Introduction to the Sacraments of InitiationCourse Level: Basic

Course Summary

The sacraments of initiation draw us deeply into Christ's life and life within the Christian community, and through them we are sent out in mission in Christ's name. This course will provide a foundational study and reflection on the history and theology of these key sacramental moments.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Develop an understanding of the history and nature of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist
  • Explore the meaning of the sacraments of initiation in their life and faith
  • Consider the relationship between the liturgical celebrations of the sacraments of initiation and the ongoing life of discipleship begun and strengthened through these sacraments

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Sargent, Robert Walking in Newness of Life: The Sacraments of Initiation Paulist Press, 2007 ISBN: 0809143836; ISBN-13: 978-0809143832
  • Required Book: USCCB National Directory for Catechesis 2005, ISBN: 1574554433; ISBN-13: 978-1574554434

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Baptism's New Life, New Faith and New Community
    • Reflect on baptism as a drawing into the life of the incarnate Word
    • Explore the roots of baptism in the Bible and early Christian writers
    • Consider that baptism calls us into union within the Christian community
  • Week 2: Confirmation's Gift of Pentecostal Spirit
    • Deepen their appreciation for Confirmation within the unity of the sacraments of initiation, and as a distinct sacramental strengthening of the Holy Spirit
    • Explore the action of the Holy Spirit in the Pentecost and New Testament narratives, making the connection between these testimonies and the Holy Spirit in the lives of people today
    • Consider the meaning of the laying on of hands and of anointing
  • Week 3: Eucharist Spirituality
    • Consider the ways in which our attitudes are shaped by a quality of thanksgiving that is an expression of our celebrations of the Eucharist
    • Reflect on “remaining” in Jesus as an image of discipleship
    • Deepen an appreciation of the Eucharist as a sharing in Christ’s life as a carrying out of the covenant between ourselves and God
  • Week 4: The Blessings of the Eucharist
    • Explore the forgiveness that is present and experienced in the Eucharist
    • Consider the two-fold remembering which is celebrated in the Eucharist: our remembering and God’s remembering
    • Deepen an appreciation that the Eucharist is a Presence but most of all it is a power for hope and resurrection
  • Week 5: The Sacraments in Our Lives of Faith
    • Deepen an appreciation for the sacraments as “causing what they signify,” i.e., the sacraments are a visible sign that illustrates for us the meaning of the interior grace the sacraments confer
    • Explore the ways in which Jesus’ new life is one of love, healing, and life-giving power
    • Consider the aspects of faith as holding belief in the truths expressed in the doctrinal creeds and of confidence or trust that goes beyond intellectual assent to truths