What Are the Seven Sacraments?

The seven sacraments in the Catholic Church are: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation (also known as Penance), Holy Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders. They are considered both a sign of God’s grace and a means of receiving it.

Baptism is the first sacrament received by Catholics, through which recipients join the Church.

Around 7 years of age, children receive the sacrament of Eucharist for the first time; this sacrament remembers the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as recipients consume the literal Body and Blood of Christ. Together with Confirmation, which is a more adult commitment, these three sacraments comprise the Sacraments of Initiation, through which Catholics enter and commit to the Church.

Reconciliation confers God’s forgiveness of sins as well as reconciliation with the Catholic community through confession. Matrimony reflects the love of God in a covenant expressing a lifelong partnership, including procreation. Formerly called the Last Rites, Anointing of the Sick provides healing and strength to those suffering from physical or mental ailments. Finally, Holy Orders is a rite that ordains bishops, priests, and deacons, investing them with the power to perform sacred duties such as proclaiming the Gospel and administering the sacraments.

The seven sacraments indicate the most important aspects of Catholic life. They are considered to be made effective by the power of Christ rather than by individual ministers.