Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church Learn About the Seven Sacraments and Find Links to More Information Share Flipboard Email Print Philippe Lissac / GODONG / Getty Images Christianity Catholicism Beliefs and Teachings Prayers Tips Worship Saints Holy Days and Holidays Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Latter Day Saints View More By Scott P. Richert Catholicism Expert M.A., Political Theory, Catholic University of America B.A., Political Theory, Michigan State University Scott P. Richert is senior content network manager of Our Sunday Visitor. He has written about Catholicism for outlets including Humanitas and Catholic Answers Magazine. our editorial process Scott P. Richert Updated June 25, 2019 The seven sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick—are the life of the Catholic Church. All of the sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself, and each is an outward sign of an inward grace. When we participate in them worthily, each provides us with graces—with the life of God in our soul. In worship, we give to God that which we owe Him; in the sacraments, He gives us the graces necessary to live a truly human life. The first three sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion—are known as the sacraments of initiation, because the rest of our life as a Christian depends on them. (Click on the name of each sacrament to learn more about that sacrament.) The Sacrament of Baptism The Sacrament of Baptism, the first of the three sacraments of initiation, is also the first of the seven sacraments in the Catholic Church. It removes the guilt and effects of Original Sin and incorporates the baptized into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ on earth. We cannot be saved without Baptism. What Makes a Baptism Valid?Where Should a Catholic Baptism Take Place? The Sacrament of Confirmation The Sacrament of Confirmation is the second of the three sacraments of initiation because, historically, it was administered immediately after the Sacrament of Baptism. Confirmation perfects our baptism and brings us the graces of the Holy Spirit that were granted to the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday. What Are the Effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation?Why Are Catholics Anointed With Chrism at Confirmation?How Do I Get Confirmed? The Sacrament of Holy Communion While Catholics in the West today normally make their First Communion before they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the reception of Christ's Body and Blood, was historically the third of the three sacraments of initiation. This sacrament, the one we receive most often throughout our lives, is the source of great graces that sanctify us and help us grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is also sometimes called the Eucharist. What Are the Rules for Fasting Before Communion?How Often Can Catholics Receive Holy Communion?How Late Can I Arrive at Mass and Still Receive Communion?Why Do Catholics Receive Only the Host in Communion? The Sacrament of Confession The Sacrament of Confession, also known as the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is one of the least understood, and least utilized, sacraments in the Catholic Church. In reconciling us to God, it is a great source of grace, and Catholics are encouraged to take advantage of it often, even if they are not aware of having committed a mortal sin. Seven Steps to Making a Better ConfessionHow Often Should You Go to Confession?When Do I Have to Confess Before Communion?Which Sins Should I Confess? The Sacrament of Marriage Marriage, a lifelong union between a man and a woman for procreation and mutual support, is a natural institution, but it is also one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. As a sacrament, it reflects the union of Jesus Christ and His Church. The Sacrament of Marriage is also known as the Sacrament of Matrimony. Can I Get Married in the Catholic Church?What Makes a Catholic Marriage Valid?What Is Matrimony? The Sacrament of Holy Orders The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the continuation of Christ's priesthood, which He bestowed upon His Apostles. There are three levels to this sacrament of ordination: the episcopate, the priesthood, and the diaconate. The Office of Bishop in the Catholic ChurchAre There Married Catholic Priests? The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is administered both to the dying and to those who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength. What Are Last Rites, and How Are They Performed?