The Latin word sacramentum means "a sign of the sacred." The Catholic sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant, and important for Christians.
Sacraments celebrate Christ's life. Sacraments celebrate the community's life. Sacraments also celebrate the Kingdom of God. They are celebrations of Christian tradition, of Christian life, and of Christian hope. They share the dimensions of past, present, and future that give all celebrations meaning. Today we commemorate this understanding of sacrament when we pray the following version of the Memorial Acclamation at Mass: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again."
Sacraments, though, are no ordinary celebrations. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. It is important for people to be in touch with what the sacraments celebrate if the rituals are to be as meaningful as possible for them.
The Sacramental life of our parish is also our deepest expression of who we are. All sacraments are community celebrations of our encounters with the risen Lord in the most important moments of our lives. Since sacraments are so important to us as Catholic Christians, we take them very seriously and prepare to receive them carefully.
Each time we receive a sacrament, we respond in a fresh way to Jesus' call to discipleship. Therefore, the decision to receive a sacrament belongs to the individual person. Children discern their readiness to receive a sacrament with the help, advice, and counsel of their parents and pastor. Careful preparation, catechesis, and prayerful attention to growth in faith must precede the decision to receive a sacrament for the first time. St. Joseph Parish supports the personal discernment by providing programs designed to help prepare for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Matrimony.
we allow Him to come
and satisfy the deepest
hunger that we
experience in the depths
of our being:
and thirst for God." - Pope Benedict XVI's
2009 Lenten Message