Baptism and Christian Initiation
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from
the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life…
if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him…
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and
alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:3, 8, 11)
The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. . . . Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin – Original and actual – and begin to live a new life with God.
In Baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ’s call to holiness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults)
Parents requesting baptism of infants and children to the age of five should be practicing Roman Catholics and registered members of the parish who regularly attend Mass at Church of the Visitacion. They should contact the parish a minimum of two months before the desired date of baptism. The pastor will schedule an initial meeting with the parent(s) at which time information will be taken. A baptism preparation class is required for the parents and the godparents of the child. Children over the age of six who are not baptized must be enrolled in the CCD classes and prepare for First Communion.
The documents below are provided to help you prepare for the baptism of your children.
For adults today, the Church, after the Second Vatican Council, has restored the order of the Catechumenate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It outlines the steps for the formation of catechumens, bringing their conversion to the faith to a greater maturity. It helps them respond more deeply to God’s gracious initiative in their lives and prepares them for union with the Church community. This process is meant to form them into the fullness of the Christian life and to become disciples of Jesus, their teacher. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults)
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is for non-Baptized adults or adults who were baptized in other Christian denomination who are considering becoming full members of the Roman Catholic Church. The program also welcomes adults who were baptized into the Catholic Church as infants but who never received further catechesis and did not receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Communion. The RCIA program includes Catholic doctrine and morality, Bible study, community participation, and self-reflection. The group meets from September through May.
If you or someone you know is interested in RCIA or more information about the Catholic faith please contact the Rectory Office at (415) 494-5517.
Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has places his pledge, the Spirit,
in your hearts. – Saint Ambrose, doctor of the Church
The prophets of the Old Testament foretold that God’s Spirit would rest upon the Messiah to sustain his mission. Their prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus the Messiah was conceived by the Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus on the occasion of his baptism by John. Jesus’ entire mission occurred in communion with the Spirit. Before he died, Jesus promised that the Spirit would be given to the Apostles and to the entire Church. After his death, he was raised by the Father in the power of the Spirit.
Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighborhoods, society, and the world. . . . We receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner with great emphasis given to the person of Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to the Church for building up the community in loving service. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults)
Teenagers: Parish teenagers in 10th grade should contact the Parish Office for information. Prior record of CCD or religious education is required.
Adults: If you are an adult (18+) who has not been confirmed, please contact the Parish Office for more information.
If you have any questions, please contact the Rectory Office at (415) 494-5517.
So Jesus said to them, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, it was not Moses
who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven…
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:32, 51)
Are you seeking to rediscover your friendship with Jesus? Haven’t been to Mass in a while and wondering where to start? Start by getting to know Jesus again through prayer. It does not matter how long it has been since you have been to Mass. You are always invited to encounter Jesus in the Mass.
The Eucharist, the living and real presence of Jesus Christ, nourishes our parish family, makes it healthy, makes it function in a loving, sacrificial spirit of unity with the entire Roman Catholic Church, making us an ever more fitting dwelling-place for the triune God.
The celebration of the First Holy Communion is an exciting event in the life of a parish. The community here at Church of the Visitacion welcomes your child as he/she joins us in receiving our Lord Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. If you are a parishioner and your child is in the 2nd grade, please contact the Rectory Office for information on sacramental preparation.
Religious instruction is required during 1st grade in order for children to receive these sacraments in 2nd grade. Thank you for your commitment to your child’s religious education.
If you have any questions, please contact the Rectory Office at (415) 494-5517.
He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ (John 20: 19-23)
Not only does it [the Sacrament of Penance] free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church. The Sacrament of Penance is God’s gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven. In confession we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins. With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults)
The sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance is known by several names:
- The “sacrament of Penance” expresses the way it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction” (CCC, 1423).
- The “sacrament of confession” refers to the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest as an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession”—acknowledgment and praise—of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
- The “sacrament of forgiveness” illustrates how the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.”
- The “sacrament of Reconciliation” is another name because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.” He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother” (CCC, 1424).
The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. (CCC, 1421).
How to Make a Good Confession
Despite the feelings of many Catholics who consider the sacrament of Reconciliation either unnecessary or frightening, that fact remains that few things could be more necessary for our salvation than this humbling sacrament. Many people have avoided celebrating the sacrament, sometimes for years at a time, because they “don’t know what to do.” The following brief explanation is intended for a person who has not been to confession in some time. The person who is going to confession is called a “penitent” because he or she wishes to do penance and to turn away from sin.
Before going to confession, the penitent compares his or her life with the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the example of Christ and then prays to God for forgiveness.
Going to Confession
The priest welcomes the penitent and then both make the sign of the cross, saying, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” Next the priest briefly urges the penitent to have confidence in God.
If the penitent is unknown to the priest, it is proper for the penitent to indicate his or her state of life, the time of the last confession, difficulties in leading the Christian life, and anything else that may help the confessor in exercising his ministry.
Confession of Sins and the Act of Penance
The penitent then confesses his or her sins. If necessary, the priest should help the penitent to make a complete confession and to have sincere sorrow for sins against God. The sorrow a penitent feels for his or her sins is known as contrition and must include an intent to sin no more and to avoid all future occasions of sin. Through confession of sins, the penitent looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself to His grace and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible.
The priest then offers suitable advice to help the penitent begin a new life and, when appropriate, leads him or her to resolve to make appropriate restitution for the harm he or she has caused others. The priest imposes an act of penance or satisfaction on the penitent. The penance corresponds to the seriousness and nature of the sins and may suitably take the form of prayer, self-denial, and especially service to one’s neighbor and works of mercy. Such a “penance” serves not only to make up for the past but also to help the penitent to begin a new life filled with grace.
The Act of Contrition
After this, the priest will ask the penitent to make a good Act of Contrition. The following is one example of such a prayer:
O my God,
I am heartily sorry for having offended you,
and I detest all my sins,
because of your just punishment,
but most of all because they offend you, my God,
who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace,
to sin no more,
and to avoid the near occasion of sin.
Absolution by the Priest
Following this prayer, the priest extends his hands, or at least his right hand, over the head of the penitent and pronounces the formula of absolution. As he says the final words he makes the sign of the cross over the head of the penitent:
God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
The penitent answers, “Amen.”
Dismissal of the Penitent
Then the priest tells the penitent to go in peace. The penitent continues his or her conversion and expresses it by a life renewed according to the Gospel and more and more steeped in the love of God.
The parish offers regular Reconciliation (Confession) on Saturdays between 3:00 and 3:50 p.m. or by request. Please call 415-494-5517.
Anointing of The Sick
Is there anyone sick among you? He should ask for the presbyters of the church. They in turn are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. This prayer uttered in faith will reclaim the one who is ill, and the Lord will restore him to health. If he has committed any sins, forgiveness will be his. (James 5:14–15)
In the Church’s Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.
The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.
When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults)
Some frequently asked questions about the sacrament:
Q: Who should receive the Anointing of the Sick?
A: Anyone who is ill, about to have or has had surgery, the chronically ill, those suffering terminal or other illnesses.
Q: When should the sacrament of the sick be administered?
A: It is not necessary to wait until a person is dying before calling a priest. The Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death” (CCC 1514).
Q: I have been anointed in the past, and I am ill again. May I be anointed again?
A: If some time has passed and you are experiencing another illness, you may receive the sacrament again.
At Church of the Visitacion, Anointing of the Sick is available upon request. Please call the Rectory Office at (415) 494-5517.
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.
For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two
shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined, no human being must separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation and union of man and woman and ends with “the wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7, 9). Scripture often refers to marriage, its origin and purpose, the meaning God gave to it, and its renewal in the covenant made by Jesus with his Church.
By their marriage, the couple witnesses Christ’s spousal love for the Church. One of the Nuptial Blessings in the liturgical celebration of marriage refers to this in saying, “Father, you have made the union of man and wife so holy a mystery that it symbolizes the marriage of Christ and his Church.”
The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenant, which is more than a contract. Covenant always expresses a relationship between persons. The marriage covenant refers to the relationship between the husband and wife, a permanent union of persons capable of knowing and loving each other and God. The celebration of marriage is also a liturgical act, appropriately held in a public liturgy at church. Catholics are urged to celebrate their marriage within the Eucharistic Liturgy. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults)
Catholic couples desiring to be married in the Church should contact the parish at the very least six months before the intended marriage date. At this time, an appointment will be made to begin the marriage preparation process. The documents below are provided to help you prepare for the appointment.
Catholic Funeral Rites
“At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of Baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased
because of its confident belief that death is not the end, nor does it break the bonds
forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in
the funeral rites with the comforting Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 4)
The Catholic funeral rite is divided into several stations, or parts, each with its own purpose. For this reason, we recommend following the complete structure and making use of each station.
Vigil Service (Wake)
“At the vigil, the Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in Christ’s presence” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 56). The Vigil Service usually takes place during the period of visitation and viewing at the funeral home. It is a time to remember the life of the deceased and to commend him/her to God. In prayer we ask God to console us in our grief and give us strength to support one another.
The Vigil Service can take the form of a Service of the Word with readings from Sacred Scripture accompanied by reflection and prayers. It can also take the form of one of the prayers of the Office for the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours. The clergy and your funeral director can assist in planning such service.
It is most appropriate, when family and friends are gathered together for visitation, to offer time for recalling the life of the deceased. For this reason, eulogies are usually encouraged to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service.
The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the funeral liturgy at a Mass. When Mass cannot be celebrated, a funeral liturgy outside Mass can be celebrated at the church or in the funeral home.
At the funeral liturgy, the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. The funeral liturgy, therefore, is an act of worship, and not merely an expression of grief.
Rite of Committal (Burial or Interment)
The Rite of Committal, the conclusion of the funeral rite, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It should normally be celebrated at the place of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of interment. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. The Rite of Committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer, but see God face-to-face.
There are occasions when a Catholic person dies before they share with family members or friends their wishes concerning a funeral and burial. In such a case, the person may be buried without a Catholic funeral or even before the parish knows of the death. In order that family, friends, and your parish understand your wishes in regard to the Funeral Rites of the Catholic Church, please prayerfully consider the information and questions provided in this planning workbook. A priest from the Parish will be happy to meet with you and any family members to explain the rites and the choices that are available. Please call the rectory office at 415-494-5517.