Sacraments and Life in Christ at Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart (English-Speaking) Parish, as with all parishes in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, supports the sacramental and devotional life of its members.
Celebrated in four churches weekly and at the St. Francis Xavier Chapel of the Jesuit Center daily, except Sundays.
All Catholics seek to be in their church for the Eucharist each week (normally for Sunday Mass) and on the Holy Days of Obligation.
Children who are Baptized will normally prepare for “First Communion” at age seven or eight. An announcement will be made, usually in late August, for a meeting with parents of children who are ready to prepare for this sacrament. The Pastor and the teacher, or teachers, will review the program, what the obligations of the parents will be and how to proceed.
Adults become Catholics, and a period of “catechesis” or formation takes place for up to two years before they are Baptized. Speak with the pastor in a formal appointment if you are ready to begin!
Pastors may also baptize infants and very young (under age 4) children if they are certain that the parents will raise the child in regular Catholic practice and faith. Pastors are not obliged to baptize children of “nominal” Catholics, nor are they obliged to observe “customs” from “back home” concerning this sacrament. So, parents of new children need to be regular in attendance at church and will need to make an appointment with the priest to discuss the baptism of children. This will normally be done a few times per year for a group of children whose parents are ready to assume the required role of raising their children in Catholic practice and faith. Two (and only two) Godparents, active members of their church, are required to be present also for any baptism.
Young persons who are baptized and receiving Communion normally have a special year to prepare themselves for this sacrament, which completes their “sacraments of initiation.” Speak with the leadership of your congregation about this if you are around 12 years old.
A couple desiring to receive this sacrament will welcome Christ into their married life in a most effective and life-giving way. Preparation for this sacrament will need a minimum of 9 months, and couples are advised to speak with the pastor 12 months ahead of a possible wedding day to prepare the conversations and the required paperwork. No wedding day can be set until the couple and the pastor complete the collection of data which the Catholic church requires of its members who intend to marry.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is generally available before public Masses from any of the priests. However, the priests must be seen 20-30 minutes ahead of the Mass, and they will not be able to help unless the member arrives quite early. Also, Private Confession is available at the Jesuit Center Monday through Saturday before or after the daily Mass and by appointment.
There will be a seasonal “Penitential Service” at one or more churches during Lent and Advent each year. Individual confession will be available to all who desire at such a service, and there will be a community expression of sin, repentance, penance, and reconciliation.
Sacrament of the Sick
When a member is very sick, or makes a serious turn “for the worse,” Catholics ask the priest to administer this sacrament. It is good if the family and friends are present also at the home or in the hospital when the priest visits for this sacrament. Please telephone or email the priest on behalf of your beloved family member.Please recall that this sacrament is only for Catholic persons.
During the year, there will be an occasion for a Community Celebration of the Sacrament of the Sick at one or more of the churches. Our infirm members will be anointed, and other members who, for any reason are suffering physical, emotional, social, mental, or spiritual infirmity may also receive this Sacrament.
Men can become priests and deacons, and every Catholic family can help young men to discern a “calling” or “vocation” to lifelong service of the church. Congregations need to speak openly and freely to the young people about God, Jesus Christ, service, and the need for the people of God to receive ministry from ordained persons.God willing, every parish will help support a vocation to ordained ministry every 5 years. The sacrament of Holy Orders is a whole-community reality in which a few of its members are called to undertake intense activity for the Gospel, for sacraments, and for Christian leadership.
Although not sacramental, our community can support and encourage its members to lead consecrated lives of full-time service in the Church. The pay is low, the days are long, the training takes many years, and the personal satisfactions and spiritual rewards are very big. Any Catholic member can give testimony about “consecrated life” which sisters and brothers and priests profess.
Devotions are not sacraments, and not every devotion is for every one. Your parish is a good “meeting place” for your devotion, and especially for group devotions. Lay leadership is critical for the success of any group work for devotional life, and your pastor and leadership will welcome the initiative of the members to improve their devotional life.
This is the time of the Laity in the Catholic Church, and a wide array of ministry is possible – charitable work, community work, education of youth, visits to the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, dialogue with non-Catholics, group study of scriptures, and some altar ministries. Work with your leadership to develop Lay-based work for Jesus Christ – your life will never be the same again.