“Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 857)
The Sacraments of the Episcopal Church include:
- The Eucharist or Holy Communion.
In addition to the Sacraments, the church recognizes other spiritual markers in our journey of faith. These include:
- Confirmation (the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows) pages 413-419, Book of Common Prayer;
- Reconciliation of a Penitent (private confession) pages 447-452, Book of Common Prayer;
- Matrimony (Christian marriage) pages 422-438, Book of Common Prayer;
- Orders (ordination to deacon, priest, or bishop) pages 510-555, Book of Common Prayer;
- Unction (anointing with oil those who are sick or dying) pages 453-467, Book of Common Prayer.
These help us to be a sacramental people, seeing God always at work around us.
Holy Baptism is one of the two great sacraments of the church instituted by Jesus. Through water and the Holy Spirit, it is full initiation into the body of Christ, the Church. It also marks the beginning of one’s life as a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ within a particular faith community. The expectation is that individuals being baptized will be active members of the congregation.
The sacrament of Baptism is offered several times a year at St. Monica’s, usually the Sunday after All Saints Day (1st Sunday in November), the Sunday after Epiphany in January, at the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost. It takes place within the context of the Holy Eucharist, at one of the regular services. Private baptisms are only for emergency situations. Infants, as well as adults, may be candidates for the sacrament. Preparation is required for adults and for the parents and godparents of infants.
The service of Holy Baptism may be found in the Book of Common Prayer, beginning on page 299. A booklet with complete information about Baptism at St. Monica’s is available. Please speak to the rector to begin the preparation for baptism.
Holy Eucharist is the second of the two great sacraments of the church instituted by Jesus. It remembers the Last Supper – the meal Jesus shared with his disciples and friends the night before his death. At that meal, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, then gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you.” He took a cup of wine and said, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus instructed his friends to break bread and share wine in remembrance of him.
At St. Monica’s, Holy Eucharist is celebrated at all weekend services, on Wednesdays at noon, and on other occasions. All baptized persons are invited to share in the bread and wine.
We use services from the Book of Common Prayer and other approved sources in designing our worship services.
Confirmation and Reception
“In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop. Those baptized as adults, unless baptized with laying on of hands by a bishop, are also expected to make a public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism in the presence of a bishop and to receive the laying on of hands.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 412)
The Diocesan Bishop visits St. Monica’s about once each year. When the Bishop comes, those who have been prepared and desire to be confirmed are presented. Sometimes this is done as part of a regular Sunday service. At other times a special service is held at a time other than Sunday morning. In either case it is a glorious celebration.
Those confirmed by a bishop in another Christian tradition are received into the fellowship of this Communion. They are not re-confirmed.
Preparation for Confirmation usually takes place in the winter or early spring, depending on the date of the Bishop’s visit.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation of a Penitent (Confession)
Private confession is available by appointment with any of the clergy of St. Monica’s. Please call to make arrangements.
Christian marriage is an affirmation of the future as well as one of the sacraments of the Church. It is intended to be a lifelong union of the heart, body, and mind in accordance with the purpose for which it was instituted by God. It is appropriate for Christians to have their marriage vows witnessed and blessed in the Church.
Preparation for marriage is a lengthy process, requiring counseling and careful planning. It is advisable to contact the Church as early as possible, at least 90 days in advance of a desired date. Weddings are not usually scheduled during Lent. One member of the couple is required to be a baptized Christian. In the case of prior marriage, consent of the Bishop is required for marriage in the Church. Please contact a member of the clergy for more information.
The service of Christian Marriage is found in the Book of Common Prayer on page 423. A booklet containing information about weddings at St. Monica’s is available.
Orders is the ordination of a person to deacon, priest, or bishop. The service of ordination is found in the Book of Common Prayer, pages 510 – 111.
At the Time of Death
The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult and painful times in the life of a Christian. The clergy and members of the Church are eager to provide pastoral care. It is important to notify the Church Office as soon as possible so that a member of the clergy may call and help with funeral planning.
It is most appropriate that Christians be buried from the Church. Services at the graveside or in a funeral home may also be arranged through the clergy.
The Prayer Book provides words of comfort in Psalm 23, page 476, and in the prayers listed on page 812. The Burial Office is found in the Book of Common Prayer, pages 469 and 491.