7 Sacraments

The Sacraments

The very life and mission of the Church depend on the sacraments of the New Covenant, starting with Baptism.
Sacraments are visible signs of God's invisible grace, of the activity of the Lord Jesus Christ in saving and sanctifying men and women. Not only do the sacraments signify God's grace; they also bestow it, increase it, or restore it in the soul of the recipient; their power comes from His presence.

The seven sacraments are: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist (Holy Communion),
Penance (Confession, Reconciliation), Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.


Infants should be brought to church for baptism as soon after birth as is safe and reasonably convenient. Baptism is the sacrament of rebirth as a child of God, of unity with Jesus Christ in His Death and Resurrection, of cleansing from original and personal sins, and of welcome into the community of the Church. Call the parish office for information about baptismal preparation and scheduling. Unbaptized adults who wish to become Catholic (or at least wish to learn about the Catholic Faith) are invited to enroll in RCIA.

Requirements for Sponsors
The role of a sponsor (godparent) is to help the baptized to lead a Christian life and to fulfill faithfully the obligations connected with it.

To serve in the capacity of sponsor it is required that one:

• is chosen by the one to be baptized, or by the parents, guardians, of if these are wanting, by the minister;
• is at least 16 years of age, unless for a just cause it seems to the Pastor that an exception can be made;
• is a Catholic who has received Confirmation and first Holy Communion, and leads a life in keeping with the Catholic Faith
(thus, for example, anyone living with a partner as if married, or in an invalid marriage, is not qualified to be a sponsor);

• is not bound by any canonical penalty;
• is not the father or mother of the one to be baptized.

If the intended sponsor is not a parishioner of Santo Christo, he or she must obtain a Sponsor Certificate from his or her own parish priest. Qualified sponsors who cannot be present at the baptism may appoint another person to serve as proxy; the proxy should meet the requirements for sponsors.

Baptism Stained Glass


Confirmation is the sacrament by which the baptized Christian now receives the seal of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of the Father and the Son.
In the Diocese of Fall River, preparation for Confirmation is a two-year program for 8th and 9th graders. At the end of 9th grade, candidates receive Confirmation after attending Mass with their First Communion "prayer partners" every other week, six hours of community service, and a retreat.

Unconfirmed adults should enroll in RCIA.

Confirmation Retreat
During the annual Confirmation retreat, candidates will learn spiritual lessons about family, the Mass, and the formal faith formation process. We invite adults to help prepare our candidates to meet the spiritual challenges they will face in our world.

The retreat provides opportunities for:

• teen and adult talks
• peer discussion groups
• quiet time for personal prayer and reflection
• recreation

Confirmation Stained Glass


When a validly ordained priest celebrating Mass speaks the words of consecration within the Eucharistic Prayer, the bread and wine on the altar become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, with only the physical properties of bread and wine remaining. As the sacramental presence of Christ, the Eucharist is to be adored with divine worship.

Catholics are encouraged to receive Christ in the Eucharist as Holy Communion devoutly and often. Holy Communion is the climax of participation in our Savior's offering of Himself on the Cross, of which the Mass is the sacramental renewal and application.

In order to be properly disposed to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament, one should be in the state of grace (that is, practicing the Catholic Faith and without unconfessed, unrepented grave sin on one's conscience) and normally should have fasted for at least one hour prior to receiving. One who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Eucharist without first going to confession, lest sacrilege be committed.

Children normally receive their First Holy Communion during the 2nd Grade (about age 7) in the spring, after a two-year program of preparation which includes sacramental confession.

Our parish offers a monthly Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction on first Fridays.

If you are homebound or know a homebound person who would like to receive Holy Communion, please contact the parish office.

Eucharist Stained Glass


"You have redeemed us, O Lord, in your Blood" (Rev. 5:9). Through the sacrament of Penance, the Passion of Jesus Christ comes down to us anew, and His saving Blood flows anew as a purifying stream over the filth of our sins. Christians have been made a new creature by death and resurrection with Christ in Baptism, and have received from the Church the admonition to carry their new life without stain to the judgment seat of our Lord. But Christ knew our human weakness, which is why, on the day He arose from the dead, He instituted the sacrament which would again and again, so often as we should have need of it, put us in contact with the mystery of our redemption and cleanse us of our sins. He left no doubt that the minister of the sacrament, the priest, acts in the name of God, when He told His Apostles: "As the Father has sent me, I also send you. When He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained'" (Jn. 20:21-23).

The sacrament consists in three actions of the penitent and the priest's absolution. The penitent's acts are (1) repentance, also called contrition, (2) confession of sins to the priest, and (3) the intention to repair the harm caused by sin and to reestablish habits befitting a disciple of Christ. To obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, one must confess all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The confession of lesser or venial faults, while not absolutely necessary, is nevertheless recommended by the Church. 

Confessions are heard here weekly. Additional times for confession are offered during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent; these are publicized in the parish bulletin and on this website's home page. Anyone wishing to receive the sacrament outside of those times can drop by the rectory, but it is advisable to phone in advance to arrange to meet with one of the parish priests.

Penance Stained Glass


By the covenant of matrimony, a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life. Marriage is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. St. Paul compares a husband's love for his wife to Christ's spousal love for His Church (Eph. 5:21-33).

A marriage of two Catholics should be celebrated in the parish church. A Catholic who is not yet confirmed ought to receive Confirmation before entering the state of marriage, if this is possible without too great inconvenience. The bridal couple is strongly encouraged to receive the sacrament of Penance before their marriage.

If you are considering marriage, contact us at least eight (8) months before the intended wedding date. We cannot schedule your wedding prior to your initial meeting with the parish priest. At this meeting he will determine whether any canonical impediment exists in your case (that is, something that would prohibit your getting married in the Catholic Church); whether you are taking the step freely and willingly and with honest intentions; and whether you are of proper age. The priest will also instruct you, as circumstances will demand, on the sanctity of this sacrament, your marital obligations, and the duties of parents toward their children.

Couples preparing for marriage must attend a Marriage Preparation or "Pre-Cana" conference.You may register for this online after your initial meeting with the priest; click HERE to register.

In consultation with the priest, you may choose Scripture readings from the selection of readings approved for the Order of Celebrating Matrimony; click HERE to see the selection.

To view and download our parish guidelines for marriages (PDF), click the button below. You will find information about the required documents, music, flowers and decorations, photographers and videographers, the wedding rehearsal, and more.


Matrimony Stained Glass


Through the sacrament of Holy Orders the mission entrusted by Jesus Christ to the Apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time. Three degrees make up the sacrament: the episcopate (bishop), the presbyterate (priest), and the diaconate (deacon). The sacrament can only be validly received by a baptized man; the Catholic Church recognizes herself as bound by the choice made by Christ Himself.

Only validly ordained bishops, as successors of the Apostles, can confer Holy Orders.

As coworkers of the order of bishops, priests are ordained to preach the Gospel, to celebrate divine worship, especially by offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice (the Mass), and to be shepherds of the faithful. Priests in the exercise of their sacred ministry speak and act not on their own authority but on that of Christ and His Church.

Deacons, configured to Christ the servant of all, are ordained for service to the Church by the ministry of the Word, of divine worship, of pastoral care and of charity.

To visit the website of our diocesan Vocations Office, click HERE.

Ordination Stained Glass


The Anointing of the Sick can be given is given to the Catholic faithful who have attained the age of reason (about age 7) and who are in danger of death by reason of illness or old age. The sacrament may not be given more than once during the same illness, unless after receiving the sacrament, the sick person has recovered from the danger and then has a critical relapse.

By the anointing with holy oil and prayers for health, the Church through her priests asks the Lord to heal the sick, lighten their sufferings, forgive their sins, and bring them to eternal salvation. This sacrament is best received while the sick person is still conscious and rational, so that the recipient, in order to receive the sacrament more fruitfully, may assist with faith and devout intention while being anoinited.

To request the Anointing of the Sick for yourself or another Catholic, call the parish office. Please note that our two local hospitals, Charlton Memorial and St. Anne's, have full-time chaplains to visit patients in need of the sacraments of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick.

Anointing Stained Glass