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.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1131.)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Sacrament of Baptism brings a person into the family of God and makes that person a member of the Catholic Church, thereby enabling that person to enjoy the benefits of God’s grace and the Church’s Sacraments.
After Baptism a person has the life of God within. That is what we call sanctifying grace. It is important that a child be baptized shortly after birth. If possible, the child should receive the sacrament within a month or two after birth.
If there is a premature birth or if the child is sick and the baby will be in the hospital for quite some time, the child should be baptized in the hospital. At times, the child will also receive the sacrament of Confirmation. When the child is able to come home from the hospital, the ceremonies of baptism will be supplied in the church, but the water will not be poured again.
The sacrament is celebrated by the priest/deacon saying “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” while pouring water over the forehead of the person.
Parents are expected to attend an information and instruction session before the Baptism of the child. If parents have attended a Baptismal Instruction session previously, they need not at-tend.
GODPARENTS When selecting a godparent for Baptism, prayerful consideration should be given. The godparent is an individual who is to be a good role model to assist in the Catholic formation of the child. Both the one choosing and the one chosen should be aware of this privilege and responsibility.
The requirements for this church and, in fact, for all Catholic Churches, by virtue of Canon Law, to issue permission for someone to be a god-parent are as follows: the person must 1) be a registered and participating member of a Catholic parish; 2) attend Mass regularly on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation; 3) observe the practices of Lent; 4) witness by words and actions one’s commitment to Jesus Christ; 5) be, at least, 16 years of age and have already received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist; 6) either single or, if married, have been married in accord with Catholic Church Law; and 7) not be the parents or stepparents of the one to be baptized or confirmed.
Only one godparent is necessary for Baptism, but if two godparents are chosen, one must be a male and the other a female. The godparent(s) must be a practicing Catholic. A non-Catholic could be a Christian witness, which means that he/she is a practicing member of another Christian denomination. If someone is a member of this parish and is asked to be a godparent, that individual will need to pick up a form from the parish office and sign the form stating that he/she fulfills all the above requirements. After the form is signed, the priest will sign it and affix the parish seal.
Times and Dates
Baptisms are normally held each Sunday after the 10:30 a.m. Mass. Please call the Parish office for scheduling a baptism and for arranging a baptismal preparation class. Godparents for Baptism must be practicing Catholics, age 16 or older, have already received the Sacraments of Initiation; viz., Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist and, either single or, if married, married in accord with Catholic Church Law.
“Jesus said: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;..he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and… abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6: 51, 54, 56.).
As a Sacrament, we believe that Holy Communion is really and truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The appearance of bread and wine remains, but the essence is changed into the Lord Jesus. During Mass, bread and wine are consecrated by the priest, through the power of God, when he repeats Jesus’ words, “This is my Body; this is My Blood.”
The Holy Eucharist is both a Sacrifice and a Sacrament. We normally call the Sacrifice “the Mass” and the Sacrament “Holy Communion.”
As the Sacrifice, Jesus offers Himself to the Father in an unbloody manner and we unite ourselves to Jesus in this offering. By doing this, the Father accepts the gift of us.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in #2181: “The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.”
As a Sacrament, we believe that Holy Communion is really and truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The appearance of bread and wine remain, but the essence is changed into the Lord Jesus.
To receive Holy Communion worthily, one should be free from serious sin and fast from food for one hour before the actual reception of Holy Communion.
At the time of Communion, if we are unable to receive the Eucharist sacramentally, we should unite ourselves spiritually with the Lord and with those who are able to receive.
The Eucharist is the sign of unity. There is great pain in the world among people of the Christian faith because of the separation of the Churches. Because Communion is a sign of unity and since this unity does not yet exist, Catholics may not receive Communion in a Protestant Church nor may Protestants receive Communion in the Catholic Church. Special guidelines exist for the Orthodox. We pray that someday there may be one Church. That is the will of Jesus Christ.
Times and Dates for First Communion
FIRST COMMUNION UPDATE
If either of the two provided dates did not suit your schedule, your child may receive on any day of the week at one of the regularly-scheduled Masses.
Please call the office and inform us of your decision.
“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:14-17.)
The Sacrament of Confirmation is related to Baptism and, with the reception of the Holy Eucharist, fully initiates an individual into the Catholic community. In Baptism we are united personally to Christ’s saving act. In Confirmation, we are united more fully to the Church and her mission. Thus, Baptism makes us a Christian; Confirmation makes us a witnessing Christian.
Confirmation gives a further outpouring of the Holy Spirit, confers the Isaiahan sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit, and empowers one to live the Christian life more fully.
The rite of confirmation involves the laying on of hands, the anointing with chrism, and the words, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
GODPARENTS/SPONSORS: When selecting a godparent for Baptism or a sponsor for Confirmation, prayerful consideration should be given. The Godparent/sponsor is an individual who is to be a good role model to assist in the Catholic formation of the child. Both the one choosing and the one chosen should be aware of this privilege and responsibility.
The requirements for this church and, in fact, for all Catholic Churches, by virtue of Canon Law, to issue permission for someone to be a Godparent/sponsor are as follows: the person must 1) be a registered and participating member of the parish; 2) attend Mass regularly on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation; 3) observe the practices of Lent; 4) witness by words and actions one’s commitment to Jesus Christ; 5) be, at least, 16 years of age and have already received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist; 6) either single or, if married, have been married in accord with Catholic Church Law; and 7) not be the parents or stepparents of the one to be baptized or confirmed.
If someone is a member of this parish and is asked to be a Godparent or sponsor, that individual will need to pick up a form from the parish office and sign the form stating that he/she fulfills all the above requirements. After the form is signed, the priest will sign it and affix the parish seal.
Times and Dates
In the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Sacrament of Confirmation is administered to eighth-grade students. The date and time are determined by the Bishop’s office. The date, time, and minister are determined by the Bishop’s office. If you are an adult and have not yet been confirmed, please call the pastor for arrangements for the reception of this Sacrament.
It is desirable, but not necessary, that the godparent at Baptism be the sponsor at Confirmation. The sponsor need not be the same sex as the one being confirmed. Only one sponsor is used at Confirmation, not two sponsors. The sponsor needs to be a practicing Catholic.
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,…When he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain are retained.” (John 20: 19, 22-23).
The Sacrament of Penance is the Sacrament that Jesus instituted to grant pardon and peace. When a person confesses his or her sins to the priest in the spirit of true repentance, that person receives forgiveness from the Lord when the priest says the words of absolution, “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Times and Dates
The Sacrament of Penance is administered weekly on Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. You may also make an appointment to receive this Sacrament.
First Penance is administered to second-grade students usually on the first Saturday of March.
Anointing of the Sick
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over them, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5: 14-15).
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was, in the past, called “Extreme Unction.” Most people mistakenly understood Extreme Unction as “in extremis,” i.e., near death, the last anointing. Actually, Extreme Unction meant the last in a series of anointings or unctions. A person was anointed at Baptism and again at Confirmation. Now this was the last in a series of anointings. We anoint many people in the hospitals when they are admitted and we anoint the elderly and shut-ins usually every few months. Those anticipating surgery of a serious nature should also be anointed.
This Sacrament confers grace and this grace unites the suffering of the sick person to the sufferings of Jesus. It strengthens the sick person with courage and peace. It forgives all sins for which the sick person has true sorrow, but was unable to con-fess. It oftentimes restores health if it is appropriate for the salvation of the sick person. It is for the sick!
This Sacrament has its foundation in the letter of St. James: “Are there any who are sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.”
Also in danger of death, the sick person is given the Apostolic Blessing which takes away all sin and the temporal punishment due to sin. The follow-ing is the wording for that blessing: “By the authority granted me by the Apostolic See, I grant you a plenary indulgence and full remission of yours sins and I bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Times and Dates
When a family member is admitted to a hospital or becomes ill, please notify the Parish Office. We anoint many people in the hospitals when they are admitted, and we anoint the elderly and shut-ins usually every three months. Those anticipating surgery of a serious nature should also be anointed.
“St. Paul said: ‘Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loves the Church….This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.’ (Eph. 5: 25, 32)
“The Sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and his 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 thus 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 # 1161.)
The Sacrament of Matrimony unites a Christian man and woman in marriage for life, thus bringing them closer to the Lord and to each other. This Sacrament also gives the couple the help that they need to live in oneness and love.
Diocesan Common Policy
Diocesan Common Policy requires nine to twelve months advance notification to the parish and the completion of marriage preparation as established by the Diocese of Harrisburg. A couple will meet with a priest or deacon at least four times and attend either an Engaged Encounter Weekend or the Marriage Mentoring Program. The Engaged Encounter is a weekend away with other engaged couples. The weekend is designed to give a couple who is planning marriage the opportunity to communicate – individually, honestly, and intensively – about their prospective lives together.
The Marriage Mentoring Program is marriage preparation, in which the engaged couple meets with a married mentor couple for a total of five sessions. The first two sessions consist of the administration and discussion of FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding, & Study). The next three meetings will be a workshop process on a variety of topics related to marriage.
God’s Plan for Love
In addition to meeting with a married couple, the engaged couple is to attend a day-long presentation entitled God’s Plan for Love, usually on a Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at designated diocesan locations.
As a complement to the mentor couples program, God’s Plan for Love is a single-day program that explores the Church’s teachings on: marriage as a sacrament and a vocation; the human person and God’s design for marriage; and human sexuality. To learn more about the God’s Plan program, please visit their website here.
The diocese offers many God’s Plan conferences throughout the year and in a variety of diocesan locations, although you should only sign up for a conference after your initial meeting at the parish.
The 2022 God’s Plan for Love dates continue to be a work in progress, but there are 7 dates that are scheduled.More dates will be added when they become available.
Below is an informational brochure explaining God’s Plan for Love and here is the link for couples to register.
Current 2022 God’s Plan for Love Dates:
January 8, 2022 – Saint Leo the Great, Lancaster – (in person unless otherwise noted)
February 26, 2022 – Saint Joseph, Danville – (in person unless otherwise noted)
March 12, 2022 – Diocesan Conference Center, Harrisburg – (in person unless otherwise noted)
June 4, 2022 – Saint Joseph, Danville – (in person unless otherwise noted)
August 13, 2022 – Diocesan Conference Center, Harrisburg – (in person unless otherwise noted)
September 10, 2022 – Saint Leo the Great, Lancaster – (in person unless otherwise noted)
September 24, 2022 – Saint Joseph, Danville – (in person unless otherwise noted)
Ordinarily, one of the individuals entering marriage needs to be a registered member of the parish. Weddings are scheduled on a first come, first served basis at a time not later than 2:00 p.m. on a Saturday. Saint Columba Parish has approximately ten weddings a year, thus it is important to schedule a date and time as early as possible.
There is a possibility that a Catholic may marry validly in a Protestant Church before a Protestant minister; however, permission to be granted by the Bishop’s Office and the required marriage preparation needs to be completed through the Catholic Church. This is normally granted, especially if the bride is the Protestant and is active in her particular denomination.
If the marriage is of a mixed religion, the Catholic party must promise sincerely: “I reaffirm my faith in Jesus Christ and, with God’s help, intend to continue living that faith in the Catholic Church. I promise to do all within my power to share the faith I have received with our children by having them baptized and reared as Catholics.” The other party needs not sign anything, but needs to be aware that the Catholic has made this promise.
Two Catholics confer the Sacrament of Matrimony on each other usually during the celebration of the Eucharist. When there is a marriage of mixed religions, normally the marriage is celebrated apart from Mass because of the non-Catholic being unable to receive Holy Communion. The unity of the couple is important on their wedding day. There is the sign of unity in the Liturgy of the Word as it is celebrated with other Christian denominations.
St. Paul said to his disciple Timothy: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.” (II Timothy 1:6).
Holy Orders is the Sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time. It includes the three Sacred Orders: deacon, priest, and bishop.
Orders designates an ecclesial body into which one enters by means of a special consecration (ordination). Through a special gift of the Holy Spirit, this sacrament enables the ordained to exercise a sacred power in the name and with the authority of Christ for the service of the People of God.
Times and Dates
If you think that you are hearing the call from the Lord to become a priest, please speak to a priest or the Vocations Director. Quo Vadis Days are held in the summer to help young men discern a vocation.