Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble.
Holy Baptism is appropriately administered with the Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast day. The Celebrant is expected to preach the Word and preside at Baptism and the Eucharist. At Baptism, in the absence of the Bishop, the priest is the celebrant and presides at the service. He or she officiates at the Presentation and Examination of the Candidates; says the Thanksgiving over the Water; reads the prayer, “Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit;” and officiates at what follows.
Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life. Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates.
It is fitting that parents be included among the godparents of their own children. Parents and godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of Baptism, in their duties to help the new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as members of his Church.
The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again. The Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself. The Holy Eucharist is called the Lord’s Supper, and Holy Communion; it is also known as the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, and the Great Offering.
The outward and visible sign in the Eucharist is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command. The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith. The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.
When we come to the Eucharist, it is required that we examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.
WHAT ARE THE SACRAMENTS?
The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace. Grace is God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills. The two great sacraments given by Christ to his Church are Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.
Other sacramental rites which evolved in the Church include confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction. They differ from the two sacraments of the Gospel, Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist. Although they are means of grace, they are not necessary for all persons in the same way that Baptism and the Eucharist are. Sacraments sustain our hope to live with confidence in newness and fullness of life, and to await the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God’s purpose for the world.
What is Confirmation? It is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop. Currently (January 2015) an Inquirers’ Class is held on 5 consecutive Wednesdays which prepares candidates for confirmation.
What is Ordination? It is the rite in which God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit to those being made bishops, priest, and deacons, through prayer and the laying on of hands by bishops.
What is Holy Matrimony? It is Christian marriage, in which the woman and man enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows.
What is Reconciliation of a Penitent? It is the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution.
What is Unction of the Sick? It is the rite of anointing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, by which God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind and body.