Sacraments of Initiation
Sacraments of Initiation are rites introducing a person, called a catechumen, into the Catholic tradition of the Christian Church. According to Catholic teaching, the way they are celebrated is meant to bring a neophyte to experience and know, through visible sacramental signs and gestures, eternal life and grace Jesus has brought into this world. They are always accompanied by the Word of God. Particular focus is placed on the paschal mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. The privileged time of celebrating them is Easter, and by the 4th century it was accepted as normal time of administering them, although it was also allowed on Pentecost.
There are three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. In Eastern Christian liturgical and pastoral tradition they are called mysteries and are always celebrated together. In the Latin Rite, during infant baptism, only the baptism is conferred to babies, while the Eucharist and confirmation are postponed until the child achieves age of self-awareness.
Adults are normally baptized after enrollment as a catechumen, either formally, as in the Latin Rite, or more informally, as in some Eastern Catholic Churches. Although not a true member of the Church, catechumens may have some share in Christ, according to the Church.
According to the Catechism, baptism makes one a member of the Body of Christ and prepares one for the reception of the other sacraments. Confirmation is the anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist gives one the "food of eternal life" (John 6:54), and allows one to receive Jesus.
Only Baptism and the Eucharist are practiced in Protestant denominations.
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