Roman Catholic Practices

Catholic religious practice revolves around the liturgy and the seven sacraments – Baptism, Confirmation, Communion, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Holy Matrimony. Understood as outward signs of God's presence, sacraments mark major transitions in life and, in the case of Communion and Reconciliation, are part of life's texture. Through the celebration of Communion, or the Eucharist, at mass, Catholics receive the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine. Reconciliation involves the confession of sins to a Priest, who mediates God's forgiveness through a prescribed penance and absolution. Attendance at Mass is technically obligatory for observant Catholics on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Mass is generally celebrated in the vernacular language of each parish, although the pre-Vatican II Latin mass is authorized as well. Because Catholics place a joint emphasis on faith and works in attaining salvation, churches and organizations have traditionally been active in providing education, healthcare, and poverty support.