WHAT WE BELIEVE - OVERVIEW

God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel. Strengthened by this mission, the apostles “went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.”

Those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.

The sacraments of the Church now continue the works which Christ had performed during his earthly life. The sacraments are as it were “powers that go forth” from the Body of Christ to heal the wounds of sin and to give us the new life of Christ. In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls “the sacramental economy”; this is the communication (or “dispensation”) of the fruits of Christ’s Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church’s “sacramental” liturgy.

“The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby ‘dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.’ For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth ‘the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.’ ” For this reason, the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.

For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that “the work of our redemption is accomplished,” and it is through the liturgy especially that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.

As the work of Christ, liturgy is also an action of his Church. It makes the Church present and manifests her as the visible sign of the communion in Christ between God and men. It engages the faithful in the new life of the community and involves the “conscious, active, and fruitful participation” of everyone.

Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION, the EUCHARIST, PENANCE, the ANOINTING OF THE SICK, HOLY ORDERS, and MATRIMONY. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.


SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

ABOUT THE SACRAMENT

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word.”

All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying. The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his “beloved Son.”

In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism.

NECESSITY OF BAPTISM

The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

PREPARATION FOR BAPTISM: INFANT AND CHILDREN

Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.

The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.

Parents who wish to have their infants or young child Baptized are asked to complete the Baptismal Request Form below or call the Parish Office (952-492-2640).

Baptisms are celebrated on the first and third Sundays of the month following the 10:00 am Mass.

BAPTISM PROGRAM

If this is your first child you will be required to take a preparation program. (You will not be required to take this program if you have had other children, or you have previously taken a baptismal preparation program.) This program will complete the preparation requirement for baptism, you will learn more about St. John’s, get additional information, and have the opportunity to become members. Once the class is complete we can solidify the final date for the Sacrament of Baptism.

PREPARATION FOR BAPTISM: ADULTS AND OLDER TEENS

Since the beginning of the Church, adult Baptism is the common practice where the proclamation of the Gospel is still new. The catechumenate (preparation for Baptism) therefore occupies an important place. This initiation into Christian faith and life should dispose the catechumen to receive the gift of God in Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

The catechumenate, or formation of catechumens, aims at bringing their conversion and faith to maturity, in response to the divine initiative and in union with an ecclesial community. The catechumenate is to be “a formation in the whole Christian life … during which the disciples will be joined to Christ their teacher. The catechumens should be properly initiated into the mystery of salvation and the practice of the evangelical virtues, and they should be introduced into the life of faith, liturgy, and charity of the People of God by successive sacred rites.”

Catechumens “are already joined to the Church, they are already of the household of Christ, and are quite frequently already living a life of faith, hope, and charity.” “With love and solicitude mother Church already embraces them as her own.”

Generally, adults and older teens prepare for and celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism in connection to the parish Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This formation program assists people in learning more about life in the Catholic faith. The candidates for R.C.I.A. will celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, First Eucharist, and Confirmation at Easter Vigil Mass.

Please contact Tina Goetz if you are interested in RCIA at 952-492-4560 or sjbjordanff@gmail.com.

BAPTISMAL REGISTRATION FORM


SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of deathn shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
— Matthew 16:18-19

ABOUT THE SACRAMENT

During his public life Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: he reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them. A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at his table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God’s forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God.

In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.”

The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.”

Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation with God, but also with the Church. Since ancient times the bishop, visible head of a particular Church, has thus rightfully been considered to be the one who principally has the power and ministry of reconciliation: he is the moderator of the penitential discipline. Priests, his collaborators, exercise it to the extent that they have received the commission either from their bishop (or religious superior) or the Pope, according to the law of the Church.

When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner.

A SACRAMENT OF HEALING

The faithful are encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly. It is important that we make the reflection of our lives and our sinfulness part of our regular experience of prayer. It is also important for us to seek out the grace Sacramental forgiveness through Reconciliation provides. Open your heart to the healing power of reconciliation.

This Sacrament of Reconciliation is often called the:

  • Sacrament of Penance since it calls the sinner personally to repentance.

  • Sacrament of Confession since in confessing our sins we acknowledge the need for God and we praise His loving mercy.

  • Sacrament of Forgiveness since absolution grants us pardon and peace.

  • Sacrament of Conversion because it has the capacity to change our hearts.

Sacrament of Reconciliation because it imparts to each of us the love of God who heals and reconciles us to God himself, to the Church, and to our loved ones. Regardless of the name, the purpose is the same, to receive the grace of God’s mercy by the acknowledgement of our sinfulness, and the desire to reconcile ourselves to God and the Church through prayer and action.

We celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Tuesdays from 5:45pm until 6:00pm, Fridays at 8:45am, Saturdays from 4:00pm until 4:40pm and on First Saturdays from 7:45am until 8:00am. Advent and Lenten Parish Reconciliation Services are also planned each year. Personal appointments are also available by contacting Father Neil at 952-492-4560.

FIRST RECONCILIATION

Children in second grade prepare to celebrate their First Reconciliation through attendance at St. John’s Catholic School or Family Formation classes. Families receive First Reconciliation home lessons to complete together as a family and attend a First Reconciliation Workshop in preparation. If your child is older than Second Grade and has not received their First Reconciliation, please contact the Faith Formation Office at 952.492.4573.


SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION

ABOUT THE SACRAMENT

Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “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.”

In treating the rite of Confirmation, it is fitting to consider the sign of anointing and what it signifies and imprints: a spiritual seal. Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By Confirmation Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off “the aroma of Christ.”

By this anointing the confirmand receives the “mark,” the seal of the Holy Spirit. A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority, or ownership of an object. Hence soldiers were marked with their leader’s seal and slaves with their master’s. A seal authenticates a juridical act or document and occasionally makes it secret. Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.

This “character” perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and “the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially.

SAINT JOHN’S PROGRAM

St. John’s two-year preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation is open to candidates in ninth through 12th grade. Confirmation preparation begins with the Sacrament of Baptism. It grows through the witness of the family and continues through participation in the sacraments and liturgy. Faith Formation opportunities are designed to support families in passing on the Faith to their children. At St. Johns, our tradition has been to confirm in 10th grade. Annual participation in St. John’s Faith Formation programs is expected in preparation for this sacrament.

There are a number of benefits to a two-year program: requirements are spaced over a two-year time frame, students have additional opportunities to “awaken a sense of belonging”, and Confirmation becomes part of a life-long faith journey and not a graduation.

If you are age 18 and older and have not celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation, we welcome you to journey through preparation with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults(RCIA) ministry.

Contact the Faith Formation Office at 952-492-5827 or sjbjordanff@gmail.com for RCIA information.


SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST

ABOUT THE SACRAMENT

The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.

“At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’ ”

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” By the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.

In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.”

At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread.…” “He took the cup filled with wine.…” The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the “work of human hands,” but above all as “fruit of the earth” and “of the vine”—gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who “brought out bread and wine,” a prefiguring of her own offering.

The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love. In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; “thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament.”

By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus’ passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom.


FIRST HOLY COMMUNION

Children in second grade prepare to celebrate their First Holy Communion through attendance at St. John’s Catholic School or Family Formation classes. Families receive First Holy Communion lessons to complete together as a family and attend a First Communion Workshop in preparation. For children who are older than second grade and have not received their First Communion, please contact the Faith Formation Office at 952-492-5730.


SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS

ABOUT THE SACRAMENT

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: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.

The chosen people was constituted by God as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” But within the people of Israel, God chose one of the twelve tribes, that of Levi, and set it apart for liturgical service; God himself is its inheritance. A special rite consecrated the beginnings of the priesthood of the Old Covenant. The priests are “appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the “one mediator between God and men.”

The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church. The same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing the uniqueness of Christ’s priesthood: “Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers.”

TWO PARTICIPATIONS IN THE ONE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST

Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be … a holy priesthood.”

The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, “each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ.” While being “ordered one to another,” they differ essentially. In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace—a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit—, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is like the living image of God the Father.

“The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.” Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate. The diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this reason the term sacerdos in current usage denotes bishops and priests but not deacons.

WHAT IS A VOCATION

In the simplest terms, “vocation” means a “call.” So, in general terms your vocation is what God calls you to do with your life. Everybody is called by God to know, love and serve him. The difference is how each one does this.Many people are called to marriage, while others may be called to the vocation of priesthood, to consecrated life as a Sister or Brother, or to the diaconate. Equally, Christ calls some to the commitment of single life. However, we usually use “Vocation” to mean a call to the consecrated, religious or priestly life. For more information about discerning your vocation, visit the Archdiocesan Office for Vocations website.Text taken from www.vocation.com

WHY DOES VOCATION MATTER?

“What will you do with your life? What are your plans? Have you ever thought of committing your existence totally to Christ? Do you think that there can be anything greater than to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus?” –Pope John Paul II

“Dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ. He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return.” –Pope Benedict XVI

If you would like more information about holy orders, please contact Father Neil (952-492-4560) or the Archdiocesan Vocation Director, Reverend David Blume, at 651-962-6890. More information about priesthood and the religious vocation of sister and brother can be found at www.10000vocations.org.


SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY

ABOUT THE SACRAMENT

“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”

Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.” Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its “mystery,” its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal “in the Lord” in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church.

God who created man out of love also calls him to love—the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.’ ”

In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.

The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the marriage.” If consent is lacking there is no marriage. The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear. No human power can substitute for this consent. If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid.

“From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament.” The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.

REQUIREMENTS BEFORE MARRIAGE

  • Marriage in the Catholic Church may only be contracted between two people who are free to marry.

    • Individuals who have been married before and still have a former spouse living, must first have that marriage declared null before they can establish a date for their wedding.

  • Being married at Saint John the Baptist is reserved for registered parishioners, and those closely related to current parishioners.

  • Archdiocesan policy dictates that marriage formation must begin at least six months prior to the scheduled wedding.

    • This will require the couple to contact the parish office (952-492-2640) 9-12 months prior to a desired wedding date.

    • Preparation includes meetings with a parish representative, a FOCCUS inventory with an assigned mentor couple, and attending a 6-week Pre-Marriage Formation Program.

    • The couple is also required to attend an Archdiocesan Weekend Retreat, as well as complete a Natural Family Planning course.

APPLICATION TO HOLY MATRIMONY


SACRAMENT OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK

ABOUT THE SACRAMENT

“By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.”

Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death. Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.

Christ invites his disciples to follow him by taking up their cross in their turn. By following him they acquire a new outlook on illness and the sick. Jesus associates them with his own life of poverty and service. He makes them share in his ministry of compassion and healing: “So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.”

The Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.”

THE FOLLOWING PEOLE ARE ENCOURAGED TO RECEIVE THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK:

  • people whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age

  • people who have fallen ill after being anointed previously

  • people who are having surgery

  • elderly people who have become notably weakened even though no serious illness is present

  • sick children if they can understand the purpose of this sacrament and not be frightened of it.

What is the purpose of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?

A particular gift of the Holy Spirit. The first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death. This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God’s will. Furthermore, “if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

Union with the passion of Christ. By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ’s Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior’s redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.

An ecclesial grace. The sick who receive this sacrament, “by freely uniting themselves to the passion and death of Christ,” “contribute to the good of the People of God.” By celebrating this sacrament the Church, in the communion of saints, intercedes for the benefit of the sick person, and he, for his part, though the grace of this sacrament, contributes to the sanctification of the Church and to the good of all men for whom the Church suffers and offers herself through Christ to God the Father.

A preparation for the final journey. If the sacrament of anointing of the sick is given to all who suffer from serious illness and infirmity, even more rightly is it given to those at the point of departing this life; so it is also called sacramentum exeuntium (the sacrament of those departing). The Anointing of the Sick completes our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ, just as Baptism began it. It completes the holy anointings that mark the whole Christian life: that of Baptism which sealed the new life in us, and that of Confirmation which strengthened us for the combat of this life. This last anointing fortifies the end of our earthly life like a solid rampart for the final struggles before entering the Father’s house.

Please call Father Neil if you would like to receive the Anointing of the Sick. Father Neil is available for emergency needs by calling 952-492-2640 and press 3 to connect to Father’s cell phone. Father Neil may also be contacted at 952-492-4560.