In this section, you will find information about the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation – which lay the foundation of every Christian Life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n 1212). We also refer to that Sacrament of Healing, the Sacrament of Reconciliation which “restores the image of God within us that has been distorted by sin” (Liam Kelly, Sacraments Revisited, 1998: 31), as our young people prepare for their first participation in this sacrament alongside their preparation for their First Holy Communion, and to that Sacrament of Vocation, Marriage, for “the Church looks to married couples as the heart of the entire family” (Pope Francis, Amoris Lætita / The Joy of Love, n 73).
We are all God’s children, united as family through the love God has for each of us. The family is sometimes referred to as ‘the domestic church’ or ‘a church in the home’: that space where parents, grandparents, godparents and other family members are, by their words and example, the first preachers of the faith to the next generation.
Family life, indeed the very fabric of the family unit, has much changed over recent decades. God’s love for us has remained constant: God’s welcome for each of us is the ever-present joy holding our lives together. Each of us has been called and named by God, each of us has our own path, our own life and faith journey: ‘Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine’ (Isaiah 43:1).
As we journey through life, as we try to fulfil our calling to be disciples of Jesus, and make our own way to perfection, there will be many challenges along the way. We are not alone: God-is-with-us, Immanuel (Matthew 1:23); Jesus is with us so that we “may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). As we journey through life, there are many moments when God gifts us his grace, none more poignantly than in the sacraments.