The Catholic Church

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Composition

The Catholic Church is made up of two components, the Western (Roman or Latin) Church and the Eastern Churches. There are 22 Churches that form The Catholic Church. Each of these Churches has traditions, rituals, and devotions that are particular to them, and each has traditions, rituals and devotions that overlap into the other Churches. At the heart of all Catholic Churches is the celebration of the Eucharist.

Sacraments/Mysteries

All Catholic Churches have seven sacraments or mysteries that they hold in common. In the East these are called "mysteries" because Paul used the Greek word mysterion in reference to them. The West calls them "sacraments" because Jerome, in translating the Greek Scriptures to Latin used the word sacramentum to translate mysterion. These seven sacraments are:

bulletBaptism: It is through baptism that one is joined to the death and resurrection of Jesus and thereby incorporated into the Body of Christ.
bulletConfirmation/Chrismation: Through anointing with the sacred chrism/myron the individual is signed with the Holy Spirit and strengthened for life as a Christian. In the ancient world this "signation" or "signing" was a mark of ownership, and this marks the individual as being "owned" by the Holy Spirit.
bulletEucharist: The Eucharist is the central mystery of our faith. The Eucharist, from the Greek word eucharistias meaning "thanksgiving" is the "daily bread" for which we pray. This heavenly food is nothing less than the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior and God Jesus the Christ.
bulletMarriage/Holy Crowning: In marriage a man and a woman are joined as "little Church" to carry out the Lord's salvific mission. It is in the context of married life that man and woman share in the creative role of God with the procreation of children. It is in the role of parents that the couple exercise the teaching ministry of the Church in raising children to know, love and serve God.
bulletReconciliation/Confession: Sin is part of our inclination in this life. Through sin our relationship with God and with the Body of Christ is damaged. Through Reconciliation we are again brought into harmony with God and with the Body of Christ.
bulletHoly Orders: A man is configured to service through Holy Orders. Holy Orders is conferred by a bishop. All deacons, priests and bishops receive Holy Orders.
bulletHoly Anointing: "Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven." (Jms 5:14-15)

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