Baptism is the first of all the sacraments. You need to be a baptised member of the Church before you can receive any of the other sacraments (Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick).
The ritual of Baptism is well known. In some Catholic Churches full immersion is available, but usually the priest pours water over the head of the Catechumen, pronounces the name given to the candidate and says: N.N. I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. When a person from another Christian Church wants to become a Catholic, we accept their baptism, provided water has been poured over the person''s head and the Trinitarian formula was used. Simple sprinkling of water over a group of people is not sufficient, neither is Baptism “in the name of Jesus”.
Baptism of children has been common practice in the Catholic Church. There was even a time when parents would be very worried about the plight of their little ones when they died before having been baptised. Quite often Baptism was administered almost on day 1. This meant that the mother could not be present, or the father might have been absent as well (out for work a long way from home). Nowadays parents present their children to be baptised after a few weeks or months. The parents are offered a simple preparation programme and the baptism is celebrated with family and friends. At the end of the service the priest has a special blessing for the mother and for the father of the child(ren).
When adults present themselves for Baptism, the Church offers them a programme, called RCIA: the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
The sacrament of Confirmation is normally administered by the Bishop, after the candidate has been baptised and before receiving Holy Communion (Eucharist). The Bishop stretches out his hands and prays that God will grant the recipient the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgement and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of wonder and awe in God''s presence. The Bishop then takes the oil of Chrism and anoints the candidate on the forehead saying: NN I anoint you with the gift of the Holy Spirit. He then says: “Peace be with you” and the newly confirmed person says: “And also with you.”
Confirmation is always a happy occasion. After the ceremony the Bishop usually takes time to meet the candidates and their families.
Adult candidates for Baptism and Confirmation who have been through the RCIA programme are being baptised and confirmed during the Easter Vigil by the Parish Priest.
The Holy Eucharist is the central event of our Parish life. In faith we know that Christ comes to us when the priest repeats the words of the Last Supper: take and eat: this is my body, take and drink: this is my blood, do this in memory of Me. Any consecrated hosts left over after the celebration of the Holy Eucharist are preserved in the tabernacle and are taken to the sick at home, at Longview (retirement Home) or the Hospitals by the priest or by special Ministers of the Eucharist.
The celebration of the Holy Eucharist usually takes place in the Church, but on special occasions a “House Mass” can be organised. Our Passionist Family Groups frequently have a house Mass on their programme.
The format of our celebrations of the Eucharist is in two parts:
- The celebration of the Word: readings from the Bible followed by the homily
- The celebration of the sacrament:
Occasionally other sacraments are administered during the celebration, such as Baptism and Confirmation. This would take place after the readings and homily.
The Holy Eucharist can be celebrated every day of the year, except on Good Friday, although during the Good Friday commemoration of the death of Our Lord, Holy Communion is distributed using consecrated hosts preserved in the tabernacle.
Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick
These are called the ''sacraments of healing''. When we commit a sin we somehow put an obstacle in our relationship with God and our fellow human beings. There is pain and hurt. We need healing. Christ encourages us to forgive one another, not seven times, but seventy seven times. In the “Our Father” we pray: forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we are reconciled with God and with our neighbour.
There are four essential elements to the sacrament: (1) Sorrow (2) Confession of sins (3) Absolution by the priest (4) Penance.
Our Parish has the Communal form of Reconciliation (called the 2nd Rite) twice a year, before Christmas and before Easter. People who wish to come for private Reconciliation can make an appointment with one of the priests or come 30 minutes before the Saturday Vigil and Sunday Masses.
The Anointing of the sick is a beautiful sacrament as it can give real healing and comfort to those who are seriously ill. Our Lady of Fatima offers this sacrament twice a year in church to all our elderly parishioners and those who feel the need for healing – mentally or physically. The sacrament is also available at any time when people are very ill or close to dying. It''s good to know that the sacrament also forgives our sins when we are no longer able to make a proper confession.
Holy Matrimony - Marriage - Weddings
Our Lady of Hope Parish welcomes and encourages Church Weddings. It is a sad situation when the extraordinary costs of a wedding prevent people from approaching the Sacrament of Marriage. It is equally sad when the high rate of divorce in our country inhibits the willingness to make a lasting commitment.
The Marriage Preparation courses offered by the Catholic Church may not have all the answers, but they offer the engaged couples every opportunity to give their commitment in Marriage the best possible rate of success. For more information visit the following website: www.ceewellington.org.nz or phone Louise Kelleher (04) 4961 796. In Marriage we love God by loving one another.
If you have a loved one near to death: Please make sure that the priest is aware of this. Visits by the priest or by the hospital chaplain to those in care will be arranged. The sacrament of the anointing of the sick and the commendation of the dying can be prayed. Please contact us so that we can serve your family.
It is a good idea to check, if possible, if your loved one has any special wishes regarding their funeral – particular hymns, readings or prayers.
A Catholic funeral is not a celebration of the life of a parishioner who has died. A Catholic funeral is, rather, a time to reflect and to proclaim that dying you destroyed our death; rising you restored our life; Lord Jesus, come in glory. We believe that readings from the Bible and familiar Catholic symbols – water, light and incense – can invite us to think about who God is and what the ultimate purpose of our lives is. If you choose a Catholic funeral you will discover that we focus on particular symbols that can help us to explore the mystery of God, of life and of death.
Preparing your own funeral:
Some people prefer to formalise their wishes for their funeral, especially when they have clear wishes about the form and content of the service. This can be done at any time; you do not need to be close to death to do this. It can become a part of your will and it is a good idea to let family members know you have a funeral plan.
Every year we hold a meeting to help parishioners plan their Catholic funeral. You can ask one of our priests to meet with you to do this. We can explore all the options for your funeral services. This is not morbid: this is realistic and hopeful.
After your loved one has died:
When a parishioner dies, the family contact the funeral home of their choice and then notifies the parish. Together the priest and the family prepare the funeral. If the deceased has expressed particular wishes regarding their funeral, these will be carried out, so far as is possible.
There are options available – either a Funeral Mass or a Funeral Liturgy can be conducted in the Church. We can serve funeral services at a funeral home, a crematorium or at the grave-side.
The family can request that a Vigil be held for the deceased the night before the funeral. This can include the praying of all or part of the Rosary. This is also an opportunity for sharing tributes and stories by family and friends so that the requiem Mass/funeral service can be focussed on Jesus’ promise of life that transcends death. The Vigil can also be held in the family home.
All music at funeral services should strengthen our hope in the Lord’s promise of life that transcends death. We encourage congregational singing: this supports the family and strengthens our shared faith and hope. Any CD that the family asks us to play should do this.
The Order of Christian Burial allows one eulogy at a funeral service. If you wish more, please consider a Vigil Service.
Power-point presentations have become part of many New Zealand funerals. A Catholic funeral in focuses more on God’s promises. Such presentations should not be part of the funeral service. You could have a power-point presentation at:
- - a viewing at the funeral home
- - a viewing at the family home
- - a vigil service at our church
- - before the funeral service in the church
The Catholic Women’s League is available to assist with refreshments in Our Lady of Fatima Church foyer after a funeral - we charge a fee for this. The funeral home can also help each family to make catering arrangements.
Some families may wish to make their own arrangements.