CATHOLICISM AND THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS
On December 7, I went to St. Bernard’s Church in my hometown Tracy, California to attend mass. I knew about this church from my former teammates in high school because they are Catholic. Several years ago, I went to their confirmation which was the first time I’d been to a Catholic church. I was amazed to see so many people attending a Saturday night mass as we got there 10 minutes early and found the last two seats or we would have had to stand in the back of the church. When I arrived at St. Bernard’s, I saw my mom do the sign of the cross with holy water as we entered the church. My mom attended Catholic elementary school, so she was able to know what Catholics do during mass. I wasn’t sure of the significance of the holy water as you enter the church. This isn’t what Christians like myself do when we walk into church. We sat down, and a volunteer was singing a hymnal at the front of the church. Within five minutes, the priest Father Chad walked down the aisle with 4 altar boys and a volunteer woman carrying a large sized Bible out in front of her head. We all stood up out of respect and waited for him to proceed down the aisle. Once the volunteer ended the song, Father Chad welcomed the congregation, then told us to sit down. At my church, we sing several songs of worship with our Pastor all together. We don’t stand up and wait for the priest or in Christianity we call him a pastor, to walk in and tell us to sit down. The priest then opened his sermon by telling us what he was going to talk about during the mass, and emphasized having “Joy” over the Christmas season.
Father Chad began by talking about the Joy of Gospel, which is a letter the Pope wrote from the Vatican. The letter was about having joy with others, and Father Chad emphasized on how we need to be joyful and happy with ourselves and with others. He mentioned how we need to be grateful for the things we have, and for the blessings God provides. After about 15 minutes, we sang several hymnals. We then said a prayer together before we received the Eucharist, “Our Father, Who art in heaven Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.” I didn’t participate in communion because I didn’t go through that sacrament and I am not Catholic. Every mass there is Eucharist/communion. As a Christian, we participate in communion once a month to remind us of God’s sacrifices He has made for us. Before Father Chad ended mass, he offered us a sign of peace to share with one another. We then turned to the people sitting around us and shook hands saying “Peace be with you.” At my Christian church, we welcome one another at the beginning of the service and shake one another’s hand as a blessing to each other. Father Chad sang one last song and had a few has final words and closed mass with a prayer for the week. We waited for him to walk back down the aisle to leave and then we all left.
"The word "sacrament" refers to seven particular rites or rituals performed in and by the Church,” (“Just”). “Within this definition there are three important statements. A visible sign an action is performed by a minister usually a priest. For example, when a baby is baptized in the church the priest pours water over its head and at the same time says the words "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." That is a visible sign. Instituted by Christ the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His church to offer the seven sacraments to His followers,” ("The Catholic Sacraments").
“For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship,” ("Seven Catholic Sacraments"). “Along with Confirmation and