ST EDMUND’S PARISH AND THE SACRAMENTS
There are Seven Sacraments celebrated by the Catholic Church. They are ceremonies involving symbolic actions and words to signify a particular grace or status which the Church is imparting to an individual or a congregation for their benefit and sanctification.
By far the most frequently celebrated Sacrament is The Eucharist or Mass which incorporates the reception of Holy Communion. This is essentially a liturgical or ceremonial re-enactment of both the Sacrifice of Calvary and The Last Supper at which Jesus instituted the means by which he would remain spiritually present among us, asking that we should “do this in remembrance of me”.
The times of Masses in our parish are published in the weekly newsletter, the notice boards and on this website. Children over the age of seven are prepared for their First Holy Communion in our school or by arrangement with the Parish Priest.
This is the Sacrament by which an individual is incorporated into the Church as a full member. It can only be received once. The Catholic Church recognises Baptism administered by other Christian churches or by anyone (eg nurses) who may administer it in danger of death. Essentially it involves pouring water (a symbol of washing) while saying “I baptise you in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (see Matthew 28,19). Children should be baptised as soon as possible, preferably before their first birthday. Adults already baptised or wishing to be baptised can be received into the Catholic Church after a period of preparation. Apply to the Parish Priest.
By this Sacrament we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is closely linked with Baptism and adults usually receive it at the baptismal ceremony. For those baptised as children it is an opportunity in their teenage years to make the personal commitment to Christ and his Church which they were too young to appreciate when baptised.
In our parish this Sacrament, which is administered by the bishop or his delegate, is normally celebrated every 3 years after an eight month preparation course.
Popularly known as “Confession”, this Sacrament reflects the words of Jesus to his apostles “whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven”. The priest represents Christ in granting his promised forgiveness by the words of absolution, but he is also there to give comfort and advice to those who seek it. He is not there to “tick you off”. Within the deanery (an area covering four parishes) we have reconciliation services (with two or more priests available) in Advent and Lent. In addition there is the traditional one-to-one confession available each Saturday at 10.30 am. There are special services for children in our school.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
In the past the Sacrament of Anointing was once associated with death-bed scenes, but the Church now offers it as a routine to those who are sick or infirm every six months (usually after the Gospel at a special Mass for the elderly). It is important that those in danger of death should receive this sacrament in good time and family members are urged to telephone the priest to keep him informed when this is needed.
By this Sacrament a man is set aside by the bishop for the service of God’s Faithful People (the Church) as a minister in the order of Deacon, Priest or Bishop. Potential candidates should contact the Parish Priest or the Diocesan Director of Vocations (Fr David Bagstaff, 01692 403258).
The Sacrament of Marriage imparts the Church’s seal and blessing upon the bride and bridegroom as it witnesses their vows, as the Order of the Marriage Service states: “to love and to cherish” each other in mutual support until death. The Church requires six months notice followed by a period of preparation before a wedding and the requirements of both civil and canon law have to be observed.