Sacraments


“The sacraments are 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.

Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.”

(Catechism of the Catholic Church. 1131, 1210)

WHAT IS A SACRAMENT?

A sacrament is a visible sign, or ritual experience, in which we encounter Christ’s saving love in the context of Church community. In this event, our capacity to be open to Christ’s actions depend upon the maturity and depth of our faith disposition. Therefore, the sacramental event is like a dialogue or encounter between Christ and ourselves, as members of the Church community.

In the 4th-century theologian St. Augustine’s definition, the sacraments are “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace.”

Eucharist

Also called Holy Communion, this sacrament unites us directly with Jesus. Through union with him and with one another, we are truly joined as a community. We know this because the Gospel tells us in Luke 22:19: “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.’”
 
 
Jesus is truly present under the form bread and wine, which literally becomes the Body and Blood of Christ during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Receiving Jesus in Holy Communion allows us to form a real union with him and to be strengthened by his divine grace. Holy Communion is offered at every Mass and should be received only by Catholics who are in a state of grace. If you are aware of having committed a serious sin, you should not present yourself for communion until after receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
 


Baptism

This sacrament begins our Christian life. Baptism marks us as one who has been saved by Jesus Christ and sanctified with the Spirit of God.
 
In order to have your child baptized, you must be a registered member of our parish. You will need at least one practicing Catholic in good standing to serve as godparents. If the child is your first, you must participate in a baptism-preparation class.
 
To schedule a baptism or find out about classes, call the parish office at (865) 457-4073.
 


Confirmation

This sacrament is one’s full initiation into the Church community. Confirmation completes the grace of baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal, or “confirm,” the baptized in union with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church.

For more information, contact the parish office.


Marriage

Marriage is the rite by which the matrimonial union becomes a sign of God’s love and union with his people: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25)
 
Marriage preparation and counseling sessions are required. Please contact the church office at (865) 457-4073 to schedule an appointment at least four months in advance of your planned wedding date. Couples are also asked to complete an Engaged Encounter Weekend.
 


Reconciliation

Also called penance or confession, the sacrament of reconciliation is the formal celebration of a sinner’s repentance and God’s immediate forgiveness. Reconciliation celebrates and reminds us of God’s mercy and helps us experience divine forgiveness. In the sacrament of reconciliation we experience that forgiveness and are reconciled once again with God, with the Church, and with ourselves.
 


Anointing of the sick

This sacrament, which is the liturgical prayer for those who are seriously ill or preparing for surgery, was previously called “last rites” or “extreme unction.” Anointing of the sick celebrates and reminds us of God’s compassion and helps us experience spiritual and sometimes physical strengthening when we are ill. The signs of holy oil and laying on of hands used in administering this sacrament express our faith in God’s power over sickness and the meaning of suffering in the life of the community. One does not need to be near death to receive the sacrament.
 
 
If you or someone you know is about to have surgery, suffering from terminal illness or declining health, please contact the parish office to arrange for the administration of the sacrament.
 


Holy Orders

The sacrament of Holy Orders – the ordination of priests and deacons – is only performed by the Bishop after lengthy preparation by the candidates. If you are interested in the priesthood, please make your inquiry to the diocesan vocations office.