The Sacraments and Catechism

The sacraments

church window, baptism, sacrament

The sacraments are God’s way of sharing his unconditional love with us at various stages of our lives.

In all the sacraments we receive God’s grace by the Holy Spirit at ceremonies which themselves were instituted by Christ, and were given to the Church to be administered by deacons, priests and bishops.

Through the celebration of the sacraments Christ is truly present in our lives and in turn we build up the body of Christ to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. The sacraments provide strength and nourishment to continue on our journey of faith.

By definition a sacrament is ‘An outward sign of inward grace, ordained by Jesus Christ, by which grace is given to our souls.’ (A Catechism of Christian Doctrine 249)

The Church celebrates seven sacraments, which are divided into three categories:

  • Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist
  • Healing – Penance & Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
  • Service – Holy Orders, Matrimony


Baptism is when we become part of God’s family — the family of the Church — hence we are called the children of God.

It is defined by the Church as the door which gives access to the other sacraments (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213).

In Baptism we are washed free from original sin, the sin we are all born in to, and begin a new life in Christ.

Parents who present their child for Baptism are then entrusted to pass on the faith and at the appropriate time present them to receive the other two Sacraments of Initiation – Confirmation and Eucharist.

If you would like to find out more about Baptism at Our Lady & St Hugh, please contact Fr Pat.


Confirmation is the sacrament by which a person renews and confirms the promises made, on their behalf by their parents and godparents, when they were presented for Baptism.

Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit they receive the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit that they can draw strength from as they bear witness to Christ in their lives through word and deed.

If you would like to find out more about Confirmation at Our Lady & St Hugh, please contact Fr Pat.

Eucharist (Holy Communion)

In the Eucharist we offer bread and wine to God and it becomes, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the body and blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, which we then receive in Holy Communion.

This sacrament unites us with Jesus and with one another. The Eucharist is the high point of our Christian worship together. ‘It is the source and summit of all Christian life.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324)


Penance and Reconciliation

The sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, also known as Confession, is a sacrament of healing.

Following an examination of conscience and repentance for sins, confession is made to a priest who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, forgives us our sins and reconciles us to God.

A penance is imposed, usually in the form of prayer.

Anointing of the Sick

This is the second sacrament of healing to those who have a serious illness or are nearing death.

It gives comfort, peace and courage to those who are sick or dying and in addition forgives their sins and prepares them for their time of death.

Jesus showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and commanded his followers to do the same.

Holy Orders

Holy Orders is the sacrament by which bishops, priests and deacons are ordained and receive the power and grace to act in the name of Christ.

Holy Orders is only received by those who have the vocation to priesthood, who in turn become the very men who can administer all of the sacraments.

Through their ordination they perform their sacred duties – preach the Gospel, celebrate divine worship, especially the Eucharist, and to act as a pastor to the faithful.

The Holy Order gives a special effusion of the Holy Spirit and has a special characteristic: he who receives this sacrament will be a priest forever, his soul permanently marked and called apart by God.


The sacrament of matrimony is also a vocation.

Through the vows taken a man and woman are joined together for life.

Marriage begins with a wedding service in the presence of God and the faith community and the couple continue to confer the sacrament on one another whenever they offer themselves in the service of the other and the larger community.

Thus, marriage is an ongoing sacrament. The grace of the sacrament is there to strengthen the couple and should be open to creating and raising a family.


Catechesis, Catechism, Catechist and Catechumen are related terms originating from Greek.

As nouns the difference between catechesis and catechism is that catechesis is religious instruction given orally to catechumens while catechism is a book, in question and answer form, summarising the basic principles of Christianity.

A catechist is a teacher of the principles of the catechism and the catechumen is the one receiving the teaching.

Baptism at Our Lady & St Hugh

Parents wishing to have a child Baptised at Our Lady & St Hugh are required to attend a course of preparation. A two-session course is run in the Parish. Parents are welcome to attend before the birth of their child. Please contact Celia Brown on 01993 773840.

Adults who are interested in receiving the sacrament of baptism are requested to contact Fr Pat for a chat about how your needs can be met.

Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation at Our Lady & St Hugh

These three sacraments are all taught within the parish. Children attending non-Catholic schools attend a series of workshops coordinated by the parish’s catechist, supported by their parents.

Children who attend Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School receive training as part of the Sacramental syllabus as well as attending a number of workshops alongside the other children.

Parents wishing their children to be prepared for Reconciliation and First Holy Communion must obtain a Request Form from Father Pat, whether they attend Our Lady of Lourdes or other schools. These candidates must be Year 3 or above and must produce a Baptism certificate if not Baptised in Our Lady and St Hugh’s Parish.

Adults who are interested in receiving any of these Sacraments are requested to contact Fr Pat for a chat about how your needs can be met.