Sacraments

The Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, through which Divine
life is given.  The seven Sacraments span all stages of natural life and all-important moments of the Christian life.
Sacraments are classified as Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist), Sacraments of Healing
(Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick), and Sacraments of Service (Matrimony and Holy Orders). The Eucharist
occupies a unique place as the Sacrament of Sacraments and all the other Sacraments are ordered to it as to their
end. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994 Reference: 1131,1210,1211]

Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism is the foundation of Christian life, the entrance to the life in the Spirit and access to the
other Sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from original sin, become heirs to the Kingdom of God, are
incorporated into the Church and become sharers in the Mission of the Church. [Catechism of the Catholic Church
1994 Reference: 1213]

Baptisms of infants and young children are celebrated for families who are members of the parish or with granted
delegation. Pre-Baptismal meeting is required for first time parents.  Appointments for Baptism should be made with
Father.

Confirmation

The Sacrament of Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit helps us grow to
Christian maturity. The Sacrament strengthens our bond with the Church, associates us more closely with her Mission
and helps us bear witness to the Christian faith in words and deeds. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994
Reference: 1316]

Confirmation is offered  to high school students. Students who request this Sacrament are prepared through a
special program and must already be attending religious education classes.
Adults wishing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation are prepared according to a process designed specifically
for their needs.

Eucharist

The Sacrament of the Eucharist has its origin at the Last Supper when on the night Jesus was betrayed, He instituted
the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. This He did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross
throughout the ages until He comes again. In this Sacrament, Jesus entrusts to his Church a memorial of His death
and Resurrection, the Sacrament of Love, a Sign of Unity and a Bond of Charity, in which Christ is consumed, and
our minds are filled with grace and a pledge of future glory. The Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith
through the actions of the Holy Spirit and the Real Presence of Jesus; His Body and Blood become present under the
form of bread and wine. It is through the Eucharist that each of us are nourished by Jesus to seek God's Will.
[Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994 Reference: 1323,1327]

Children are generally prepared to receive their first Holy Communion when they reach the second grade. They are
prepared through a special program and must already be attending religious education classes.

Guidelines for Receiving Holy Communion

For Catholics - Catholics fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when they receive Holy Communion in
fulfillment of Christ’s command to eat His Body and drink His Blood. In order to be properly disposed to receive
Communion, communicants should not be conscious of grave sin, have fasted for an hour, and seek to live in charity
and love with their neighbors. Persons conscious of grave sin must first be reconciled with God and the Church
through the Sacrament of Penance.

For other Christians: We welcome to this celebration of the Mass those Christians who are not fully united with us. It
is a consequence of the sad divisions in Christianity that we cannot extend to them a general invitation to receive
Communion. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is an action of the celebrating community signifying a oneness in
faith, life , and worship of the community. Reception of the Eucharist by Christians not fully united with us would imply
a oneness which does not yet exist, and for which we must all pray.
For those not receiving Communion: Those not receiving sacramental Communion are encouraged to express in their
hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and one another.

For Non Christians: We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus. While we cannot
extend to them an invitation to receive Communion , we do invite them to be united with us in prayer. (National
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1987)

Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance was instituted by Jesus, the physician of our souls and bodies, who
forgave the sins of the paralytic and willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, His work of
healing and salvation. Jesus has willed that the life and actions of his Church be a sign and instrument of forgiveness
and reconciliation. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994 Reference: 1442]

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. CST and 6:45 p.m. DST and Sunday at 7:45 a.
m. It is recommended that penitents arrive at the beginning of the time periods to ensure adequate opportunity to
receive the sacrament.

Anointing of the Sick

The Sacrament of the Anointing the Sick has as its end the conferral of a special grace on people experiencing a
grave illness or old age. The Church exhorts the Christian who is ill to unite with the Passion and Death of Christ.
[Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994 Reference: 1511,1499,1513]

The Sacrament of the Sick may be received by any Catholic who is facing a serious illness or is of advanced years.
Please contact Father.

Matrimony

The Sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each
other with the love with which Christ has loved His Church. The grace of the Sacrament perfects the human love of
the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life. [Catechism of the
Catholic Church 1994 Reference: 1661]

To celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony in St. Leo Parish,  the couple must contact Father well in advance due to
Diocesan policy of six months preparation for couples prior to the wedding date.

Holy Orders

Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in
the Church until the end of time. The Sacrament's three degrees (Episcopate, Presbyterate, and Diaconate) are
conferred as follows:

Bishops (Episcopate) receive the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which integrates them into the Episcopal
college and makes them visible heads of the particular Church entrusted to them. As successors of the apostles and
members of the college, the bishops share in the apostolic responsibility and mission of the whole Church under the
authority of the Pope.

Priests (Presbyterate) are united with the Bishop in sacerdotal dignity and called to be the bishop's prudent co-
workers in the exercise of their pastoral functions. They gather around their bishop who bears responsibility with them
for a particular church. They receive from the Bishop the charge of a Parish community or determinate ecclesial office.

Deacons (Diaconate) are ordained into the ministry of service to the Church. Deacons do not receive the ministerial
priesthood, but ordination confers on them the functions of the Ministry of the Word, Divine Worship, and Service of
Charity under the pastoral authority of their bishop. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994 Reference: 1536, 1595,
1596]