The Seven Sacraments

Photo essay by Matthew Busch

The seven sacraments of the Catholic faith are meant to introduce new members to the faith and to strengthen the spiritual life of the faithful.

Sacraments of initiation — baptism, confirmation and Eucharist — are meant to bring in new members and to lay the foundation for their spiritual lives.

The sacraments of healing — penance and anointing of the sick — are meant to mend the body and soul.

And the sacraments of service — holy orders and matrimony — are aimed at service to others through work as an ordained member of the church or as a lifelong commitment to Christian life as a married couple.

At the same time that these sacraments are personal to each who receives and administers them, they are universal in connecting Catholics in Dubois County to each other more closely and to the greater community of Catholics throughout the world.

Herald photo intern Matthew Busch spent the past few months documenting the seven sacraments in a photo essay.

BAPTISM. Quinn Sophia Fischer, 3 months old, was baptized by Father John Boeglin at Holy Family Catholic Church in Jasper along with Quinn’s twin sister, Lyla Beth, on June 30. The twins are the children of Nicholas and April (Blankenberger) Fischer of Jasper, who were both raised Catholic. Their 2-year-old daughter, Kate, also was baptized at Holy Family by Father Boeglin. The water used in baptism is meant to symbolize the washing away of original sin. The person being baptized is then anointed with a sacred chrism, which signifies the conveyance of the Holy Spirit onto that person, is given a white garment and has a baptismal candle lit. During the baptism, Quinn was surrounded by her godmother, Pam Bolte of Indianapolis, left, April, Abbie Fischer of Huntingburg, who was holding her goddaughter, Lyla, and Lyla’s godfather, Matt Auffart of Ferdinand.

EUCHARIST. Gianna Wagner of Celestine, 8, center, smiled as she and Owen Bieker of Celestine, 8, second from right, talked in their pews before the start of Mass at St. Celestine Catholic Church in Celestine on May 5, during which they and the rest of their group receive the Catholic sacrament of Eucharist for the first time. The Eucharist is the memorial of the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who, as the son of God, died on the cross to save the souls of humanity from their sins. Catholics believe Christ is present in the bread and wine that each receives during Communion. All dressed in black and white, the children receiving their First Communion sat together in the first two pews of the church and waited for their role in the Mass to begin.

CONFIRMATION. Brooke Mullen of St. Anthony, second from left, talked with her confirmation sponsor and aunt, Angi Seffernick of Ferdinand, as they waited in line with the rest of the confirmation group at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in St. Anthony on April 7. Confirmation is celebrated by a bishop and takes place during Mass. Prior to the Mass, those being confirmed take classes, sometimes with their sponsors, to prepare themselves for the Catholic rite of passage. The sacrament of confirmation is meant to complete the full initiation of a person into the Catholic faith. It marks the recipient with the “seal” of the Holy Spirit, represented by a priest’s marking the confirmed with a sacred chrism, or oil, and the laying on of hands. It is a renewal of the baptismal vows to practice and preach the Catholic faith.

MATRIMONY. Bridget Gehlhausen of Jasper and Matthew Fleck of Ferdinand walked together as Mr. and Mrs. Fleck out of St. Mary Catholic Church in Ireland on their wedding day June 1. The sacrament of matrimony is considered a covenant between baptized persons by the Catholic Church. They are meant to “attain holiness in their married life” and to educate their children in the ways of the church, according to the faith’s catechism.

ORDINATION. Deacon Tim Wyciskalla of the Diocese of Indianapolis lay prostrate on the floor next to his fellow seminarians before Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph W. Tobin during their ordination as deacons at Saint Meinrad Archabbey on April 6. It was “the most profound experience I’ve gone through in my life,” Deacon Wyciskalla said after the ceremony. While laying prostrate, he tried to imagine all the saints praying for him and felt the support of his community. He studied four years in college and then three years at Saint Meinrad prior to being ordained. Those wishing to become priests must first be ordained as deacons. The sacrament of holy orders comes in three degrees in the Church: first as a deacon, then a priest and, for some, a bishop. Oftentimes a seminarian will be ordained a priest in his home diocese.

PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION. Mary Ann Seng of Jasper received a blessing of absolution from Father Gene Heerdink at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jasper on March 19 during a communal reconciliation service. The church offered the service for its members to all receive the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. The sacrament is meant to give Catholics the opportunity to confess their sins and to ask God’s forgiveness through a priest. Seng said she goes for the personal gratification and feeling of being uplifted afterward. “We all need grace,” she said. “My relationship with other people could use some improvement.” After the contrite person has confessed her sins to the priest, she is absolved and given a penance to perform as deemed necessary by the priest.

ANOINTING OF THE SICK. Rita Oeding of Jasper listened as Father Ray Brenner of St. Joseph Catholic Church read aloud prayers during the sacrament of anointing of the sick at Memorial Hospital in Jasper on May 24. Oeding, 84, had been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. The Catholic sacrament of anointing of the sick is meant to provide “strengthening, courage and peace” to those receiving it, according to the faith’s catechism. It involves a blessing with oil and a reading from Scripture and is meant to provide the sick or elderly with the spiritual strength to endure or overcome their illness.

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