The Sacraments of the Church
Sacraments are encounters with Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of the living God. Through outward, visible signs, the Sacraments offer us God’s love and mercy, drawing us into the very life of the Holy Trinity. Through the Sacraments we are given the grace, the very life of God, to continue the saving mission and ministry of Jesus Christ in and through His body, the Church.
There are seven sacraments. Through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist we are initiated into the life of Christ and his Church. Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick are healing sacraments for the body and soul. Holy Orders and Matrimony are sacraments of life commitments reflecting God’s commitment to us and the world.
The seven sacraments touch all the stages and moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith and they offer us grace for a passage to eternal life. There is thus a resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.
The Initiation Sacraments
Baptism – The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (O.C.I.A.)
At some point in their lives, many people find themselves drawn to Jesus Christ in the experience of the Catholic Church. These people desire a closer relationship with Christ and a community in which to thrive, serve and worship to help deepen that relationship. The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults walks with individuals as they journey into a deeper relationship with Jesus toward a full commitment of faith. This journey also introduces an individual to the beliefs and traditions of the Catholic Christian Faith.
Christian initiation is accomplished through three Sacraments, three encounters with Jesus Christ. Baptism in which we are ‘plunged’ into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the beginning of a new spiritual orientation and life. Confirmation in which the Holy Spirit seals, strengthens and bestows upon us ‘charisms’ – gifts to be used to build up the community and serve the world. And the Holy Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for their continued transformation into Christ Jesus.
Adult candidates for Baptism receive all three Sacraments of Initiation in one liturgy at the Great Vigil of Easter in the Night. Thus they are baptized into Christ, sealed by the Spirit and approach the Holy Table to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood.
To inquire about your desire to follow Jesus, please contact the Parish Office. Telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email.
Baptism – Baptism of Infants and Children
To awaken a child in the faith is to accompany them in the discovery of God. Parents are called to be the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith by introducing them into the Christian life style of prayer and worship, belief and service. Beginning in the home, fathers and mothers, and extended family members teach their children through example the life of sharing, welcoming, respect, and forgiveness. This is the most effective way of forming a person into a follower of Jesus Christ.
Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the full sacramental life of the Church. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ entering into the life of the Church and made sharers in her mission.
To inquire about the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism for your child, please contact the Parish Office. Telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the Spirit’s sealing of our Baptismal call. By the Sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with the strength of the Holy Spirit. “Charisms” – “gifts” are given to each person for the good of the entire body, the Church. In his Letter to the Corinthian Church, Saint Paul writes that to each individual the Spirit is revealed: gifts of faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, and discernment of spirits are bestowed. Some people are designated apostles, some prophets, some teachers and some are administrators. But all gifts are given for the common good to build up the Church.
To inquire about the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, please contact the Parish Office. Telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email.
The Holy Eucharist is the source and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church in all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to the Father.
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 Lord’s Day, Sunday – the first day of the week – has been the primordial day to gather and celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Eucharist. It is the first day of creation, the day on which Jesus rose from the dead and the day the Holy Spirit descended upon a group of frightened disciples on Pentecost. Sunday is the first day of the next age, the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Adult candidates for Baptism receive all three Sacraments of Initiation in one liturgy at the Great Vigil of Easter in the Night. Thus they are baptized into Christ, sealed by the Spirit and approach the Holy Table to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood. Children presented by their parents or guardians are prepared for the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist at a later time in their spiritual lives.
The Healing Sacraments
A central mission of Jesus was to confront evil and restore what had been lost. This aspect of Jesus’ mission is experienced in the Sacrament of Reconciliation [also known as Confession]. Reconciliation’s sacramental experience heals our sinful choices committed after Baptism. It is a journey of self – awareness in which we experience grace through the acknowledgment of our sins and conversion, the changing of our mind and heart, leading us to the healing embrace of Christ that bridges the breach – reconciles us – with both God and the community of the Church. The biblical images of being lost, like the prodigal sons, the lost sheep and the lost coin, emphasizes that it is God, rich in mercy, who seeks us out because God desires the salvation of all.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is regularly scheduled at the Cathedral, please check the bulletin for times. You can also call the Parish Office to make an appointment with the priest.
Telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email.
Anointing of the Sick
Jesus came to bring healing to the whole person body and soul. Throughout the Gospels we see people bringing the sick to Jesus to lay his hands on them fulling the prophecy of Isaiah: “God comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing”. [See Isaiah 35: 4-6]
Through the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, “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 the Anointing of the Sick through the laying on of hands and the anointing with holy oil is the healing strength of Christ for our members suffering from any serious physical or mental illness, in preparation for surgery, and the infirmity of body in old age. This Sacrament can be prayed and experienced numerous times throughout a single illness.
To inquire about the celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, please contact the Parish Office.
Telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email.
The Sacraments of Commitment
The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. This participation is called the “common priesthood of the faithful.” From among this holy people, Christ chooses individuals to serve the community in the “ministerial priesthood”. The “ministerial priesthood” is conferred through the Sacrament of Holy Orders and is lived out in the midst of the community making both Head and Body of Christ visible to the Church and the world. The Sacrament consists of three degrees: the episcopate [bishops], the presbyterate [priests], and the diaconate [deacons]. The ordained ministers exercise their service for the People of God by teaching, presiding over divine worship and pastoral governance. As with the whole People of God, those called to serve in Holy Orders are entrusted with the mission of Christ to proclaim the Gospel, to make disciples and to seek out the lost.
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 or speak with Fr. David Mickiewicz, Deacon Tim Kosto or Deacon Jim Agnew.
Vowed Religious Life
Though the vows of Religious Life are not considered a Sacrament, the committed life of poverty, chastity and obedience lived out in community by orders of women and men also speak to us of God’s commitment to the world. Vowed Religious Life has taken on many forms throughout the Church’s history. Monasticism arose in the 4th century and continues to be found in communities such as the Benedictine, Carthusian, and Cistercian Orders. Mendicant Orders, combining monasticism and outreach serving the poor arose in the 13th century and include the Franciscan and Dominican Orders. Closer to us in history are the various Religious Orders of women and men who founded the network of colleges, schools, hospitals and orphanages with which we are familiar. Examples of such Orders within our diocese are the Christian Brothers, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, and the Sisters of the Resurrection.
For more information on the Religious Life in the Diocese of Albany, please click here to visit the Vocations Office of the Diocese of Albany or seek out the websites of specific Religious Orders, or speak with Sr. Laurie Marie, CR in the Cathedral Office at 518.463.4447.
The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been endowed with its own special character by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation, education, and formation of children. The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the same 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 celebration of Matrimony at the Cathedral, please contact the Parish Office. Telephone, 518.463.4447, or by email.
- Make all wedding inquiries at least nine months to a year prior to a proposed date and time.
- Please make no other committed arrangements until you have contacted the Cathedral Office to ascertain if a proposed date and time is open and a priest or deacon is available. Deacons and priests from other parishes and dioceses are welcome to preside over your marriage ceremony.
- In accordance with the diocesan holiday calendar and in consideration of providing our staff time with their families, we respectfully ask that weddings not be scheduled on Sundays, the week which includes the Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend thru Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and its weekend, and Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.