While here on earth, the Lord Jesus healed the sick, forgave sins, sanctified matrimony, and invited all to be part of the Kingdom. Before he died, he made his Apostles priests and bishops and entrusted to them the Eucharist. At his Ascension, he gave power to his Church to continue his ministry among us. Finally, at Pentecost, he sent the Holy Spirit upon the Church.
Today the Church, through the ministry of her bishops and priests, continues to fulfill Jesus' command to teach all nations the Christian faith and to administer the Sacraments.
We firmly believe that the risen Lord Jesus, victorious over sin and death, continues his priestly ministry and office in the Sacraments. For this reason, every Sacrament is a meeting with the living Jesus Christ and as such requires an openness on our side to engage with him.
Whatever draws you to God - the desire of becoming his child (Baptism), the need of strenght in sickness (Anointing), a search for consolation in grief (Funerals), the unrest of conscience troubled by sin (Confession), or the willingness to include him in your relationship (Marriage) - we are here to offer you this meeting with the living God in the Sacraments and to help you to prepare yourself for it.
If you have any questions, or if you want to explore what God has to offer you through his Church, please, get in touch with the Vicar.
Putting it simply, sacramentals are signs hallowed by the prayer of the Church. We all “use” them even without knowing it. When at the end of the Mass the priest blesses us, he entrusts us into God’s love and grace. Blessing is a sacramental. When we burn incense or sprinkle Holy Water - those are sacramentals. When the priest blesses our wedding rings, our home, our car… anything… they are all sacramentals. When we cross ourselves: it is a sacramental, a blessed and powerful sign that is.
Sacramentals are instituted by the Church to help us to sanctify different circumstances of our lives. When used prayerfully, they offer encouragement, guidance, grace, and protection. They can ease spiritual or physical ills, they can protect us against dark powers (Eph 6,12), they can bring consolation, they can help our prayer.The Bible clearly teaches us about the Sacramentals:
- In the Old Testament, Naaman went to Elisha for a cure for his leprosy. Elisha told him, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean” (2 5:10).
- When the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet (2Kings 13:20-21).
- Numbers 5:17 states, “In an earthen vessel [the priest] shall take holy water, as well as some dust from the floor of the tabernacle and put it in the water.” Water was also used for ceremonial cleansing (Ps 16:4).
- Jesus healed the blind man using mud (Jn 9:6-12).
- The woman with haemorrhages was healed by touching Jesus’ garment (Lk 8:44).
- In Acts 19:11-12, it is recounted that when face cloths or aprons that had touched the skin of Paul and were applied to the sick, diseases were healed and evil spirits released.
Through these blessed objects spiritual, supernatural, invisible benefits are bestowed on us.
Sacramentals are used in various ways. Some can be sprinkled, some consumed, some kept as symbols, some used during prayer. You can use them in any way that makes sense for you, helps you to remember God’s presence, elevates your thoughts and mind to him, turns your heart to him. They can cast away temptation, evil thoughts, dark dreams.
For example, in moments of fear, depression, inner darkness, anxiety… why not light a blessed candle to dispel this “darkness”?!
These Sacramentals (blessed objects) are always freely available at St. Paul's, in the church and all are welcome to help themselves to them. If you want your house, car, cross, candle, or any object blessed, please talk to the Vicar.
Here are some extracts from the prayers the priest uses to bless these objects. These prayers give a good idea of what different sacramentals are intended for.
May you put to flight all the power of the enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that enemy with his apostate angels, through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In your kindness, hear our prayers and pour down the power of your blessing into this element, so that it may become an agent of divine grace. May it drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that everything that is sprinkled with this water, may be rid of all uncleanness and freed from every harm.
May the wiles of the lurking enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water, so that the health obtained by calling upon your holy name, may be made secure against all attack.
O God, Creator unconquerable, invincible King, Victor ever-glorious, you hold in check the forces bent on dominating us. Your power beats down the wicked foe. Humbly and fearfully do we pray to sanctify this water with the dew of your love.
Through the invocation of your holy name, wherever this water and salt is sprinkled, it may turn aside every attack of the unclean spirit, and dispel the terrors of the poisonous serpent. And wherever we may be, make the Holy Spirit present to us, who now implore your mercy.
O salt, creature of God, I exorcise you by the living, true, holy God, who ordered you to be poured into the water by Elisha the prophet, so that its life-giving powers might be restored.
I exorcise you so that you may become a means of salvation for believers, that you may bring health of soul and body to all who make use of you, and that you may put to flight and drive away from the places where you are sprinkled; every apparition, villainy, turn of devilish deceit, and every unclean spirit.
We humbly implore you, in your immeasurable kindness and love, to bless this salt so that it may become a source of health for the minds and bodies of all who make use of it. May it rid whatever it sprinkles of all uncleanness, and protect it from every assault of evil spirits.
O holy Lord Father almighty, we humbly beseech Thee, that by the invocation of Thy most holy name, Thou wouldst vouchsafed to bless and sanctify these candles for the health of bodies and souls.
We humbly implore Thy clemency, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless, sanctify, and kindle with the light of heavenly benediction these candles that being worthily inflamed with the holy fire of Thy most sweet charity, we may deserve to be presented in the holy temple of Thy glory.
O Lord Jesus Christ, the true light, who enlightenest every man coming into this world, pour forth Thy blessing upon these candles, and sanctify them with the light of Thy grace; and mercifully grant, that as these lights enkindled with visible fire dispel the darkness of night, so our hearts illumined by invisible fire, that is, the brightness of the Holy Spirit, may be free from the blindness of every sin; that the eye of our minds being purified, we may be able to discern what is pleasing to Thee and conducive to our salvation; so that after the perilous darkness of this life we may deserve to arrive at never-failing light.
May those who use you, with confidence in the divine power, in their lodgings, homes, or on their persons, be delivered from all perils to body and soul, and enjoy all good things. We ask this through the power and merits of our Lord and Saviour.
Protect those who will have this blessed incense in their possession from every kind of illness, injury, and danger, anything that would interfere with the wellbeing of body and soul, and so be enabled to serve you joyously and confidently in your Church.
Vouchsafe to send thy holy Angel from heaven to bless and sanctify these ashes, that they may be a wholesome remedy to all who humbly call upon thy Name.
Anyone who shall be sprinkled with these ashes for the remission of their sins, may receive health of body and salvation of soul. May they be worthy to obtain from thee the forgiveness of all their sins and the rewards promised to the penitent.
When the heads of thy servants are touched with these ashes, graciously fill them with the spirit of penitence.