Sacraments & Sacramental Preparation
Baptism and Baptismal Preparation Classes
Baptism is an incredible gift from God. In this first sacrament of initiation, we receive the grace of forgiveness from original sin and all personal sins. In baptism, we become the adopted sons and daughters of God and members of his family, the church.
Baptisms are celebrated on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, following the 10:30 AM Mass, except during the season of Lent. Arrangements for baptism must be made in advance with the Parish Office by one parent. Parents and sponsors will need to attend a Baptismal Preparation Class prior to the baptism.
First Reconciliation (2nd Grade)
Instruction for the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a parish based program; preparations for both catholic and public school students include classroom instruction, retreats, and coaching parents to form their own children through Growing Up Catholic.
First Holy Communion (3rd Grade)
Holy Communion is a sacrament of initiation in the Church. In it we are nourished and strengthened for our daily lives. We believe that Jesus Christ is fully present – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The bread and wine are not symbols, but signs of His Real Presence.
Instruction for the Sacrament of Holy Communion is a parish based program; preparations for both catholic and public school students include classroom instruction, coaching parents to form their children through Growing Up Catholic.
Confirmation (11th Grade)
Confirmation is also a sacrament of initiation. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“By the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed” (par. 1285).
Like Baptism, Confirmation can be received only once since it imprints on our soul an indelible spiritual mark. At Confirmation, we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit.
Confirmation is conferred in the 11th grade. Preparation is a parish based program for both catholic and public school students. Instruction includes catechetical studies and service hours. Through the sacrament, youth become fully initiated members of the Body of Christ by and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The candidates choose a patron saint and a sponsor. The patron saint is chosen based on attributes he or she exhibited in life that the candidate wishes to emulate, or for some other similar reason. A man or woman, faithfully living out the Catholic faith, is chosen as a sponsor – to be a support and a role model of Christian living.
For information on Confirmation, call the St. Marys Inter Parish Faith Formation Office at 814-781-1042 and talk with Nick Heise or Mary Lynn Carnovale.
You’re engaged and excited about getting married. Where do you start? What’s the process? Who should you call?
Your first step: Call the church to make sure it is available. It is important to contact the parish as far ahead of your proposed date as possible since weddings are booked quite far in advance. To begin the process, please contact the Church Office at 781-1019 at least six months before your wedding date.
To be married in the Catholic Church, one party to the marriage must be Catholic and both must be free to marry, i.e. either not previously married, or if one was previously married, he/she has received through the Catholic Church a declaration of nullity for that previous marriage. Preparation may include FOCCUS, Pre-Cana, or Engagement Encounter.
Sacrament of the Sick
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is meant to strengthen those who are seriously ill. Many mistakenly think of this Sacrament as “Last Rites.” However, the Church’s teaching is that the Anointing of the Sick is for everyone who is “in danger of death” from sickness or old age. Most serious illnesses and any surgery that requires general anesthetic put us “in danger of death.”
For more information contact the Church Office at 781-1019.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the continuation of Christ’s priesthood, which He bestowed upon His Apostles; thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Holy Orders as “the sacrament of apostolic ministry.” “Ordination” comes from the Latin word ordination, which means to incorporate someone into an order. In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is incorporated into the priesthood of Christ, at one of three levels: the episcopate, the priesthood, or the diaconate. If you are interested in learning more about the diaconate, priesthood or religious life, contact the pastor at 781-1019 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RCIA: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process by which interested persons gradually become members of the Catholic Faith.
The R.C.I.A. is primarily a journey of faith from the awareness of one’s stirring curiosity within one’s own heart to a life commitment of faith, love, and justice lived in communion with Catholics throughout the world. As one travels this path of faith-inquiry they become acquainted with the Catholic Church and all its precepts, practices, and beliefs. It becomes a time to look back at your own life story and see connections to or needs for the gospel story of Good News and the Catholic Faith. And you do not inquire alone; a Sponsor journeys with you throughout the process and beyond. A Sponsor commits to and accompanies the catechumen and is always available should questions or concerns arise. The Sponsor is a practicing Catholic and an active, concerned and committed member of the parish; they have given their time and talent to the R.C.I.A. Program and to those inquiring into the faith.
The R.C.I.A. is, in essence, not a program. It is the church’s way of ministering sensitively to those who seek understanding and membership. It takes a minimum of a full year so candidates experience the yearly calendar of Catholic practice at least one time around in order to make an informed decision. The Church respects the process of one’s inquiry and spiritual renewal and realizes that it should not be hasty, especially for those not accustomed to the fasts and feasts and Sundays and seasons the way Catholics observe them. That is why the R.C.I.A. culminates at the Easter Vigil. The celebration of the Easter Vigil dramatically points to the wellspring of the church’s life: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Adults wishing to become part of our Catholic Faith should contact the Parish Office at 814-781-1019. Participants become part of this year-long program of inquiry and understanding which culminates with Baptism (if not already Baptized), a Profession of Faith and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil.