What Are the Seven Catholic Sacraments?

The seven Catholic sacraments include baptism, Eucharist, also known as Communion, reconciliation, confirmation and marriage. The remaining Catholic sacraments are holy orders and anointing of the sick. Catholic sacraments are made in order, with the first three considered to be sacraments of initiation, baptism being first. Catholics are typically baptized as infants, but the Catholic Church welcomes people of all ages to embrace the sacrament of baptism and begin their walk with Christ.

Eucharist, or Communion, is observed in every Catholic mass and sacramental ceremony. Eucharist is viewed as a spiritual meal and as a reminder of Christ's sacrifice. Children begin to receive the Eucharist at a ceremony marking their First Holy Communion, usually between the ages of 7 and 8. After this sacrament is made, children receive Eucharist at every mass. Adults are also able to make this sacrament but typically do not participate in the ceremony.

The act of reconciliation is built upon conversion, confession and celebration. This process occurs between Eucharist and confirmation. Sometimes known as penance, reconciliation is the act of realizing and believing God's unconditional love and forgiveness, and therefore accepting that Christians are expected to forgive those who may wrong them. Confirmation, which is the Christian commitment of young adults in the Catholic Church, builds on the gifts of baptism, encouraging a lifelong relationship with Christ, and also marks the official membership into one's parish.

The remaining sacraments, including marriage and holy orders, are optional, but encouraged; while the anointing of the sick is seen as a requirement for Catholics to be buried under the faith and enter heaven.