Catholic Life

A central part of Catholic life is the celebration of the Sacraments. The sacraments are special public and communal rituals that the Catholic community celebrates. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states ‘the whole liturgical life of the church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments’. (CCC#1113) There are seven sacraments in the Catholic tradition they are grouped under three headings. The first group are called the Sacraments of Initiation and they are the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The second group are called the Sacraments of Healing and they are the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick. The third group are called the Vocational Sacraments and they are the sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders.



The Catholic Church believes and teaches that the seven sacraments were instituted by Jesus and given to the community of believers as a sign of the presence and power of God in our lives. That is why the Sacraments make sacred or holy important times and events in our lives. The birth of a child in often celebrated in Baptism. The love and commitment of husband and wife is celebrated in Marriage, our need for forgiveness by others and God is celebrated in Penance and our need for healing and strength when seriously ill is celebrated in the Anointing of the sick.

The central sacrament in Catholic life is the Eucharist or as it is commonly known the Mass. The Eucharist is at the heart of parish life, it is the reason the local Catholic community gathers each Sunday. The Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic identity. It is often described as 'the source and summit of the Christian life'. (CCC # 1324) The Eucharist is the primary way that the Catholic community remembers Jesus and it is the public way we give thanks to God for all the good things we have in our lives. It is also the time that Catholics believe they are nourished and fed by the special presence of Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine. This presence is called a real presence of the body and blood of Christ. The eating and drinking of this special presence of Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine is called Holy Communion.



What is a parish?

A parish is local/suburban Catholic community centred on a local church. A parish has certain geographical boundaries that can include a number of suburbs. For example the parish of Floreat includes the suburb of Wembley. In the country areas a parish can include a number of towns. For example the parish of York includes the towns of Beverley and Brookton. A parish community is normally cared for by a parish priest who lives within the parish. A group of parishes make up a diocese or archdiocese. The parishes of Perth make up the Archdiocese of Perth.  An Archdiocese is led by an Archbishop. The Archbishop of Perth is Archbishop Timothy Costelloe. His Assistant Bishop is Bishop Donald Sproxton.



I want my child baptised. What do I do?

Baptism takes place in your local parish church. Most baptisms take place on a Sunday, this is to highlight that Baptism is about belonging to the Christian community. The Christian community is expressed within your local Catholic parish. Some parishes celebrate Baptism during the parish Sunday Mass. All parishes ask that the parents and godparents undertake some form of preparation and instruction before their child is baptised. 
Contact your local parish and parish priest for more information.



I am an adult and I am interested in becoming a Catholic. What do I do?

The best thing to do is to go along to your local Catholic parish church and to make yourself known to the parish priest. If you are a bit nervous about meeting the parish priest think about taking a Catholic friend along with you.
Most adults who wish to become a Catholic are taken through a period of instruction in which they learn about Catholic faith. This is done either personally with the parish priest or through a process, shared with others who also desire to become Catholic, called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
Contact your local parish and parish priest for more information.

I want to get married in a Catholic Church. What do I do?

To be married in the Catholic Church either you or your fiancé needs to be a baptised Catholic. The most important thing to do first is to arrange to meet your local parish priest. He will tell you of the requirements that are needed to be married in the Catholic Church. He will also tell you about government requirements for marriage. If either of you has been married before, you should mention this to the priest at your first meeting with him.
It is required that all couples undertake preparation and marriage education before they are married. Your priest celebrant will be able to give you the information about the preparation courses offered in a parish or in the diocese. It is important not to book a church or chapel and a reception venue until after you have spoken to your local priest and until you have contacted a priest who has undertaken to celebrate your wedding for you.
Contact your local parish and parish priest for more information.