Baptism: The Sacrament of Baptism is often called “The door of the Church,” because it is the first of the seven sacraments not only in time (since most Catholics receive it as infants) but in priority, since the reception of the other sacraments depends on it.  It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation, the other two being the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Once baptized, a person becomes a member of the Church. Traditionally, the rite (or ceremony) of baptism was held outside the doors of the main part of the church, to signify this fact. There is a preparation class held three times per year.  If you are pregnant or have a new baby you can contact Fr. John or Deacon Mark or watch the bulletin or calendar for the next class.

Reconciliation: The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a common name used for the Sacrament of Confession. Whereas “Confession” stresses the action of the believer in the sacrament, “Reconciliation” stresses the action of God, who uses the sacrament to reconcile us to Himself by restoring sanctifying grace in our souls. Reconciliation is offered every Saturday at 4:30pm at Sacred Heart or by calling Father John for an appointment.

Eucharist: The Eucharist is another name for Holy Communion. The term comes from the Greek by way of Latin, and it means “thanksgiving.”  It is used in three ways: first, to refer to the Real Presence of Christ; second, to refer to Christ’s continuing action as High Priest (He “gave thanks” at the Last Supper, which began the consecration of the bread and wine); and third, to refer to the Sacrament of Holy Communion itself.

Confirmation: Although, in the West, Confirmation is usually received as a teenager, several years after making First Communion, the Catholic Church considers it the second of the three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism being the first and Communion the third).  Confirmation is regarded as the perfection of Baptism, because, as the introduction to the Rite of Confirmation states: “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.”  As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, “The original minister of Confirmation is the bishop.”  Each bishop is a successor to the apostles, upon whom the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost—the first Confirmation.

Matrimony: Matrimony is another term for marriage, but it is not simply a synonym.  As Fr. John Hardon notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, matrimony “refers more to the relationship between husband and wife than to the ceremony or the state of marriage.”  That is why, strictly speaking, the Sacrament of Marriage is the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Besides being used for the sacrament, the term is still widely used in legal references to marriage.  Please contact the parish at least 6 months prior to your planned marriage. There is preparation and a retreat that you must attend prior to your ceremony.  For further help in preparing and planning for your marriage and planning the ceremony click here.

Holy Orders: The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the continuation of Christ’s priesthood, which He bestowed upon His Apostles; thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Holy Orders as “the sacrament of apostolic ministry.”  “Ordination” comes from the Latin word ordinatio, which means to incorporate someone into an order.  In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is incorporated into the priesthood of Christ at one of three levels: the episcopate (Bishop), the priesthood, or the diaconate.  If you feel you are being called to the priesthood or the diaconate you can contact the Diocese of La Crosse vocations office for the diaconate, the vocations office for the priesthood or talk to Fr. John or Deacon Mark.

Anointing of the Sick: Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was previously most commonly administered to the dying, for the remission of sins and the provision of spiritual strength and health.  In modern times, however, its use has been expanded to all who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, and the Church stresses a secondary effect of the sacrament: to help a person recover his health.  Like Confession and Holy Communion, to which it is closely linked, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick can be repeated as often as is necessary.  A priest or bishop are the ministers of this sacrament, contact Fr. John at Sacred Heart if you are in need of this sacrament.