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 origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. . . . Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin – Original and actual – and begin to live a new life with God.
In Baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ’s call to holiness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love.
~from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
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.
For adults today, the Church, after the Second Vatican Council, has restored the order of the Catechumenate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It outlines the steps for the formation of catechumens, bringing their conversion to the faith to a greater maturity. It helps them respond more deeply to God’s gracious initiative in their lives and prepares them for union with the Church community. This process is meant to form them into the fullness of the Christian life and to become disciples of Jesus, their teacher.
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 attend.
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.).
In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present — body, blood, soul, and divinity — under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist.
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.”
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 prophets of the Old Testament foretold that God’s Spirit would rest upon the Messiah to sustain his mission. Their prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus the Messiah was conceived by the Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus on the occasion of his baptism by John. Jesus’ entire mission occurred in communion with the Spirit. Before he died, Jesus promised that the Spirit would be given to the Apostles and to the entire Church. After his death, he was raised by the Father in the power of the Spirit.
Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighborhoods, society, and the world. . . . We receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner with great emphasis given to the person of Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to the Church for building up the community in loving service.
~from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
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.”
Not only does it [the Sacrament of Penance] free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church. The Sacrament of Penance is God’s gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven. In confession we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins. With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
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.”
In the Church’s Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.
The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.
When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.
~from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
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)
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation and union of man and woman and ends with “the wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7, 9). Scripture often refers to marriage, its origin and purpose, the meaning God gave to it, and its renewal in the covenant made by Jesus with his Church. Man and woman were created for each other.
By their marriage, the couple witnesses Christ’s spousal love for the Church. One of the Nuptial Blessings in the liturgical celebration of marriage refers to this in saying, “Father, you have made the union of man and wife so holy a mystery that it symbolizes the marriage of Christ and his Church.”
The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenant, which is more than a contract. Covenant always expresses a relationship between persons. The marriage covenant refers to the relationship between the husband and wife, a permanent union of persons capable of knowing and loving each other and God. The celebration of marriage is also a liturgical act, appropriately held in a public liturgy at church. Catholics are urged to celebrate their marriage within the Eucharistic Liturgy. 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.
“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.)
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:
September 24, 2022 – Saint Joseph, Danville – (This was the final date for 2022)
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).
From the moment of Jesus’ conception in the womb of Mary until his Resurrection, he was filled with the Holy Spirit. In biblical language, he was anointed by the Holy Spirit and thus established by God the Father as our high priest. As Risen Lord, he remains our high priest. . . . While all the baptized share in Christ’s priesthood, the ministerial priesthood shares this through the Sacrament of Holy Orders in a special way.
“Here I am, send me.” (Is 6:8)
Ordination to the priesthood is always a call and a gift from God. Christ reminded his Apostles that they needed to ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest. Those who seek priesthood respond generously to God’s call using the words of the prophet, “Here I am, send me” (Is 6:8). This call from God can be recognized and understood from the daily signs that disclose his will to those in charge of discerning the vocation of the candidate.
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.