In Christianity, specifically to Catholics, certain rituals are needed to be followed as a duty of being a believer of Christ. These rituals happen in specific point of Christian’s life. The Catholic Christian rites of passage are as follows: Baptism, First Communion, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, and Funeral Rites.
Every newborn child of every Christian family are obliged to have the baby baptized within the first 6 months. This ritual is based on the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the baptist at the river Jordan. Baptisms in the olden times usually involves submerging of the whole body underwater. But nowadays, the priest only pours holy water on the child’s forehead a a form of symbolism. Parents are there to represent the child’s behalf in his entry to the Christian world. This rite is also mentioned in the Bible many times.
After the Sacrament of Baptism comes the First communion. By definition, this the first reception of a person to the Holy Eucharist. Generally, this is done when the child reaches the age of 7 years old. It’s a commemoration of Jesus Christ’s last supper, one of the central focus in Roman Catholic faith. In the First Communion, a Eucharistic ceremony is held and the child is given the Holy Eucharist and wine, symbolizing Jesus Christ’s body and blood. Traditionally this is a festive ceremony for every Roman Catholic family.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, or Penance and Reconciliation) is often done right around the time of the First Communion. It has three elements: conversion (resolving to change your ways), confession and celebration. In it we find God’s forgiveness and, as a result, we are asked to forgive others.
When the child reaches the teenage years, they must enter into the rite of Confirmation. In simple terms, it is the personal acceptance of the Christian faith. This coincides with the Sacrament of Baptism for during that time the parents where the ones receiving the Christian faith for the child. In Confirmation, the child is the one formally accepting the Christian faith. Thus, the ceremony is similar to baptism.
Roman Catholics are strongly against polygamy, the marriage to many partners. The rite of marriage of a man and woman under God signifies the legitimacy of living together. This is deeply rooted on the belief of Jesus’ marriage to the Church. This is also mentioned in Mark 10:7-9, “... in marriage, the man and woman will ‘become one’. A bond that is made by God that can never break…” Typically the main reason for marriage is to procreate off springs and build a family. This is also a teaching found in the Bible and is very important to Roman Catholics.
There’s a saying that everyone can become a servant of God, but not all can become priests. Ordination is a rite of passage reserved only to those who want to become priest or bishops. It is classified into 3 Holy Orders: deacon, priest, bishop. Seminarians will be ordained as deacons after completing the theological training. Deacons will eventually become priest after completing their rite of ordination. A bishop is the one who will ordain a priest. As for ordaining a bishop, this ceremony is performed by several bishops or the Pope of the Church. Once ordained, they must follow 3 main vows: poverty, chastity, celibacy.
The Catholic faith has firm beliefs in life after death. And dying is not the end for it is just a way to meet God in heaven. Funeral rites are done to honor the life of the person who died. This is accompanied with prayers and a Holy Mass. Flowers are given to signify ‘new life’ to the deceased and candles are lit to represent salvation. A proper burial is given for the belief that the physical body will be replaced by a spiritual body.
As a Catholic, these seven sacraments or Rites of Passage signify what is sacred and important as a Christian. They are special events in which an individual can experience God’s saving presence, becoming one with the Lord!
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