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Understanding Our Catholic Faith

The Role of Community in Sacraments: Initiation

Initiation



Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:3-4

Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist

Whether you were a babe in arms, an adolescent, or an adult, your Baptism united you to Christ Jesus. Whether the baptismal water was poured over your forehead or you were submerged, the sacred waters united you to the mystery of Christ's death and Resurrection. You were welcomed into the life of the Church and invited to journey toward life with God forever.

Whether you were confirmed when you were baptized or you celebrated Confirmation at a later age, the holy oil of chrism sealed your Baptism. The Holy Spirit gave you strength. And you came to the table of the Lord and received the Body and Blood of Christ. Through these three sacraments, you were fully initiated into the life of Christ and Christian community.

Completing Initiation

In the early Church, catechumens were initiated at the Easter Vigil, celebrating Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at a single ritual. The present-day Easter Rite continues this practice for all new members. However, many Western (Latin) Rite Catholic dioceses baptize infants and celebrate First Eucharist several years later. Confirmation is celebrated still later, when the bishop or his delegate is present. Whether the sacraments are celebrated together or separately, the Eucharist is the culmination of initiation. It is the source and summit of the Christian life.

Reflect

  • Into what groups have you been initiated?
    • What rituals did the group use to initiate you?
    • What effect does being a member of that group have on you?
  • What makes you feel like a member of the Church?
  • How does the Eucharist nourish your spiritual life?

Prayer

Spirit of the living God, remain in me that I may carry the light and power of my Baptism each day. Amen. 

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