The Roman Catholic church has seven holy sacraments that are seen as mystical channels of divine grace, instituted by Christ. Each is celebrated with a visible rite, which reflects the invisible, spiritual essence of the sacrament. Whereas some sacraments are received only once, others require active and ongoing participation to foster the "living faith" of the celebrant.
Sacrament is a necessary part of our faith as Catholics. Here in Our Lady of Sorrows, Peckham, we administer the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing of the sick and Marriage.
Baptism Preparation Course (Children)
The baptism preparation course takes place three to four times a year and is intended to help parents to:
- Reflect on their own faith and Christian commitment
- Become more confident in their ability to explain that faith to their children
- Receive the support of a group of parents in similar circumstances
- Deepen their understanding of the meaning of Baptism.
Parents will need to attend an interview with the Parish Priest to determine their eligibility. Once this has happened the meetings will be over two weeks, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 7.30 p.m. until about 9.00 p.m. The meetings include personal testimony of members of the parish, who have come to faith in Christ by a variety of routes, and also a period of discussion within the group.
Parents wishing to have their children baptized will need to provide a copy of catholicity, e.g. Baptism Certificate, Confirmation Certificate, First Holy Communion Certificate and/or Catholic Marriage Certificate at the registration evening.
Please note that from time to time, depending on demand, we also run short courses for children aged 7 - 16 who have not yet been baptized. For those aged 16+, the R.C.I.A is more appropriate
Prerequisites for Sponsors of Baptism (Canon 874)
...The Sponsor must:
- have completed their 16th year of age , unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the priest has granted an exception for a just cause.
- be a catholic who had been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of The Eucharist and leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on.
- not be the father or mother of the one to be baptised.
§ A baptised person who belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism
Baptism Certificate Request
If you require a copy of a baptism certificate, you will need to fill out a request form. These can be obtained from the Parish Secretary or from the sacristy. Alternatively, you can download it from the link below and post through the letter box of the Presbytery in Friary Road. You can collect from the sacristy or if you wish for it to be mailed to you, please enclose a Stamped, Self-Addressed envelope with the request.
There is a £10.00 administration fee for each copy of a Baptism Certificate.
Baptism Certificate Request Form (pdf)
The Sacramental Symbols of Baptism.
Blessing and Invocation: The priest or deacon blesses the water using the sign of the cross. He invokes the Spirit of God to come onto the water and consecrate it. This makes it Holy so that the person being baptised will be; "born again of Water and the Spirit".
Profession of Faith: Baptism brings someone into the community of Christian People. We faithfully profess that we follow Christ by proclaiming the ancient Creed of the Church.
Baptism: The central and most important part of Baptism; Water. There is a threefold pouring over the person to be baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity; The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The newly baptised in now purified, saved, delivered from evil, set free and belongs to God.
Anointing: Oil is used to sweeten, to strengthen and to render supple. The Church uses consecrated oil for this same purpose in Baptism. The oil is consecrated each year by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday. The sign of the Cross is traced on the forehead of the newly baptised. They are now consecrated to the Lord.
White Garment: Being transformed through baptism, the White Garment is a sign of newness of life and being 'Clothed in Christ'.
Lighted Candle: During Baptisms, the Paschal Candle burns near the baptismal font. A symbols of the presence of the Risen Lord. A small candle is used to take a flame from the Paschal Candle and entrusted to the newly baptised person, through their godparents. As a community we pray the flame of faith may be kept alive until the Lord comes again to call this and all children of light to join him and all the saints in his heavenly kingdom.
First Holy Communion Programme
Any child(ren) in years 3 to 6 of Primary School is eligible to enroll in the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows' First Holy Communion Programme.
The First Holy Communion Programme will be divided into three distinctive parts:
The FIRST PART will focus on Baptism, Prayer, Basic Skills, Advent and Christmas, this is to cover in greater depth the knowledge and understanding that a child requires to receive the Sacrament. This will be done in blocks of six to seven or more weeks depending on the time span.
The Catholic Church's focus is parental responsibility in the preparation of the child(ren) for the Sacraments. You the parent(s)/guardian(s)/carer(s) are the first teachers, (ccc#2223). We ask you, the parent(s)/guardian(s)/carer(s), to especially help your child(ren) through this period of preparation by attending Mass and receiving the Sacraments frequently, where properly disposed, and working with them on prayer in the home. This type of role model will help and support your child(ren).
The SECOND PART of the programme will be focusing on all aspects of Confession (Reconciliation). This is your opportunity to renew your link with God, to make Confession a part of your life-style, which again will support your child(ren).
The THIRD PART of the Programme is the Eucharist, in which the children will be preparing how to receive the Precious Body and Blood of Christ. It is your duty as the Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Carer(s) to attend weekly Mass every weekend. Again, showing your child(ren) that it's not something to be picked up and put down as the fancy takes you, but a way of life, or to use today's buzz-word 'a lifestyle'.
A couple of books you will need to help your child(ren) throughout the course are:
A simple Prayer book
A Catechism of Christian Doctrine
These are very useful resources because they can answer most of your questions.
The classes take place on two sessions on Sundays:
12.00 p.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.
In addition to the above books, we highly recommend that each family home should have a latest edition of The Holy Bible (The Jerusalem Bible) as well as a copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
For enquiries or information you can email us at:
Confirmation is the second Sacrament of Initiation and strengthens and completes what was begun in Baptism. In our parish, in order to take part in the Confirmation Programme, a candidate must be the second year of secondary school or above. The course begins in September each year and continues until the visit of the Bishop who administers the Sacrament of Confirmation, usually sometime in September.
Classes take place on Wednesdays in the school term-time, from 4.45 pm until 6.00. Two 'Awaydays' are included, which build upon the work done in the weekly classes. During the course, we examine the fundamentals of the Christian religion. We discuss each topic with a view to helping the candidates come to a more mature understanding of their faith, both as a faith shared by the whole Church and a faith that is personal to them.
It is important that the candidates for Confirmation take part in the course out of their own personal choice, not simply because it is expected or because their parents want them to. Only if there is a definite personal commitment of this nature, is it possible for a candidate to enter fully into the work of preparation and so to maximize the prospects of Sacrament bearing fruit in his or her life.
Adults who wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation would need to take part in the R.C.I.A. Programme which is better suited to their needs.
For further information, please contact the parish office, details can be found on the contacts page.
Anointing of the Sick
"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." (ccc1499)
Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping the person discern in their life what is not essential so that they can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to Him.
Sickness and sin are linked in some way. Not that those who suffer necessarily do so because they have sinned, but clearly, if Christ suffered for sin and often linked healing with conversion of the heart, there is a mysterious link. This is only fully understood by God. He, through his Church, gives healing for sin and for sickness. The Sacrament of the Sick expressed this clearly in the words used.
We read in the letter of St James about this sacrament:
"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [presbyters] of the Church and let them pray over him, 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." Jas 5:14-15.
So it is a priest who anoints:
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 them to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.
The Church is very liberal in this and recommends that, for example, the elderly can be anointed monthly and people, who may look healthy but who may have a serious condition can be anointed. This includes children over the use of reason.
The sacrament forgives sins. This may help in the healing process by calming the sufferer.
However the sacrament is not first and foremost a healing service. Nor is it a charismatic laying on of hands.
This is the official sacrament of the Church. The sure work of Christ.
Please let the priest know if anyone is sick or housebound. He and Lay Ministers take Holy Communion out each week, but we often do not know until the person gets better or otherwise.
There is a Mass for the Sick and Housebound, with the Blessing of Objects, on the 1st Friday of each month at 7.30 p.m. - Everyone is welcome.
Penance & Reconciliation
Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)
Monday to Saturday - After the Morning Mass. (Other times on request).
Extracts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
1422 "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion."
What is this sacrament called?
1423 It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin.
It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction
1424 It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a "confession" - acknowledgment and praise - of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent "pardon and peace."
It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the live of God who reconciles: "Be reconciled to God." He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: "Go; first be reconciled to your brother."
Why a Sacrament of Reconciliation after Baptism?
1425 "You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." One must appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us in the sacraments of Christian initiation in order to grasp the degree to which sin is excluded for him who has "put on Christ." But the apostle John also says: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. And the Lord himself taught us to pray: "Forgive us our trespasses," linking our forgiveness of one another's offenses to the forgiveness of our sins that God will grant us.
1426 Conversion to Christ, the new birth of Baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ received as food have made us "holy and without blemish," just as the Church herself, the Bride of Christ, is "holy and without blemish." Nevertheless the new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life. This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us.
Only God forgives sins
1441 Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, "The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and exercises this divine power: "Your sins are forgiven." Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.
1442 Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the "ministry of reconciliation." The apostle is sent out "on behalf of Christ" with "God making his appeal" through him and pleading: "Be reconciled to God."
Reconciliation with the Church
1443 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.
1444 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."
1445 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
The sacrament of forgiveness
1446 Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as "the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.
1448 Beneath the changes in discipline and celebration that this sacrament has undergone over the centuries, the same fundamental structure is to be discerned. It comprises two equally essential elements: on the one hand, the acts of the man who undergoes conversion through the action of the Holy Spirit: namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction; on the other, God's action through the intervention of the Church. The Church, who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him. Thus, the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion.
1449 The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church expresses the essential elements of this sacrament: The Father of mercies is the source of all forgiveness. He effects the reconciliation of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit, through the prayer and ministry of the Church:
God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and the resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of
the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Acts of the Penitent
1450 "Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction."
1451 Among the penitent's acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."
1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.
1455 The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible.
1456 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."
1459 Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must "make satisfaction for" or "expiate" his sins. This satisfaction is also called "penance."
1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops' collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
1462 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.
The Effects of this Sacrament
1468 "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship." Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation "is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation." Indeed, the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true "spiritual resurrection," restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.
1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members. Re-established or strengthened in the communion of saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ, whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland:
1496 The Spiritual effects of the Sacrament of Penance are:
- reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
- reconciliation with the Church;
- remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
- remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
- peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
- an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.
Click the following link for the full text from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Catechism of the Catholic Church - Penance and Reconciliation. - http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm
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, the priesthood, or the diaconate.
A priest is a go between. He links God and man and man with God. So, he needs to be truly human and possess some divine powers. Clearly Jesus, being both God and man is the perfect high priest. But all who are baptized share in the priestly office to some degree. Out of these a few are chosen by Christ's Church to be given extra divine powers.
♦ To faithfully bring God's message to the people.
♦ To offer sacrifice to God on behalf of the people.
He is also a leader of the Christian community.
Originally there were just bishops, then deacons, then, at some stage, priests. The bishop had overall responsibility for the local Church. The deacon assisted the Bishop in serving the poor and preaching. As the churches spread the bishop needed more localized men as his representatives. These are the priests. They have most of the ordinary powers of the bishop but some they only exercise in emergency.
An example of this latter is that in the Eastern Catholic Church babies are baptized, confirmed and given a drop of the precious blood all in one celebration. In the Western Catholic Church, the Bishop kept confirmation for himself. Consequently, since he could not get round so often, Confirmation came at a later date and usually AFTER First Communion.
Priests usually take about six years to train. Permanent Deacons, who may be married, take about three years’ part time. This is time to see if the man has a true VOCATION. This is a call from the Church based on the man's desire to serve.
NB. When we speak about the powers of the priest, we do not mean that he should boss people about. Leadership should be one of service to the people and the wider Church. Father does not know everything and does not have to decide everything.
Most priests will tell you that his vocation is the happiest one possible.
Click the following link for the full text from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Catechism of the Catholic Church - Holy Orders. –