The visible reality we see in the Sacraments is their outward expression, the form they take, and the way in which they are administered and received.
The invisible reality we cannot "see" is God's grace, his gracious initiative in redeeming us through the death and Resurrection of his Son.
His initiative is called grace because it is the free and loving gift by which he offers people a share in his life and shows us his favor and will for our salvation. Our response to the grace of God's initiative is itself a grace or gift from God by which we can imitate Christ in our daily lives.
Becoming part of the family of God.
All Sacraments convey God’s grace. It’s not something to be earned. It cannot be bought. It is not a right. It is a gift!
The NCCNA can help you plan either your infant’s baptism or welcome you into our family as an adult. We look with baptism as a first step on the journey we call life as part of God’s family.
Baptisms are arranged and during this time of limited contact, will most likely be recommended for inside your home. Father Tom will vest and be wearing gloves. We ask that you arrange for an area of your home in which the baptism can take place, provide a bowl of warm water and Father Tom will bring the rest.
We can walk through how you’d like your ceremony and plan for this most joyous occasion! Give us a call!
Although not necessary, we suggest selecting Godparents for your child. The Godparents make a commitment to raise your child in the Catholic Church, promising that your child will receive the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation if you are unable or unwilling to fulfill your commitments.
A child may have one or two Godparents. We can discuss your choices and options with you during our planning calls!
We currently offer reconciliation as part of our weekly service via Facebook Live. If you’d like to have an individual confession, please contact Fr. Tom to arrange.
Some thoughts on the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Let’s begin these thoughts on the Sacrament by focusing on its name. Formerly, most of us used the term Confession and no doubt many will continue using that name from mere force of habit. Why change? Simply because “confession” calls the Sacrament by just one of its parts and therefore gives a wrong emphasis.
The new rite now speaks of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This term better expresses what is at the very heart of the Sacrament – namely, that by forgiving our sins, Jesus reconciles us to the Father. He causes a healing within us. The emphasis is on God’s activity. Only God can do this. Our response is a contrite heart – sorrow for having disobeyed God’s laws – thwarted His love. Healing and conversion are effected through God’s activity in us.
In this Sacrament as in all of them, there is a meeting with the risen Jesus. It is good when preparing to receive this Sacrament to emphasize this encounter aspect. A simple act of faith, such as: “Jesus, I believe that I am about to meet you in this Sacrament,” will help us focus on this faith meeting. This prayer can be said often; its brevity allows for prayerful attention to its meaning.
The encounter aspect of this Sacrament brings to mind the encounters between Jesus and the needy. In a very real sense the Sacrament we receive today is an extension of the past healings of Jesus which are repeated in our time. Let us consider a few of these encounters:
– the paralytic
– the ten lepers
– the centurion
In these episodes and others as well, power went forth from Jesus and brought about healing, a change, a conversion of heart. This healing took place on all levels of the human person. We are not divided into parts; we are a whole, and sin affects us as persons, fracturing us physically, psychologically, and morally.
Understanding the Sacrament of Reconciliation as an encounter, a meeting with the risen Jesus in the person of His priest, should make the encounter a happy one, filled with hope for His healing touch. Days after, such an encounter should reverberate in us with feelings of joy and gratitude. We may use short prayers such as: “Lord, thank You for the healing graces You gave me yesterday, or last week, when You touched me in Your Sacrament of Reconciliation!”
Do not be afraid!
We are aware that some people have been away from the sacrament of reconciliation for a long time (or have never taken part) and are not sure what to say or what to do when they go to confession. Do not be afraid – Fr. Tom will help you. He will walk you through every step and help you make a holy and worthy confession.
God, through His Church, has given us the awesome Sacrament of Reconciliation so sinners might meet with faith the forgiving Jesus Christ and walk away in peace. The stronger our faith, the clearer we view our sins, the more honestly we confess them, the greater our desire to improve, the deeper will be the inner joy and personal freedom we experience on those times we go to confession.
We suggest the five steps to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation well.
· Step I Prayer for Light and Courage
We should begin by praying to the Holy Spirit to help us make a worthy confession. We should ask God to help us believe in His mercy, to see our sins as they are, to confess them honestly despite the pain that involves, to experience His peace, and to change our future lives.
· Step II Trust in God’s Good Words about Forgiveness
In Sacred Scripture we have many stories and teachings about God’s limitless mercy, love and forgiveness. We should read one and reflect upon it before we go to confession.
· Step III Look Into One’s Heart and Pray for Contrition
This step requires a period of reflection sufficient to look at the past (How long since you last received the sacrament?”) and to search your sins over that period. A good examination of conscience is most important here. Also true contrition (sorrow) must be at the heart of all holy confessions. The genuineness of penance depends on this heartfelt contrition. Conversion is only possible if one is sorry and truly wants to change to be more like Christ.
ACT OF CONTRITION: Pray after me:
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.
· Step IV The Confession of Sin
We must tell our sins to the priest. The confession of sin comes from true knowledge of self before God and from contrition for those sins. We open our heart to the priest (whom represents Jesus Christ in the sacrament) and we humbly listen to his words of guidance and direction. Should one feel nervous or become forgetful, simply tell the confessor that and ask for his help. The priest is there to assist you, if need be.
· Step V Act of Penance and Absolution
True conversion is completed by acts of penance or satisfaction for the sins committed. The confessor (the priest) will give you a penance, usually some prayers or an act of kindness towards someone. This is designed to repair the harm done and to heal the wounds caused by our sins. It also is intended to help one to improve in the days ahead. Finally, the confessor will offer the words of the church called absolution. God offers salvation and peace to the repentant sinner.
ABSOLUTION: The priest will extend his hands and pronounce the words of absolution.
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.
Thus, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is completed. However, upon leaving, it is always fitting to give thanks to God for the grace He has just bestowed upon us. We hope this will be of some help to you and that you will have the confidence to meet our Lord in this great sacrament.
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” In the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself.
At the last supper, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. The Greek word eucharistein means thanksgiving. We also call the Eucharist Holy Communion because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body. We are united to Christ and with each other. During Mass, the bread and wine, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood.
Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever;…he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:51, 54, 56)
Who Can Receive Holy Communion?
In the National Catholic Church, all are welcome to share in the Eucharist. Jesus did not deny anyone and neither do we!
First Holy Communion
For information on the sacramental preparation for First Holy Communion, please contact Fr. Tom.
This is a wonderful time for private prayer and personal encounter with the Lord.
“Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is…an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of holiness…It is pleasant to spend time with (Christ), to lie close to his breast like the Beloved Disciple and to feel the infinite love present in his heart.”
Pope Saint John Paul II in The Church and the Eucharist, 10 & 25
· Pray the Psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours.
· Recite the “Jesus Prayer.” Say “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner,” repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind.
· Meditate using Scripture.
· Read the life of a saint and pray with him or her.
· Pour out your heart to Christ and adore Him.
· Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others.
· Pray the rosary.
· Sit quietly and just “be” in the presence of God.
From “Eucharistic Adoration,” Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN
St. Mary’s can assist you in scheduling this joyous day and ceremonies can take place anywhere.
Since 2005, the National Catholic Church has proclaimed that the Sacrament of Marriage is between two Christian people who choose to ask God to bless and strengthen the love of the couple. There are no restrictions on gender, identity or gender orientation. This is a complete sacramental marriage, not simply a blessing or holy union. If you are interested in marrying your partner, use the contact page to schedule an appointment with a pastoral staff member.
People considering marriage yearn for certain things. They want to be accepted unconditionally by each other. They want their marriage to be filled with love and happiness. In short, they want their marriage to be a source of joy and fulfillment their whole life long.
In the Rite of Marriage the vows are witnesses by a priest or deacon; the priest or deacon does not “marry” the couple. Drawn from our Hebrew traditions, the marriage vows are between the couple.
The couple is asked if they will love one another faithfully and totally—in short, if they will love as God loves. “Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?” asks the bishop, priest, or deacon. “Will you love and honor each other for the rest of your lives? These are different ways of asking the same basic question: Are you ready to accept this person, and all that may come from your union, completely and forever?
God’s plan for married life and love is far richer and more fulfilling.
People who are going into the hospital for tests or surgery have a special need for spiritual care and support. Our Lord Jesus understood the fears and the worries of those who are ill (and of their families), and so He instituted in His Church a special sacrament called the Anointing of the Sick.
We read in the letter of St. James 5:14-15, “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” This gift of grace is for anyone who is facing surgery, experiencing a serious illness or becoming weak because of old age.
We encourage anyone who needs this spiritual consolation and divine assistance to speak to one of the priests as soon as this becomes a worry. If for surgery, do this before you are at the hospital so that here in our community, in the church or at your home, we can pray with you and administer this powerful sign of God’s healing love.
During this time of coronavirus, we will be providing a “Spiritual Anointing of the Sick” during Sunday Mass (Easter, May 10, Pentecost)
You may contact Fr. Tom to schedule an anointing in church, or at your home if you are unable to come to the parish, or at a nursing home or the hospital. If you would like to receive the Sacrament of the Sick when you come to Mass, mention your need to the priest before Mass, and you can receive the Anointing afterward.
If your loved one is actively dying and in urgent need of anointing, please call Fr. Tom
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission that Christ entrusted to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests), and diaconate (deacons).
Just like Christ called apostles and disciples to teach and heal in his name, He continues to do so in our day. St. Paul, reflecting on his ministry in the name of Jesus, wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:1 “Thus should one regard us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
“Ordination” comes from the Latin word ordinatio, which means to incorporate someone into an order.
During the sacrament of Holy Orders, a man or woman man is incorporated into the priesthood of Jesus Christ at one of the three degrees. Thus bishops, priests and deacons help administer the grace of Christ.
“Vocation” comes from the Latin word vocare, which means to call. Everyone has a vocation. God calls men and women to follow him in marriage, priestly ministry, consecrated life. The question is which vocation are you being called to follow?
The NCCNA ordains men and women. Our priests can be married, gay, straight, transgender, male, female, non-binary. Jesus confirmed his covenant to Noah with a rainbow. Why would we want to be different?
Do you think that God might be calling you to serve as a priest?
Have questions about vocations?
Fr. James at St. Dorothy’s in Orlando is our vocational director. Fr. Tom can put you in contact with him. firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion is underway in the NCCNA about how Confirmation fits into the Sacramental Life. Do we administer with baptism as many faiths? Is it a sign of reaching spiritual “adulthood” and conferred at an age when the decision can be made? At some other point?
Growth is vital to human life; the body and mind must grow to stay alive. Catholics believe that the soul also needs to grow to maturity in the life of grace, just as the human body must grow through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Catholics believe the Sacrament of Confirmation is the supernatural equivalent of the growth process on the natural level. It builds on what was begun in Baptism and what was nourished in Holy Eucharist. It completes the process of initiation into the Christian community, and it matures the soul for the work ahead.
The Byzantine Church confirms (chrismates) at Baptism and gives Holy Eucharist as well, thus initiating the new Christian all at the same time. Many Latin (Western) Catholics are baptized as infants, receive First Communion as children, and are confirmed as adolescents, but the Sacraments of Initiation are for any age. Adult converts who’ve never been baptized are baptized when they become Catholic; they’re confirmed and receive their First Communion at the same Mass when they’re baptized, or if they were baptized in a Protestant Church, they make a Profession of Faith, are confirmed, and receive Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil Mass — the night before Easter.
So what occurs during a Catholic Confirmation? The Holy Spirit is first introduced to a Catholic the day that she’s baptized, because the entire Holy Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — are invoked at the ceremony. During Confirmation, God the Holy Spirit comes upon the person, accompanied by God the Father and God the Son, just as he did at Pentecost.
This sacrament is called Confirmation because the faith given in Baptism is now confirmed and made strong. Sometimes, those who benefit from Confirmation are referred to as soldiers of Christ. This isn’t a military designation but a spiritual duty to fight the war between good and evil, light and darkness — a war between the human race and all the powers of hell.
Confirmation means accepting responsibility for your faith and destiny. Childhood is a time when you’re told what to do, and you react positively to reward and negatively to punishment. Adulthood, even young adulthood, means that you must do what’s right on your own, not for the recognition or reward but merely because it’s the right thing to do. The focus is on the Holy Spirit, who confirmed the apostles on Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4) and gave them courage to practice their faith. Catholics believe that the same Holy Spirit confirms Catholics during the Sacrament of Confirmation and gives them the same gifts and fruits.
Traditionally, the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity. These are human qualities that can be activated by the Holy Spirit. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts are supernatural graces given to the soul.
The ceremony may take place at Mass or outside of Mass and scheduling can be handled with Fr. Tom.