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Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion Gifts
Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion Gifts

The Seven Sacraments

A Gift Givers Guide

Have you been asked to be a Godparent for a Baptism? A niece or nephew receiving their First Communion? Grandchild going through Confirmation? A best friend about to have his Ordination into the priesthood? Did you forget what these Sacraments were all about? Not sure what will be an appropriate gift to give? Don't have a lot of money?

We can help! First, let's refresh our memories about what each of the Sacraments are. Then, we'll help you choose a gift that's just right for the occasion--and, light on the wallet.

Rites of Initiation

What is it?
In this Rite of Initiation, the recipient (usually an infant) is received into the Church and is officially given a name. This Sacrament, required only once, cleanses the person of Original Sin passed down from Eve at birth (and all other personal sins if they are receiving this older). Here begins a person's faith journey.

What happens? The presider pours water over the person's head in the name of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Parents and Godparents profess the Creed of the faith on the infant's behalf and attest they will raise the child in the teaching's of the Church.

Cool factoids. Anyone can technically perform Baptism so long as water is poured (the water has to flow over the skin in a symbolic "washing") and the recipient is claimed in the name of the Trinity. Because of this, those converting to Catholicism baptized in another denomination using this formula need not go through it again.

Browse more Baptism Gifts...

What is it?
Here the person "confirms" the faith into which they were baptized. The recipient expresses their desire to continue as an adult Catholic, taking full responsibility of the mission charged to their parents and Godparents at Baptism. The recipient also chooses a Saint's name to provide a model of Christian living.

What happens? The Bishop or Archbishop anoints the recipient on the head with chrism, "sealing" them with the gift of the Holy Spirit. A sponsor, who will continue to look after their growth, stands behind with a hand placed on the recipient's shoulder.

Cool factoids. Before the time of modern transportation, a Bishop would rarely come through an isolated town, so the parish would gather all the eligible children to have them Confirmed, regardless of age.

Browse more Confirmation Gifts and Patron Saint Medals...

What is it?
The First Communion is considered a Rite of Initiation because it is when the person is fully united with Jesus by partaking in His Body and Blood. The importance of this Sacrament is evident in that we are charged to attend Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation, and to receive Communion at least once a year (during the Easter Season).

What happens? 2nd graders in Catholic schools prepare for this Sacrament together and receive in a special Mass. But for others in a program through their parish, their First Communion is usually discreetly done with the rest of the congregation during a regular Mass.

Cool factoids. There is a special sink in the sacristy called a sacrarium. Instead of draining into the sewers, it goes into the ground. Because we truly believe in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the vessels which held Him are washed in the sacrarium so any remaining particles return to the earth beneath the church.

Browse more First Communion Gifts...

Boy and Girl Baby
Enamel Cross

Engravable Confirmation
Heart and Dove Necklace

First Holy Communion
Wall Plaque

Sacraments of Vocation

What is it?
It is a Sacrament of Vocation in that two people are united together to perform a very specific mission: to build up the Church with children. This bond created by Marriage cannot be dissolved once bestowed upon baptized, confirmed and good standing Catholics.

What happens? Vows are exchanged between a man and a woman. This takes place within a Church, presided by a parish priest, and in the presence of at least two witnesses who will vouch for their eligibility and sincerity.

Cool factoids. The most common Bible reading heard at Catholic weddings is 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ("Love is patient, love is kind..."). Though St. Paul was not specifically addressing romantic love, the overall message of the selflessness needed to fulfill this vocation is fitting.

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Holy Orders
What is it? Another Sacrament of Vocation wherein a person receives vows into a holy ministry through the priesthood or religious life. These vows are to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience to the Church.

What happens? Several symbolic acts occur during the Ordination of a priest. This takes place in a Cathedral and is presided over by a Bishop. Candidates prostrate themselves (lie face down) before the altar, the Bishop and other priests lay their hands on their heads, they are vested with the stole and chasuble, and their hands anointed with chrism.

Cool factoids. Deacons are the only people who can receive all seven Sacraments: they receive Ordination into the permanent diaconate and are allowed to get married.

Browse more Holy Orders and Clergy Items...

Deluxe Wedding
Rosary Set

Sacraments of Healing

What is it? Here we acknowledge our wrongdoings which have distanced us from God, make amends, and we are then restored to a state of grace through absolution. It is encouraged this Sacrament be received regularly, though the Church only requires us to participate in it once a year, preferably during Lent.

What happens? First, the penitent does an Examination of Conscience wherein they call to mind their sins. During the confession, they tell these to the priest, who in turn offers advice, assigns a penance (usually prayers or acts of restitution), then gives absolution.

Cool factoids. Hold your horses! Just because a priest cannot reveal what was said during a confession, it does not mean one can get away with murder. Priests can withhold absolution until the person surrenders to the authorities.

Anointing of the Sick
What is it? Here, a person who is in danger of death due to old age or extreme illness is bestowed with spiritual strength, forgiven of sins (if Penance is unavailable), and prepared for eternal life. It is also called "Last Rites." This Sacrament can be received several times as needed.

What happens? The priest lays his hands on the head of the sick person and recites a prayer before anointing the forehead with chrism.

Cool factoids. In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the dying person may also receive their final Holy Communion. This is called viaticum, which means "provision for the journey."

Browse Books on Healing Prayers...

A Pocket Guide to Confession
by Michael Dubruiel

The Other Side
by Michael H. Brown

...and more in Catholic Books.

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