The Sacraments of the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church recognizes seven sacraments, instituted by Christ. The Sacraments have the power of giving grace from the merits of Jesus Christ. Some of the Sacraments give sanctifying grace, and others increase it in our souls. Baptism and Reconciliation give sanctifying grace because they take aware the stain of sin on our souls. Holy Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick increase sanctifying grace because those who receive them worthily are already living the life of grace. The Sacraments always give grace, if we receive them with the right dispositions.
Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven. Baptism is necessary to salvation, because without it we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The priest is the ordinary minister of Baptism; but in case of necessity any one who has the use of reason may baptize. Whoever baptizes should pour water on the head of the person to be baptized, and say, while pouring the water: I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before He died. When our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist the twelve Apostles were present.
Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist by taking bread, blessing, breaking, and giving to His Apostles, saying: Take ye and eat. This is My body; and then by taking the cup of wine, blessing and giving it, saying to them: Drink ye all of this. This is My blood which shall be shed for the remission of Sins. Do this for a commemoration of Me.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament which unites a Christian man and woman in lawful marriage. A Christian man and woman cannot be united in lawful marriage in any other way than by the Sacrament of Matrimony, because Christ raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament. The bond of Christian marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power. The effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony are:
Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven. Penance remits sins and restores the friendship of God to the soul by means of the absolution of the priest.
I know that the priest has the power of absolving from the sins committed after Baptism, because Jesus Christ granted that power to the priests of His Church when He said: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."
Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ. The bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation. The bishop extends his hands over those who are to be confirmed, prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and anoints the forehead of each with holy chrism in the form of a cross.
Holy chrism is a mixture of olive-oil and balm, consecrated by the bishop. In anointing the person he confirms the bishop says: I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Holy Orders is a Sacrament by which bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties. To receive Holy Orders worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace, to have the necessary knowledge and a divine call to this sacred office. Christians should look upon the priests of the Church as the messengers of God and the dispensers of His mysteries. Only bishops can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Extreme Unction is the Sacrament which, through the anointing and prayer of the priest, gives health and strength to the soul, and sometimes to the body, when we are in danger of death from sickness. We should receive Extreme Unction when we are in danger of death from sickness, or from a wound or accident.
We should not wait until we are in extreme danger before we receive Extreme Unction, but if possible we should receive it whilst we have the use of our senses.