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.
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.
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.”
Times and Dates
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.
“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.”
Times and Dates
In the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Sacrament of Confirmation is administered to students. 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.
“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.
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 confess. It oftentimes restores health if it is appropriate for the salvation of the sick person. It is for the sick!
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 following 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 your 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.)
Times and Dates
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
In addition to meeting with a married couple, the engaged couple is to attend a day-long presentation entitled God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage, usually on a Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at designated diocesan locations.
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 twelve weddings a year, thus it is important to schedule a date and time as early as possible.
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.
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.