Sacraments & Pastoral Offices

According to The Book of Common Prayer, “the sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace” (p. 857). While Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are considered the two sacraments of the Gospel, tradition has generally acknowledged Confirmation, Holy Orders (or Ordination), Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction as sacraments, or sacramental rites, of the Church.                                                       

Holy Baptism
Holy Baptism is “the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God” (BCP, p. 858). At Christ Church, baptisms typically occur within the context of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday, ideally on one of the days recommended by The Book of Common Prayer: The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ (The First Sunday after the Epiphany), Easter Eve (The Great Vigil of Easter), the Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday, and All Saints’ Day (or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day). Adult baptisms are especially appropriate at the Great Vigil of Easter. If you are interested in Baptism for yourself or your children, contact a member of the clergy.

Holy Eucharist
The Holy Eucharist, also known as the Mass, Holy Communion, and the Lord’s Supper, the principal act of Christian worship, is celebrated on Sunday at 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m. (first, third, and fifth Sundays), and 5:00 p.m., and on every principal feast of the church year. The Holy Eucharist is also celebrated on Wednesdays, at 7:40 a.m., and Fridays, at 12:10 p.m. All baptized Christians are welcome to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion at Christ Church. To learn more about the Holy Eucharist or to participate in a period of preparation for first reception of the sacrament, contact a member of the clergy.

Confirmation, the rite in which candidates “express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by the bishop” (BCP, p. 860), typically takes place at the twice-yearly diocesan Confirmation liturgy at Washington National Cathedral. Those who were previously baptized and confirmed in another tradition are formally welcomed by a bishop into the Episcopal Church through a rite known as Reception. For more information, contact a member of the parish clergy.

Holy Orders (or Ordination)
Those who are discerning a call to ordained ministry - the permanent diaconate or the priesthood - are encouraged to speak with a member of the parish clergy.

Holy Matrimony
Holy Matrimony, or Christian Marriage, is the rite in which two people "enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows" (BCP, p. 861). If you are planning to be married and are considering the possibility of marriage at Christ Church, contact a member of the parish clergy to learn about the requirements for marriage in the parish and Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Click here to view the Marriage Liturgy Planning Guide.

Unction, "the rite of anointing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, by which God's grace is given for healing of spirit, mind, and body prayers" (BCP, p. 861), is offered in several contexts.  The parish clergy are always available to visit and anoint those who, due to serious illness or infirmity, are home or hospital-bound. And because it is not restricted to those who are seriously ill or dying, but rather for anyone who is in need of God's grace and strength, the healing rite is made available to the wider community at two weekday celebrations of the Holy Eucharist: Wednesdays, at 7:40 a.m., and Fridays, at 12:10 p.m., and by appointment. For more information, contact a member of the parish clergy.

Reconciliation of a Penitent
Reconciliation of a Penitent, also known as Confession or Penance, “the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution” (BCP, p. 861), is available by appointment. Contact a member of the parish clergy. This sacramental rite is especially appropriate during the penitential season of Lent.

Funerals and Liturgies for the Burial of the Dead
Funerals and liturgies for the Burial of the Dead are available for parishioners and others. To learn more, contact a member of the parish clergy. The clergy request that they be notified as soon as possible when a parishioner is seriously ill or near death. Click here to view the Funeral Liturgy Planning Guide.