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Sacraments of Initiation Steve Surprenant, MBA, STB/MA Senior Vice President & COO Mercy Community Health, CT January 6, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Sacraments of Initiation Steve Surprenant, MBA, STB/MA Senior Vice President & COO Mercy Community Health, CT January 6, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sacraments of Initiation Steve Surprenant, MBA, STB/MA Senior Vice President & COO Mercy Community Health, CT January 6, 2009

2 Objectives Understand the biblical foundations of the Catholic Sacraments of Initiation Understand the biblical foundations of the Catholic Sacraments of Initiation Understand the impact of historical changes on the Sacraments of Initiation Understand the impact of historical changes on the Sacraments of Initiation Understand the current sacramental theology of the Sacraments of Initiation Understand the current sacramental theology of the Sacraments of Initiation

3 Today’s Agenda Introduction Introduction Sacraments of Initiation Sacraments of Initiation New Testament and in the early Christian communities New Testament and in the early Christian communities The evolution of Catholic interpretation The evolution of Catholic interpretation The Middle Ages and The Council of Trent The Middle Ages and The Council of Trent The contemporary theology of the Sacraments of Initiation The contemporary theology of the Sacraments of Initiation Following Vatican II Following Vatican II

4 Introduction Catholic Church Catholic Church Also called Roman Catholic Church Also called Roman Catholic Church “catholic” from Greek for “universal” “catholic” from Greek for “universal” All come under the jurisdiction of the Pope, successor of Saint Peter, Bishop of Rome All come under the jurisdiction of the Pope, successor of Saint Peter, Bishop of Rome Western Rite (Latin Rite) Western Rite (Latin Rite) Eastern Catholic Churches (comprised of 22 rites) Eastern Catholic Churches (comprised of 22 rites) Byzantine, Coptic, Armenian, Maronite, Syriac and Chaldean Byzantine, Coptic, Armenian, Maronite, Syriac and Chaldean Scope of Discussion Scope of Discussion

5 What is a Sacrament? The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions. (#1113) The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions. (#1113) Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life. (#1210 ) Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life. (#1210 )

6 Signs and Symbols A sacramental celebration is woven from signs and symbols. Their meaning is rooted in the work of creation and in human culture, specified by the events of the Old Covenant and fully revealed in the person and work of Christ. (#1145) A sacramental celebration is woven from signs and symbols. Their meaning is rooted in the work of creation and in human culture, specified by the events of the Old Covenant and fully revealed in the person and work of Christ. (#1145) The liturgy of the Church presupposes, integrates and sanctifies elements from creation and human culture, conferring on them the dignity of signs of grace, of the new creation in Jesus Christ. (#1149) The liturgy of the Church presupposes, integrates and sanctifies elements from creation and human culture, conferring on them the dignity of signs of grace, of the new creation in Jesus Christ. (#1149) Signs of the covenant. The Chosen People received from God distinctive signs and symbols that marked its liturgical life. (#1150) Signs of the covenant. The Chosen People received from God distinctive signs and symbols that marked its liturgical life. (#1150)

7 Signs and Symbols These are … signs of the covenant, symbols of God's mighty deeds for his people. Among these liturgical signs from the Old Covenant are circumcision, anointing and consecration of kings and priests, laying on of hands, sacrifices, and above all the Passover. The Church sees in these signs a prefiguring of the sacraments of the New Covenant. (#1150) These are … signs of the covenant, symbols of God's mighty deeds for his people. Among these liturgical signs from the Old Covenant are circumcision, anointing and consecration of kings and priests, laying on of hands, sacrifices, and above all the Passover. The Church sees in these signs a prefiguring of the sacraments of the New Covenant. (#1150) Signs taken up by Christ. In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. 17 He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, for he himself is the meaning of all these signs. (#1151) Signs taken up by Christ. In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. 17 He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, for he himself is the meaning of all these signs. (#1151)

8 Sacraments of Initiation The Sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist - lay the foundations of every Christian life. "The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.” (#1212) (Intro to RCIA – [Divinae consortium naturae]) The Sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist - lay the foundations of every Christian life. "The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.” (#1212) (Intro to RCIA – [Divinae consortium naturae])

9 Sacraments of Initiation baptizein: (Greek) for “plunged into” baptizein: (Greek) for “plunged into” metanoia: (Greek) for “turning around” metanoia: (Greek) for “turning around” Baptism was seen as a conversion/turning from life of the flesh to life in the Spirit Baptism was seen as a conversion/turning from life of the flesh to life in the Spirit “Plunging into” the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ “Plunging into” the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ Celebrate this conversion process through ritual ceremonies/actions within the Church Celebrate this conversion process through ritual ceremonies/actions within the Church Sacraments of Initiation are invitation to a life-long process of conversion Sacraments of Initiation are invitation to a life-long process of conversion

10 The Early Church First Christians were those who had either known Jesus or were hearing about him from those who knew him personally First Christians were those who had either known Jesus or were hearing about him from those who knew him personally We know from the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles the Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, teach and baptize We know from the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles the Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, teach and baptize Baptism of John the Baptist, the same that Jesus himself experienced Baptism of John the Baptist, the same that Jesus himself experienced Through baptism that you became a follower of Jesus – a Christian Through baptism that you became a follower of Jesus – a Christian

11 The Early Church In the early Church, adults and children were all baptized; hear in the Acts that whole households were baptized In the early Church, adults and children were all baptized; hear in the Acts that whole households were baptized From the earliest times, baptism was first and foremost for the forgiveness of sins From the earliest times, baptism was first and foremost for the forgiveness of sins Involved a personal commitment, metanoia, turning around, life-change Involved a personal commitment, metanoia, turning around, life-change This new start of life involved the presence of Jesus; the newly baptized sharing in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection This new start of life involved the presence of Jesus; the newly baptized sharing in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection

12 Sacrament of Confirmation Early Church, the ordinary ministry of all sacraments was the bishop; direct connection with the Apostles Early Church, the ordinary ministry of all sacraments was the bishop; direct connection with the Apostles By 4 th C, with the growth and spread of the Church, priests began to baptize and preside at the Eucharist By 4 th C, with the growth and spread of the Church, priests began to baptize and preside at the Eucharist So, anointing after baptism (confirming) reserved for the bishop; originally may have been separated by weeks or months, but soon became months or years So, anointing after baptism (confirming) reserved for the bishop; originally may have been separated by weeks or months, but soon became months or years True in the Western rite, not Eastern Rites True in the Western rite, not Eastern Rites

13 Sacrament of Confirmation Interestingly, the Eucharist was still given to all newly baptized, even infants (either the bread or the wine, or both) Interestingly, the Eucharist was still given to all newly baptized, even infants (either the bread or the wine, or both) Still true today in Eastern Rites Still true today in Eastern Rites So, by 4 th C, in Western Rite, the original order of Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, had changed to Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation So, by 4 th C, in Western Rite, the original order of Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, had changed to Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation True with the exception of the Easter Vigil celebrated by the bishop True with the exception of the Easter Vigil celebrated by the bishop

14 The Middle Ages Time passed and theology evolved Time passed and theology evolved Dark Ages: Catholic theology and ritual were confined primarily to monasteries in the West Dark Ages: Catholic theology and ritual were confined primarily to monasteries in the West Great Schism ( 1054 AD ) between East and West Great Schism ( 1054 AD ) between East and West All of these events impacted theology surrounding Sacraments of Initiation All of these events impacted theology surrounding Sacraments of Initiation By 12 th C, for example, Church stopped offering Eucharistic bread to infants because might “spit up”, then when cup was withdrawn for everyone, children now excluded By 12 th C, for example, Church stopped offering Eucharistic bread to infants because might “spit up”, then when cup was withdrawn for everyone, children now excluded

15 The Middle Ages So, by 13 th C, First Holy Communion would happen after a period of education, usually around the age of 14 or 15 So, by 13 th C, First Holy Communion would happen after a period of education, usually around the age of 14 or 15 However, baptized children probably had already been brought to the bishop cathedral for confirmation before First Holy Community However, baptized children probably had already been brought to the bishop cathedral for confirmation before First Holy Community Original order of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist was again restored Original order of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist was again restored

16 Pre-Vatican Council Pope Pius X (1906) allowed children to make First Holy Communion as young as age 6-7 Pope Pius X (1906) allowed children to make First Holy Communion as young as age 6-7 Now, order disrupted again; Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation Now, order disrupted again; Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation Theology developed around Confirmation as a “stand alone” sacrament of strengthening Theology developed around Confirmation as a “stand alone” sacrament of strengthening Kiss of peace became a slap on the cheek; those being confirmed with “soldiers for Christ” Kiss of peace became a slap on the cheek; those being confirmed with “soldiers for Christ”

17 Contemporary Practice Vatican Council II ( ) opened the Catholic Church to the modern age and new thinking and schools of theology Vatican Council II ( ) opened the Catholic Church to the modern age and new thinking and schools of theology One call from the bishops of the world was to reinstate the catechumenate; time of preparation for adults preparing to come into the Church One call from the bishops of the world was to reinstate the catechumenate; time of preparation for adults preparing to come into the Church By 1972 promulgated by Rome; 1988 became mandatory for all dioceses in the USA By 1972 promulgated by Rome; 1988 became mandatory for all dioceses in the USA

18 Duality of Practice For infants/young children, still have the practice of Baptism for infants, first Eucharist in 2 nd grade, and Confirmation in high school For infants/young children, still have the practice of Baptism for infants, first Eucharist in 2 nd grade, and Confirmation in high school Catechesis: Catechesis: Parents are required to complete preparation classes for Baptism Parents are required to complete preparation classes for Baptism Child and parents complete classes before First Holy Community Child and parents complete classes before First Holy Community Child/young adult completes two year program of preparation for Sacrament of Confirmation Child/young adult completes two year program of preparation for Sacrament of Confirmation Parish priest is ministry for Baptism and Eucharist; Bishop or delegate for Confirmation Parish priest is ministry for Baptism and Eucharist; Bishop or delegate for Confirmation

19 Duality of Practice For adults, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) For adults, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Catechesis: Catechesis: Extensive period of preparation; usually accompanied by a sponsor Extensive period of preparation; usually accompanied by a sponsor At the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday), candidate receives Sacraments of Initiation in original order At the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday), candidate receives Sacraments of Initiation in original order Parish priest is ministry for all of the sacraments; using Sacred Chrism blessed by the bishop Parish priest is ministry for all of the sacraments; using Sacred Chrism blessed by the bishop

20 Sacraments of Initiation Today The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. (#1113) The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. (#1113)

21 Sacraments of Initiation Today Whenever possible, Sacraments of Initiation should take place within the celebration of the Eucharist; greatest of the Sacraments Whenever possible, Sacraments of Initiation should take place within the celebration of the Eucharist; greatest of the Sacraments Liturgy of the Word is always celebrated Liturgy of the Word is always celebrated Baptism (for infants) Baptism (for infants) Anointing: Oil of Catechumens (on the chest) Anointing: Oil of Catechumens (on the chest) Bless the Water and Make Profession of Faith Bless the Water and Make Profession of Faith Baptism: either pouring water or immersion Baptism: either pouring water or immersion Anointing: Sacred Chrism (on the head) Anointing: Sacred Chrism (on the head) Clothing with White Garment Clothing with White Garment Lighting Baptismal Candle from Easter Candle Lighting Baptismal Candle from Easter Candle

22 Sacraments of Initiation Today Eucharist: Eucharist: Liturgy of the Word Liturgy of the Word Liturgy of the Eucharist Liturgy of the Eucharist Special involvement of the children in the liturgy Special involvement of the children in the liturgy Confirmation (for young adults) Confirmation (for young adults) Celebrated by the Bishop (or designee) Celebrated by the Bishop (or designee) Invocation of the Holy Spirit Invocation of the Holy Spirit Taking of a Name Taking of a Name Anointing with Sacred Chrism Anointing with Sacred Chrism Sign of Peace Sign of Peace

23 RCIA Today Begin as Candidates seeking membership in the Christian community of faith Begin as Candidates seeking membership in the Christian community of faith Welcome through a formal ritual and anointing to the Catechumenate; now Catechumens; time of final preparation for initiation into the Church; finally become Elect with scrutinies Welcome through a formal ritual and anointing to the Catechumenate; now Catechumens; time of final preparation for initiation into the Church; finally become Elect with scrutinies Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday) Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday) Profession of Faith Profession of Faith Baptism Rite Baptism Rite Confirmation Confirmation Participation in the Eucharist Participation in the Eucharist

24 Closing Thought Gospels tell of that Jesus missioned His disciples to go out, preach the Good News of salvation; to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit Gospels tell of that Jesus missioned His disciples to go out, preach the Good News of salvation; to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit Ritual process of Christian initiation is the beginning of a journey that concludes only with the vision of God. In other words, one is initiated into a way of life, a living out of the implications of baptism. Such a journey is not concluded until each Christian meets the Lord. Ritual process of Christian initiation is the beginning of a journey that concludes only with the vision of God. In other words, one is initiated into a way of life, a living out of the implications of baptism. Such a journey is not concluded until each Christian meets the Lord.


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