« Return to Course Catalog

Sacraments

Course Level: Basic

Course Summary

This course is an introductory overview of the theology of the sacraments, the public, liturgical prayer of the Church. The Church is never so much the Church as when it is gathered together for liturgy. Jesus Himself is Sacrament, the visible sign of the invisible God. Eucharist is THE sacrament for it contains all that we are, all that the Church is, and all that Jesus says of God. Each of the sacraments will be discussed within the context of its role in the lives of the faithful: initiation into God's life, healing and reconciliation, and service to God's community.

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

General Course Objectives

  • Gain an understanding and appreciation for the meaning of liturgy as an encounter with God and with the Church
  • Understand the power of sacramental words and symbols
  • Understand the meaning of grace and how sacraments confer grace
  • Gain a basic grasp of a brief history of the sacraments
  • Be able to explain how Baptism is the door to life in the Spirit
  • Be able to explain the steps of the RCIA
  • Understand that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the ecclesial life
  • Be able to explain the Sacraments of Initiation, the Sacraments of Healing and the Sacraments of Vocation
  • Gain a basic understanding of the insights from the National Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church for strengthening the Church's catechetical and lay ecclesial ministries

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Stasiak, Kurt Sacramental Theology: Means of Grace, Ways of Life Loyola Press, 2001. ISBN: 0829417214; ISBN-13: 978-0829417210
  • Required Book: Mick, Lawrence E. Understanding the Sacraments Today (Revised Edition) Liturgical Press, 2006. ISBN: 0814629253; ISBN-13: 978-0814629253
  • Optional Book: National Directory for Catechesis USCCB. 2005. (Required book if you are doing our Certificate in Catechesis) ISBN: 1574554433; ISBN 13: 978-1574554434
  • Course Materials available at the VLCFF Amazon Store.

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Liturgy: an Encounter With God and the Church
    • Become familiar with the Vatican document, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium)[br]
    • Understand that the liturgy is the work of the Christ and the work of the Church
    • Understand the meaning of Christ as the "first sacrament"
    • Understand that liturgy accomplishes "the work of our redemption" (SC, #2)
    • Understand that the sacraments are "doors to the sacred," "visible works" that lead us to hidden treasures
    • Understand that the sacraments are more than "holy moments" of our lives
    • Be able to explain the matter and form of the sacraments
    • Understand the three requirements for a valid sacrament
  • Week 2: Brief History: Sacraments and Grace
    • Understand the meaning of grace
    • Understand how we "receive" grace from the sacraments
    • Be able to explain the meaning of sacramental symbols
    • Grasp the basic meaning of "Ex Opere Operato".
    • Gain a basic comprehension of the complex history of the seven sacraments
    • Understand that the purpose of sacramental postconciliar theology and statements of the Church is to recover and restore some of the early Church's understanding of and attitude toward the sacraments
  • Week 3: Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist
    • Understand the matter and form of the Sacraments of Initiation
    • Be able to explain the religious and ecclesial (personal and communal) effects of Baptism
    • Understand the two principal effects of Baptism
    • Understand the meaning of sacramental character
    • Understand the importance of the RCIA
    • Understand the meaning of original sin
    • Understand that the Sacrament of Eucharist completes Christian initiation
    • Be able to explain why the Eucharist is considered "the perfect sacrament"
    • Understand that Confirmation is the completion of baptismal grace
    • Be able to identify the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their relationship in our ordinary lives
  • Week 4: Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation (Penance) and Anointing of the Sick
    • Be able to identify the matter and form of the sacraments
    • Understand why the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) and Anointing of the Sick are considered Sacraments of Healing
    • Gain a basic understanding of the development of these sacraments through history
    • Understand the three elements that support a fruitful celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance)
    • Be able to explain the meaning of "viaticum"
    • Understand how the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick fits into the larger ministry to the sick that the Church encourages
    • Be able to explain why the presence of the community of the faithful is important for the Sacrament of Anointing
  • Week 5: Sacraments of Vocation: Matrimony and Holy Orders
    • Understand the form and matter of the Sacraments of Vocation[br]
    • Gain a basic grasp of the history of the Sacraments of Vocation
    • Be able to explain the sacramental dimension of marriage (Matrimony)[br]
    • Understand that marriage (Matrimony) is seen more as a covenant than as a contract
    • Understand the Church's meaning of indissolubility
    • Come to an appreciation of marriage (Matrimony) as a true vocation in the Church community
    • Understand some of the recent changes regarding the Sacrament of Holy Orders

 
 
 
 

© 2000 - 2017 Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation