The sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist - lay the foundations of every Christian life. "The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1212)

                                          

   Baptism   

    

          

Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1277) 

"Christian spirtuality, even in its highest form, is the flowering in us of the divine gifts which we received in baptism...it is a doctrine of capital importance. By this sacrament there is established a mysterious but very real communion between the death and the Resurrection of Christ on the one hand and the soul of the baptized person on the other in which there is produced a spiritual death and resurrection. In fact, the grace proper to the sacramnet not only purifies us of original sin, but creates in us a disposition to die to all exaggerated worldly affections and to all the human element in our life which is opposed to the divine will. The death to sin is not an end to be pursued for itself; it is an indispensable condition for the full development of our new life in Christ (cf. Romans 6:11)...In the mystery of Christ, first buried and then triumphantly emerging from the tomb, we have an expressive symbol of this double aspect of baptismal grace...By His Resurrection Christ enters into the fullness of His status as the giver of life (cf. Romans 4:25). Glorified by virtue of the merits which He had acquired by His death, He became the efficient cause producing constantly in the mystical body all the grace of justification and of sanctity (cf. John 15:1-5)". (Blessed Columba Marmion. Christ the Ideal of the Priest. Ignatius Press: San Francisco; 2005, 162-163).

Infant Baptisms are celebrated twice a month at 1:00 PM, on the first and third Sunday of the month at St. Brigid Church. Please register for Baptism and to arrange for the preparation session, by contacting the Parish Center at (908) 234-1265.

When asked what was the greatest event of his life, Blessed Pope John Paul II answered, "My Baptism!"

 

 

          Confirmation

 

"The ceremony known for centuries now as 'Confirmation' is connected in the Catholic tradition with the gift of the Holy Spirit which Christ promised His Church and fulfilled at Pentecost...The Council of Trent declared it 'a true and proper sacrament,' one of the seven of the new law (Denziger 844, 871). Confirmation is described as the giving of the Holy Spirit for strengthening (ad robur), as He was given to the Apostles on Pentecost, so that the Christian might boldly confess Christ's name...In Confirmation there is a giving of the Holy Spirit. This gift is the perpetuation of Pentecost in the Church. It is directed towards the public profession and witness of the faith. Lastly, it involves a strengthening of the Christian life of the recipients for this mission". (Michael J. Taylor. The Sacraments. Alba House Press: New York; 1981, 186.)

Children are expected to receive a Catholic upbringing in their family life, to worship regularly at Sunday Mass, and to receive ongoing religious education in the years preceding the reception of this sacrament. The Religious Education Program prepares students for the receipt of this sacrament. Adults who are interested in receiving this sacrament may contact Parish Office (908) 234-1265.

 

   

 

        

The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." "The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1324)

 

"'Behold,' says St. John, 'what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called and should be the sons of God (1 John 3:1)'. God is our Father. He loves us with a love which is incomprehensible. All the love which exists in the world comes from Him and is only a shadow of His charity which is without limit. 'Can a woman forget her infant?' asks the Lord through the mouth of the prophet; 'if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee (Isaiah 49:15)'. Now, love inclines one to the giving of self; accordingly it seeks a closer union with its object. God is love itself (cf. I John 4:8); He is moved by a desire ever active and intense to communicate Himself to us. That is why St. John writes: 'God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son (John 3:16)'. This Son, Who shares the love of the Father, willed to accept the condition of a servant and to give Himself up on the Cross. 'Greater love has no man (John 15:13)'. And now, again, He hides Himself under the appearances of bread and wine, in order to enter into us and to unite us to Himself in the closest manner. The Holy Eucharist is the final effort of love which seeks to give itself; it is the prodigy of omnipotence in the service of infinite charity". (Blessed Marmion Clumba. Christ the Ideal of the Priest. Ignatius Press: San Francisco; 2005, 238.)

Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life "in earthen vessels," and it remains "hidden with Christ in God." We are still in our "earthly tent," subject to suffering, illness, and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1420)

         

         

   

"Great changes in the celebration of penance have always been characterized by a shift in emphasis from one aspect of this complex experience to another. To simplify somewhat, we may say that penance had two main structures. For the Fathers penance was governed especially by the notion of satisfaction, that is, by the necessity of performing good works to expiate sins...From the Middle Ages down to our day the emphasis shifted to confession as a necessary condition for absolution...This reconciliation is realized through the conversion of the penitent to God in the Church, and the creative acceptance of the mercy of God realized in the ministry of the Church. The first aspect of reconciliation is the conversion of the sinner to God. While conversion does in fact consist in downsizing sin, it relates first of all not to sin, but to God. The Ordo explicitly cites the words of Pope Paul VI in the introduction: 'Penance is a personal religious act whose goal is love of the Lord and trust in Him!'" (Michael J. Taylor. The Sacraments. Alba House Publications: New York; 1981, 217-219).

"Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1422)

 

     Annointing the sick

"By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1499)

This sacrament is available to the sick and the home bound upon request. Please call the Parish Center at (908) 234-1265.

"Any treatment of the liturgical tradition of anointing should begin with the New Testament evidence for this rite. There are two indications: the apostolic ministry of healing (Mark 6:13) and the presbyteral rite of healing (James 5:14-15). The text in Mark reads: 'So (the Twelve) set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them'. This action of anointing appears to have a Palestinian custom of a medicinal-exorcistic nature taken over by the followers of Jesus. In this anointing with oil the Church sees the prefigurement of the sacramental anointing of the sick. The more important New Testament evidence is found in the Epistle of James. Beginning with 5:13, the unifying theme of prayer is applied to three existential situations of a Christian. The suffering Christian is to pray. The cheerful Christian is to praise God. 'If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven'". (Michael J. Taylor. Sacraments. Alba House Publishing: New York; 1981, 226-227.)

 

 

 

Through these sacraments those already consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation for the common priesthood of all the faithful can receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ's name "to feed the Church by the word and grace of God." On their part, "Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1535)

 

 

 

      Matrimony

The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1660)

Specific times are set for the celebration of marriage during the year. To allow ample time for preparations, please contact the Parish Center at least one year before the intended wedding date.

 "The Bible reflects a notable evolution in the Jewish and Christian understanding of marriage. We can trace marriage from a time when early Isreal hardly differed from her pagan neighbors down to the momentous connection made in the letter to the Ephesians between marital love and Christ's self-sacrificing love for those He has redeemed. Jessu Himself commented how the ancient laws were adapted to Israel's 'hardness of heart (Matthew 19:18)'...Later portions of the Old Testament reflect a growing purification of Israel's ideals concerning marriage. The second account of creation (cf. Genesis 2) indicates that marriage is not just an arrangement for procreation, but that man and woman are made to support each other in intimate companionship. Each completeds the other as they live together and become one flesh. Marriage is a partnership intended by God in spite of the elements of pain introduced by the first couple's sin. In spite of the Law's provisions for divorce by repudiation, the writer of Proverbs urged men to live in loving fidelity to the wife of their youth (cf. Proverbs 5:15-20). The prophet Malachi inveighed against divorce as a practice the Lord hates (cf. Malachi 2:15). If marriage is a covenant, then suddenly a wealth of religious meaning - mutual trust, sacred commitment, God's own fidelity - clusters around the relation between husband and wife...Jesus stood in the reforming tradition mirrored in Malachi...when He laid down the unqualified principle, 'What God has joined together, let no man put asunder (Matthew 19:6)'". (Michael J. Taylor. Sacraments. Alba House Publishers: New York; 1981, 183-185).

 

 

 

The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the "common priesthood of the faithful." Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1591)

Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote of Holy Orders and the Priesthood in Pastores Dabo Vobis:

Priests are there to serve the faith, hope and charity of the laity. They recognize and uphold, as brothers and friends, the dignity of the laity as children of God and help them to exercise fully their specific role in the overall context of the Church's mission.The ministerial priesthood conferred by the sacrament of holy orders and the common or "royal" priesthood of the faithful, which differ essentially and not only in degree, are ordered one to the other - for each in its own way derives from the one priesthood of Christ. Indeed, the ministerial priesthood does not of itself signify a greater degree of holiness with regard to the common priesthood of the faithful; through it Christ gives to priests, in the Spirit, a particular gift so that they can help the People of God to exercise faithfully and fully the common priesthood which it has received.

"What is the essence of the priesthood? The Epistles to the Hebrews gives us a celebrated definition. 'Every high-preist taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that He may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins (Hebrews 5:1)'. The priest is the mediator who offers to God oblations and sacrifices in the name of the people. In return God chooses the priest to communicate to men His gifts of grace, of mercy, and of pardon. The special excellence of the priesthood springs from this mediation". (Blessed Marmion Columba. Christ the Ideal of the Priest. Ignatius Press: San Francisco; 2005, 22-23).

 

  If you are considering serving God as a priest, deacon, or religious, you may contact Msgr. Puleo or call the Office of Vocations at (732) 562-1990 ext. 1700 for more information.