The Sacraments of the Church
The sacraments are wonderful gifts shared with us by God. Through outward, visible signs, the sacraments are channels of God’s love and mercy, drawing us into the very life of the Trinity, thus allowing us to continue the saving mission and ministry of Jesus Christ in and through His body, the Church.
There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.
Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission. To inquire about the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism, please contact the Parish Office (by telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email).
The unity of Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation.” Reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence, they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” (see Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium 11) To inquire about the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, please contact the Parish Office (by telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email).
The holy Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church. The Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.
The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the Mass) is regularly scheduled at the Cathedral:
- Saturdays (the anticipated Mass of the Lord’s Day) at 5:15pm.
- Sundays (the Lord’s Day) at 9:00am, 11:00am and 5:00pm.
- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:15pm.
- Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:15am.
Penance and Reconciliation
The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation. The sinner wounds God’s honor and love, his or her own human dignity as a person called to be a child of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone. To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of all. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is regularly scheduled at the Cathedral for the following times:
- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30am to 12:00pm.
- Saturdays from 4:00pm to 5:00pm.
- Any other times upon request (by telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email).
Anointing of 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.” (see Lumen Gentium 11) The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age. To inquire about the celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, please contact the Parish Office (by telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email).
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus, it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.
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.
The ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the common priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power for the service of the faithful. The ordained ministers exercise their service for the People of God by teaching (munus docendi), divine worship (munus liturgicum) and pastoral governance (munus regendi).
For more information on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or to inquire about discerning Holy Orders, please click here to visit the Vocations Office of the Diocese of Albany.
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.
The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.
To inquire about the preparation process and subsequent celebration of Matrimony here at the Cathedral, please contact the Parish Office (by telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email) at least nine months prior to a proposed date and time.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.
At some point in their lives, many people find themselves interested in the Catholic Church. Whatever the reason, know that there are many people who desire a closer relationship with Christ and a community in which to thrive and worship to help deepen that relationship. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults helps individuals journey to a deeper understanding of Jesus and the Catholic faith. It is a life-changing journey.
To inquire about the R.C.I.A. here at the Cathedral, please contact the Parish Office (by telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email.