Sacrament: A visible sign of an inward grace, instituted by Jesus Christ.
Baptism, the first and fundamental sacrament and the gate to the other sacraments, is the purifying and sanctifying sacrament of rebirth. It is the means by which its recipients are incorporated into the church in a sacramental bond of unity. For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church's way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.
The Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated after the 11 AM Mass on Sundays. Please remember that Godparents must be practicing Catholics who have reached their 16tth year and have received all of the Sacraments of Initiation (i.e., Baptism. First Holy Communion and Confirmation). For those Godparents who are married, their marriage must be recognized by the Catholic Church. Parents of the person being baptized are not eligible to act as Godparents.
Only one Godparent is necessary for Baptism and not more than two. When two are acting as Godparents, one must be male and the other female according to Canon Law (universal Church Law). When there is only one Godparent, a non-Catholic, legitimately baptized and practicing Christian may act as a Christian witness along with the Catholic Godparent. Again, one must be male and the other female.
Look over the Godparents Guidelines before selecting a Baptismal date and please call the Parish Office at (908) 638-6211, ext.1 to make arrangements for the Baptism.
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance) has four elements: contrition, confession, satisfaction and one on the part of the Priest of the sacrament, absolution. In it we find God's unconditional forgiveness; as a result, we are called to forgive others.
Through penance, the faithful receive pardon through God's mercy for the sins they have committed. At the same time, they are reconciled with the Church community. The confession, or disclosure, of sins, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others.
This sacrament reconciles the candidate with the Church by placing the candidate before the merciful judgment of God who is so forgiving. It is a time for the candidate to prayerfully account for his or her failings and sins before a Priest.
Preparation for the reception of First Penance takes place in the first semester of the second level of instruction for First Eucharist and must be administered before that Sacrament.
Before going to confession, one must consider "examining their conscience." Click here http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/examinations-of-conscience.cfm to view different examinations. There is one for adults, single people, married, teenagers and one for children. It's always best to be prepared before we ask for God's forgiveness.
EUCHARIST (HOLY COMMUNION)
Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
The Eucharist is the sacrament in which Christ himself is contained, offered and received, and by which the Church constantly lives and grows. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of Our Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated over the centuries, is the summit and source of all Christian life and worship; it signifies and effects the unity of the people of God and achieves the building up of the Body of Christ.
As children reach the age of reason, generally around age seven, the Church extends to them an invitation to celebrate the sacrament of Eucharist (First Holy Communion). The initiation into the Christian community that took place at baptism is further extended by inviting children to enter fully into the heart of Christian faith through participation in the Eucharist.
This sacrament unites the baptized with Christ through consumption of His body (consecrated bread) and His blood (consecrated wine) thus forming a single body with Christ.
Formal religious preparation will encompass at least two years preceded by the reception of the Sacrament of Penance.
Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of Baptismal gifts. It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. It is most often associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, right judgment, courage, reverence, wonder, and awe.
Confirmation enriches the baptized with the Holy Spirit, binding them more perfectly to the Church, and strengthening them in their witness to Christ by word and deed and in their work to bring to its fullness the Body of Christ. Confirmation is conferred through anointing with chrism and the laying on of hands by the Bishop or the Bishop can "delegate" his apostolic authority to perform the sacrament of Confirmation to the local Priest who is then able to do so without having the Bishop present.
Preparation time encompasses a two-year period.
For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, is a public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and wife speaks of family values and also God's values.
The Church has a rich tradition in its teaching on sacramental marriage and covenantal union. The Old Testament authors write of God making a covenant with the chosen people and promising them that they will never be forsaken. The New Testament authors write of Jesus as the new covenant and compare the relationship of Jesus with the Church to the relationship of a husband and wife.
The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership for their whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.
In accordance with Diocesan Policy, arrangements for a wedding must be made at least one year in advance. Before contracting a date with a venue, please call the Parish Office to schedule a wedding appointment with the Pastor.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
The Catholic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.
Through the Sacrament of Anointing, Christ strengthens the faithful who are afflicted by illness, providing them with the strongest means of support. Jesus showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and commanded His followers to do the same. The Sacrament of Anointing prepares a person for death, which includes spiritual healing and forgiveness of sins. If death is imminent, the Eucharist is offered Viaticum, (food for the journey). Canon Law states that "anyone who is such danger of death from an illness or old age" can receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
If you or a loved one wishes to receive this Sacrament, please contact the Parish Office at (908) 638-6211, ext.1 or ext. 2.
In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, the Priest being ordained, vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel, and by providing other means to holiness. Holy Orders is the Sacrament by which Bishops, Priests and Deacons are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties. The sacred rite by which orders are conferred is called ordination. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders the Holy Spirit imparts that tremendous power, to the ordained Priest, to call Jesus Christ, Himself, down upon the altar. It is the sacrifice of the Mass that the Priest exercises the supreme degree of his holy office. We must also remember, that it is only by this sacred, ordained power to act, "in persona Christi," that the Priest has the power to forgive in Christ's name, the sins of men.
If you feel God is calling you to the Priesthood or to become a Deacon please contact Father James at (908) 638-6211, ext.2.
RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS
The R.C.I.A. program is not a Sacrament but is a Religious Education Program for non-Catholic adults who are interested in becoming Catholic or for Catholics who have not received all the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, Confirmation). Candidates who were baptized into another Christian church, who wish to become Catholic, can also enter the program. Candidates will be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil.
The program of study, discernment and spiritual formation is for those non-Catholics who are considering entrance into the Catholic Church. Sessions are held in the Church Hall from September through May on three Thursdays of each month from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. These sessions are meant to offer non-Catholics an opportunity to learn more about the Catholic Faith and provide ample opportunity for discernment before making a decision to become Catholic. Instruction and spiritual formation are offered by the clergy (Priest and Deacons) of St. Joseph Parish. Please contact the Parish Office for more information or to register for our R.C.I.A. program.
For those baptized Catholic adults who have not received all of the Sacraments of initiation, (Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation) please contact the Parish Office at (908) 638-6211 ext.1 to arrange for individual private preparation from a member of our clergy.