Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life. The Eucharist occupies a unique place as the "Sacrament of sacraments": "all the other sacraments are ordered to it as to their end."
In recent years in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, most Catholics have been Baptised as babies, made their First Communion around age seven and been Confirmed as teenagers. These three Sacraments make up the process of belonging to the Church (called Christian Initiation). The Sacraments weren’t always in that order, and adults preparing for initiation have always received them in the original order: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (Communion). From September, 2012 in this Archdiocese, children who have been Baptised have followed that same order. Those aged eight by the first of September, are invited to receive Confirmation and First Communion in the days between Ascension Sunday and the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) in the following year, and the same pattern is followed each year.
The Archdiocese has a website which provides information for everyone who would like to know more about the Sacraments in our Archdiocese, follow the link: http://www.withyoualways.org.uk
For any further information about sacraments at St Helen's and St Joseph's, please email the Parish Office.
Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”
If you would like to arrange a baptism please contact the Parish Office. You will be asked to complete a baptism request form. Please note that you should be living in the parish of St Helen or St Joseph or be regularly attending at one of our parishes.
Penance and Reconciliation
Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offence 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 labours for their conversion.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation takes place at St Helen's on Saturdays between 11.20 am and 12.00 and at St Joseph’s on Saturdays between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.
The Holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist. At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
Holy Communion at St Helen's and St Joseph’s: For about 100 years we have been allowing children to receive Christ in Holy Communion. It is not easy for adults to understand what is happening in this sacrament, so it is essential for children to prepare properly. This preparation is not optional, so people who have not been prepared will not be able to make their first Holy Communion. Most people who make this journey with their children gain new insights into their own faith.
Children are prepared to receive this Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation through a programme called "With You Always".
The sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptised] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."
In 2020 the Archdiocese of Liverpool is going to start offering the sacrament of confirmation to young people in year 8. The preparation for the sacrament will be started in our diocesan high schools through an introduction to the sacrament from Animate, the archdiocesan youth ministry team. Year 8 pupils will then study the subject of confirmation in more depth in their RE classes. There will also be preparation sessions at a local level in your town/local area. Following these local preparation times young people will be invited to be confirmed in their local church.
If your child would like to receive the sacrament of confirmation this year it is essential they register online at: www.liverpoolcalled.co.uk
Please complete the form that can be accessed through clicking the button at the top right-hand side of the webpage (‘Register for Confirmation’). If you are unable to do this at home please inform the school chaplain who will be able to help.
When a young person has registered they will be invited to the local preparation sessions and from there be invited to receive the sacrament of confirmation.If your child is in year 8 and has already been confirmed when in year 4 they are still welcome to register and attend the local preparation meetings as a way of growing in their faith.
The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
Marriage at St Helen's and St Joseph’s:
In March each year, the Crosby Pastoral Area provides a course to prepare couples for marriage. The people on the team are all married, and those who have done the course seem to have gained a great deal from it. If you are thinking of getting married in one of our churches, please speak to Fr Martin after Mass or contact the parish office. Please do not book any dates and times with venues before speaking to the church.
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ 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, presbyterate, and diaconate.
The 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.
Anointing of the Sick at St Helen's and St Joseph’s:
Even by the 1970s the Church had stopped using the words “last sacraments” or “extreme unction”. It can be a great help to people preparing for operations to be anointed, something they cannot appreciate just before they die. We traditionally pray with those close to death and bring them Holy Communion, if they are able to receive it.