus attended. The sacrament of marriage has three necessary elements: free consent, a commitment to a life long union, and the openness to having children. 

(CCC 1644-1654)

Essential signs and actions:

In the sacrament of marriage, there must be mutual consent of a man and a woman for lifelong, exclusive union with the intention or openness to children. The sign of this sacrament is the expression of vows, the words spoken to each other.

The ‘pin drop’ moment of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

<All elements of a Sacrament explore the gracious gift from God.
In some Sacraments there are key moments that define the whole celebration.>

The exchange of vows: I, N…………, take you, N…………., to be my

Effects and response

As a result of this sacrament the spouses receive special healing and transforming grace of Jesus Christ.

Gifts Include Invisible Elements

The vows the couple offer to each other echo the self giving of Christ to the Father in his saving death. Invisibly presents in the Sacrament of Matrimony is the gift Christ offered on Calvary.

Gifts Leads To Something Deeper

The possibility of children and building a family is a real hope for married couples. The building up of the world peoples and the building of the People of God are real endeavors for Christian families.


This sacrament is one of healing and of faith. It has previously known as the ‘last rights’, ‘sacrament of the dying’ or ‘extreme unction’.

Its purpose is of this sacrament is to offer the gift of God’s special graces on those experiencing the difficulties of old age or serious illness. The human experience of illness challenges a person’s faith in God. The simple recognition that a sickness has rendered a person homebound can be a challenge to faith.

When a person cannot get around the suburb, to church, or to other gatherings that one can begin to doubt God’s care for them.
They may fear that, with the loss of health or agility, the gift of faith has also gone. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick challenges and confronts that faith test.

This Sacrament may be received more than once.


Any baptised person can receive this sacrament.


John 9:1-12 Jesus heals the blind man.
James 5: 13-15 Praying for the sick and the laying of hands.
Mark 6:7-13 Jesus’ instruction to his Apostles.
Psalm 23:4 “Though I walk the valley of death I do not fear”


A priest or a bishop administered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

Historical foundation

In the Old Testament sickness was often experienced as a severe trial. The life and ministry of Jesus challenged that belief.

This sacrament has its foundation in the healing ministry of Jesus and in his Apostles’ ministry. Jesus came in order to show God’s love. He often did this in places where we feel especially threatened: in the weakening of our life through sickness.

(CCC 1503-1505)

Jesus designated care of the sick as a central task for his disciples. He commanded them to “Heal the sick” (Mt 10:8).

The early Church Fathers referred to the practice of this sacrament.

Essential signs and actions

A priest visits the sick person. The greeting recognizes that God is present in the gathering. The Scriptures are read, and the word of God offers hope for the suffering one confident that as Christ comforted the sick His cares and grace will be found again.

The ‘pin drop’ moment of the Sacrament.

<All elements of a Sacrament explore the gracious gift from God.
In some Sacraments there are key moments that define the whole celebration.>

This sacrament is administered when the priest anoints the person on the forehead and hands with holy oil and prays for healing and forgiveness.


‘Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.’

Effects and response

This sacrament confers forgiveness of sins and graces to comfort and strengthen the ill person, who may be facing anxiety, fear, doubt and apprehension.  The effect of this sacrament is to increase the person’s ability to cope and accept, to embrace God’s will and to experience peace.

The Sacrament of Anointing also encourages the wider Church community that they will find faith assistance in difficult times.

Gifts Include Invisible Elements

A key element of Christianity has always been the care offered to the elderly, the sick and the needy. When Christians are really Christian, a healing influence goes out from them

Anointing of the sick imparts consolation, peace and strength and unites the sick person with Christ in a profound way. (CCC 1520-1523)

Gifts Leads To Something Deeper

Sick people have an instinct for the essential things. In the New Testament the sick people sought out the presence of Jesus; they tried “to touch him for power came forth from him and healed them all” (Lk 6:19)

  Sacrament Essential sign and action Recipient Minister
Initiation Baptism Washing with water whilst saying “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the HolySpirit.” An unbaptised person of any age. Bishop, priest, Deacon or, in the case of emergency, any person with the intention of baptising.
Confirmation Prayer of Confirmation, Anointing with Chrism and laying-on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. A baptised person. A bishop or priest authorised by the bishop
Eucharist Doing as Jesus did at the Last Supper – blessing bread and wine using his words and actions. A baptised person. Only a bishop or a priest can consecrate the Eucharist. A deacon or authorised layperson can distribute Communion.
Healing Reconciliation Confessing sins aloud with true sorrow and receiving absolution and penance. A baptised person who has reached the age of reason. A bishop or priest
Anointing of the sick Anointing with Holy Oil accompanied by a prayer asking for forgiveness and healing. A baptized person who has reached the age of reason. A bishop or priest.
Service Holy Orders Laying-on of hands with a prayer asking God to give the appropriate powers and ministry. An adult baptised man. A bishop.
Matrimony Mutual consent freely given of a man and women to live together until death, and with the intention of raising a family. A baptised man and a baptised women The couple ministers this sacrament to each other in the presence of a deacon, priest or bishop.