Sacraments: An Introduction
After Jesus ascended into heaven he sent down the Holy Spirit. On that day of Pentecost we began a new era, the age of the Church, during which Christ communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, "Until he comes again." Jesus Christ continues his saving work through sacraments of the Church. This is called the Sacramental economy. The liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the Seven sacraments. These sacraments include three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist; two sacraments of healing: Penance and Anointing of the Sick; and two sacraments at the service of communion: Holy Orders and Matrimony.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) # 1111 "Christ's work in the liturgy is sacramental: because His mystery of salvation is made present there by the power of His Holy Spirit; Because His body, which is the Church, is like a sacrament (sign and instrument) in which the Holy Spirit dispenses the mystery of salvation; and because through her liturgical action the pilgrim Church already participates, as by foretaste, in the heavenly liturgy." CCC # 1131 "The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required disposition."

For a deeper understanding of sacraments in general, please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC # 1076-1134)

The Sacraments of Initiation  The Sacraments of Initiation include Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.  These are the foundation of every Christian life. Through the grace of these sacraments the Christian is conformed to Christ. The Christian is born anew in Baptism, strengthened in Confirmation and receives the food of eternal life in the Eucharist. Through these three sacraments the Christian shares in the divine life and advances in Christian charity. (See CCC # 1212)


Sacrament of BaptismBaptism

 Introduction: "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." (CCC #1213)  All people who are not yet baptized are invited to this sacrament: infants or adults. Christians should bring their children for baptism as they raise their family in the Catholic faith.

Effects of Baptism: (See CCC # 1262-1274)

  1. By Baptism all sins are forgiven. This includes personal sin and original sin, as well as all punishment for sin.

  2. By Baptism the person becomes a NEW PERSON, an Adopted Child of God, who shares God's divine nature. They are now a member of Christ and a co-heir with Christ. They are now a temple of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism the person received sanctifying grace and are made right with God.

  3. Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ. Baptism incorporates us into the Church. The baptized person becomes "Living stones" to be "built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood." Through baptism, the person gives their life to Christ, and lives in service and love, no longer alone.

  4. The person baptized is configured to Christ. They belong to Christ and are marked by a seal on their soul. No sin can erase this mark. This means that Baptism may never be repeated. The person marked by this seal is preparing for Resurrection in Jesus Christ.

Baptism at Holy Cross Parish:

Infant Baptism: If you would like to have your child baptized please contact the office at 920-766-1445.

Adult Baptism: If you are an adult who would like to prepare for baptism, or are curious about investigating the Catholic faith, please contact Gloria Schuh, our parish RCIA Coordinator, at 920-766-9598.

To learn more about the sacrament of Baptism, click on the "worship" button at the top of our website and select "sacraments" from the drop-down menu.


Sacrament of ConfirmationConfirmation


Introduction: Along with Baptism and Eucharist, Confirmation is one of the sacraments of initiation. Confirmation is necessary to complete the process in the soul begun at baptism. "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 obligated to spread and defend the faith by word and deed." (CCC # 1285). It is through the sacrament of Confirmation that the Christian receives their full mission to bring the Good News to all the nations. 

For further explanation of the sacrament such as how it is done, the symbols used, and the minister please see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC # 1285-1321). 

Confirmation at Holy Cross Parish:

1. As part of normal faith formation: Students who have been part of our faith formation process at Holy Cross Parish begin their preparation for Confirmation during their Junior Year of High School (11th grade). This consists of three Sunday evenings, Interview with coordinator, and a retreat. The actual confirmation rite will take place at the beginning of their Senior Year of High School (12th grade) after an evening of reflection.

If you would like to be confirmed or have a student of this age who would like to be confirmed, please call our Faith Formation office at 920-766-3510 and they will be able to assist you with any information. 

2.  Adult Confirmation: If for some reason you were not able to be confirmed at a younger age or you decided to postpone your confirmation, then you can be confirmed as an adult. Since Confirmation is necessary for marriage many people approach confirmation before their wedding. Adult confirmation consist of a series of gatherings to discuss and learn about our Catholic Faith. Adults at Holy Cross are confirmed at the Easter Vigil on the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday. 

If your are an adult who would like to be confirmed please contact our Adult Confirmation Coordinator, Gloria Schuh at 920-766-9598. 


Sacrament of Holy EucharistEucharist


Introduction: After a person is raised up to share divine life through baptism and configured more closely to Christ through confirmation, they then complete their initiation process by participating, with the entire community, in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist. (See CCC # 1322).

At the last Supper, before Jesus died on the cross, he instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this so that the poser of his one sacrifice, begun at the cross and continued eternally in heaven, will be accessible to all Christians through the Church, the body of Christ. The Eucharist is a memorial sacrifice offered in thanksgiving so that we can be in the presence of Christ, and share his divine life.  

Since the Eucharist is an encounter with Christ it is the Sources of all Christian life. In the same way it is the summit, the goal, of all Christian life. Our natural life of faith begins with Christ and ends with Christ, so the Eucharist is the source and summit of all we do.  

All Catholics have an obligation to attend mass every weekend and all holy days of obligation. We should desire to worship God with joy and love, and we should desire to give him thanks for all He has done for us.  

Effects of the Sacrament of the Eucharist:

  • Holy Communion increases our union with Christ
  • Holy Communion separates us from sin.
  • The Eucharist gives us strength and preserves us from future mortal sin.
  • The Eucharist unites the Mystical Body of Christ: The Eucharist makes the Church
  • The Eucharist commits us to the Poor.
  • The Eucharist is the "Pledge of the Glory to Come!"
  • For a thorough discussion of the Sacrament of the Eucharist see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC # 1322-1419)

Holy Eucharist at Holy Cross Parish:  

Preparation to receive the Eucharist for the first time: In our parish we celebrate first communion in second grade. This assumes they attended the first grade faith formation program and have a knowledge of the Christian faith.

If you would like your child to receive first communion please contact our Faith Formation Office at 920-766-3510. If you are an adult of if your child is older still contact the faith formation office and they will help you to prepare for the sacrament.  

Weekend celebration of the Eucharist:

Saturday:    4:30 p.m.   

Sunday:      7:30 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11:00 a.m.

Daily celebration of the Eucharist:

          Monday - Friday:  7:00 a.m.


The Sacraments of Healing  Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Our Goal now is to live out that life of Christ. We are still subject to suffering, illness and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. When Jesus walked the earth he forgave the sins of the paralytic and then restored him to bodily health. The Lord Jesus continues to be the physician of our bodies and our souls. He has willed that his Church continue his work of healing and salvation through the Holy Spirit. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: The sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. (See CCC # 1420-1421)


Sacrament of ReconciliationPenance and Reconciliation

Introduction: This sacrament is also know as the sacrament of conversion, or penance, or confession, or forgiveness or reconciliation. It has many names buy one main goal: "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon by God's mercy for the offence 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." (CCC # 1422)

For a person to come to this sacrament they must have contrition for their sin. This means there is sorrow of the soul and turning away from the sin committed. It also includes a resolution not to sin again. Hopefully, the contrition arises out of our love for God. 

Secondly, this sacrament includes confession (disclosing) of sins. We must admit our sins and take responsibility for them and in this way open ourselves to receiving the forgiveness of God. 

Thirdly, there must be atonement for our sins. This includes repairing the harm of our sins (returning stolen goods, restore the  reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for the injuries, etc.). The penance that the confessor gives can help repair the spiritual damage. 

Lastly, the person receives absolution.  Here is where the person is reconciled with God, and is reconciled with the Church. The sacrament also is a remission of all eternal punishment and the sacraments strengthens us spiritually for the Christian battle. 

For more explanation of the sacrament, please see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC # 1422-1498) 

Penance and Reconciliation at Holy Cross Parish: 

The sacrament is available in the confessional at the church every Saturday morning from 11:00 a.m. until noon.  We also invite you to call the priest at the office and make an appointment for the sacrament if you cannot make the Saturday time.  People have also been known to just ask when they see the priest. This sacrament is important. 

Preparation for First Reconciliation:

In our parish the normal age for the preparation for first reconciliation is in second grade before they receive first communion.  If you would like your child to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time please contact the Faith Formation Office at 920-766-3510. 

If you have an older child or if you are an adult and you have not yet had your first reconciliation, please contact the Faith Formation Office as well and they will work with you in your preparation. 


Sacrament of Anointing of the SickAnointing of the Sick 

Introduction: Throughout His ministry Jesus had compassion for the sick, and through His many healings we know that God has visited His people. Jesus came to forgive sins and heal the soul, but he wants to heal the whole person and so he is a physician to the sick. His preferential love and care for the sick has continued through the centuries as Christians reached out to others in healing the body and the soul.

Through His passion and death on the Cross Christ gave new meaning to suffering. In our illness, in our suffering we can be configured to Christ and we are united to his redemptive passion. It is from the cross that the power of the sacrament comes. For a full description of this sacrament see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC # 1499-1532) 

Who should receive this sacrament?: This sacrament is NOT only for those at the point of death. If you are receiving surgery, or are elderly, or have the possibility of death, it would be good to receive this healing sacrament. 

How is the sacrament celebrated?: When the priest is called for the anointing of the sick all the people gather with the person who is ill. There is a greeting, a reading from scripture, some words of comfort in our faith. The priest will then lay hands on the person and pray over them calling down the Holy Spirit. Then the priest anoints the person's forehead and hands as he says the words of the sacrament. Everyone will then say the "Our Father" and it ends with a prayer. This sacrament can also be done in a communal setting with Mass, and can also be done with receiving communion and confession. 

The effects of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

  • This sacrament unites the sick person to the Passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church.

  • Through this sacrament the person receives strength, peace and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age.

  • Through this sacrament the person receives the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance.

  • This sacrament helps the restoration of health, if it is conducive for the salvation of the soul.

  • The sacrament prepares us for the final journey. Just as Baptism began the journey, this sacrament unites us to the cross so that we can receive the promise of the resurrection.

Receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick at Holy Cross Parish: Please feel free to call the rectory or have the chaplain at the hospital call the rectory in the case of emergencies. If we are not around do not hesitate to call other Catholic Churches for this sacrament. However, if it is possible to prepare, it is good to call the priest ahead of time and prepare a time for the sacrament of the anointing of the Sick. It is good to have the family present for the sacrament as well. It is better NOT to wait until the last moment.


The Sacraments at the Service of Communion  The sacraments in initiation prepare the Christian for his call to holiness and his mission of evangelizing the world. They give the Christian the grace to live as pilgrims in this world marching to our home. Our next two sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, not only contribute to personal salvation, but are directed toward the salvation of others. They give a particular mission in the Church in building up the People of God. (See CCC # 1533-1535)


Sacrament of Holy OrdersHoly Orders 

Introduction: Jesus Christ gave a mission specifically to his apostles and this mission is to be continued in the Church until the end of time. This apostolic ministry is the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This includes three different groups: the Bishop, the priest and the Deacon. For a full description of the theology of Holy Orders please see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC # 1536-1600) 

Interested in Priesthood or the Diaconate?: I would encourage anyone interested in the priesthood or diaconate to call the rectory and make an appointment with the priest.  He will be able to answer many of your questions, and help you to discern.  On the "LINKS" page of our website there are links to the diocesan vocations office and the websites of different religious orders. I would invite you to explore those sites as well. If you would like to speak to the Vocations Director of the diocese please call: 1-877-500-3580 and ask for Fr. Tom Long.       


Sacrament of MatrimonyMatrimony


Introduction: Marriage is part of God's plan. It is part of the order of creation itself. The covenant of marriage is ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. The covenant between a husband and a wife is raised by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. For a deeper understanding of this sacrament please see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC #601-1666) 

The Sacrament of Marriage at Holy Cross Parish: 

The sacrament of marriage is for committed Catholic Christians. It is best if the bride and the groom were baptized, confirmed practicing Catholics who are members at Holy Cross parish. At least one person in the couple must be Catholic.

Preparation for marriage includes living our faith in Jesus Christ. Since a sacrament is an oath of faith, our preparation must include growing in our Christian faith, and coming to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, sacraments and the attendance at Mass every week. 

Please contact the parish a minimum of 6 months before the wedding date. I would encourage earlier if possible because the dates do fill up quickly, especially in the fall and spring.  Please call the office to set up the date. You will need to make your stipend payment of $75.00 at the time you set the date.  Here are the other parts of your preparation:

  1. Wedding Planning Workshop: This happens at Holy Cross Parish. We will go over the rite of marriage and all your options for your wedding. The priest, the liturgist and the music coordinator will all talk about different areas of preparation for the wedding ceremony. We use the Catholic Rite of Marriage, and this means we only can have Liturgical Music at the wedding. As this workshop, you will receive many good ideas and hints.

  2. Diocesan Marriage Workshop: This is either a one day or two day event depending on the program you sign up for. In this workshop experienced couples will help you to explore the different things you will encounter in married life. They will help you to discuss things such as finances, faith, in-laws. They will also help to explain what Christian marriage is all about. The couples will be given a brown slip showing they attended the workshop. Give this slip to the priest.

  3. Foccus Couple Meeting: In our parish we have couples who are trained to administer the Foccus Instrument. This will involve two or three meetings with your Foccus Couple. The wedding couple will fill out a questionnaire about the different areas of married life. In the next meetings, they will discuss their answers. The goal is to help the couple discuss different issues and prepare not only for the wedding day, but for the marriage.

  4. Meetings with the Priests: Every couple meets with the priest doing the wedding at least twice. The first meeting helps the priest to get to know the couple and to begin the paperwork for the wedding. During their second meeting they will go through some of the Foccus questions, discuss the diocesan workshop and then plan the wedding liturgy.

  5. Paperwork: Every couple needs to provide a new baptismal certificate from their parish of baptism. They can have their baptismal parish send it directly to Holy Cross Parish. Every one will also be required to fill out Affidavits stating that they are free to marry.  During the first meeting with the priest they will also answer the questions to the prenuptial questionnaire. The file with all the paperwork is kept by the priest.

It is the goal of the priest and the parish staff to make your wedding day a very special time. We will work hard so that you not only have a beautiful wedding day, but that you are prepared for your marriage all your life.