Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church

A Sacrament is an outward sign of God’s love,
given to us by Christ, to give each one of us God’s grace.

Sacrament of Baptism:

Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, in particular, providing to a baptized person a gift of faith, the door to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Baptism, along with life, is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. Baptismal preparation for the parents is required.

Infant Baptism:

Baptism dates are regularly scheduled and dates can be obtained from the parish office.  Parents are required to attend a Baptism preparation meeting in the Church Hall, prior to having their child baptized. Proof of Roman Catholic Baptism of the parent(s) is required (baptism certificate)Please phone the parish office for further information.

Baptism of school age children:

Several weeks of preparation classes is provided for school age children prior to Baptism. Please contact the parish office for dates.

Adult Baptism (RCIA program):

Adults who are considering conversion to the Catholic faith must be adequately prepared. Preparation is held through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program. This weekly program begins in September and concludes at the Easter Vigil, when those who have been preparing are welcomed into the fullness of the Catholic faith.
To register please contact the parish office during weekdays 519-621-2013 or email

Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession):

Available weekly on  Saturdays: 4:00 pm to 4:45 pm;
Sundays: 8:00 am to 8:45 am and 10:15 am to 10:45 am

Tuesday 8:30 am to 9:30 am
Wednesday 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm
Thursday 8:30 am to 9:30 am
Friday 8:30 am to 9:30 am

According to the Church’s command, after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation to faithfully confess serious sins at least once a year. However, the Church encourages Catholics to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance at least monthly throughout our lifetime so that we can benefit from the graces obtained through reception of this sacrament.

This sacrament reconciles us with God and joins us to Him in intimate friendship. It also reconciles us with the Church and revitalizes the community life which we have weakened by our sin.

Children must be prepared simultaneously for the two sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. The universal law of the Church states that First Communion is to be preceded by sacramental confession.

The basis for this preparation is not so much the state of sin in which a child may be but rather the formative and pastoral aim to educate to the true Christian spirit of reconciliation and penance. Through the Sacrament of Confession we grow in self-knowledge, self-control, the understanding of sin and the necessity of asking for pardon from God.

Sacrament of Holy Communion (Eucharist):

The mystery of our faith:

At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His disciples, This is my body…This is my blood. At every Mass, the event of the Last Supper is celebrated.

Christ has died

The Eucharist commemorates the Lord’s passion and death. Through it the Lord shows us a love which goes to the end; a love which knows no measure.

Christ is risen

During the Eucharist we celebrate also the resurrection of Christ, which crowned His sacrifice on the cross. Saint Ambrose reminded the newly initiated that the Eucharist applies the event of the resurrection to their lives: Today Christ is yours, yet each day he rises again for you.

 Christ will come again

In celebrating the Eucharist, we express our anticipation in joyful hope of the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. This hope, to be with our Lord one day, compels us to proclaim: Come, Lord Jesus!

Receiving Communion:
Church Law requires Catholics to attend Mass each weekend and on Holy Days of Obligation, which in Canada are Christmas, Easter, and the Feast of Mary, Mother of God (January 1st).

Celebration of First Communion:

It is the responsibility of the parents to be the first teachers of the faith for their children. Attending Mass as a family re-enforces their faith and understanding of God.
First Communion is celebrated annually with our grade 2 students in the Spring. (April/May)   Only Catholic students who have been properly prepared can receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Sacrament of Confirmation:

After receiving Baptism and Eucharist, through the Sacrament of Confirmation we are brought into full membership within the Catholic Church. We are strengthened in faith by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When choosing to be Confirmed baptized Catholics express their desire to take a more active role in their faith community. Confirmed Catholics are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and action.

A sponsor for this sacrament is ideally a Godparent from the Baptism. However, another suitable person can also be chosen. The Sponsor must be a baptized, confirmed Roman Catholic, sixteen years or older and is intended to be a model of faith. Therefore the Sponsor must be practicing his/her faith. A Sponsor can be either male or female. Parents cannot be Sponsors for their own children.

Sacrament of Holy Orders:

This sacrament is conferred upon men who, after years of theological studies and pastoral experience, are ordained to preside at liturgical and sacramental functions and to be shepherds to God’s people.

An ordained minister possesses the authority to act in the power of the person of Christ Himself.

There are three forms of this sacrament: deacon, priest and bishop.

Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, (or Ordination), the Ordained vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel, and by providing other means to holiness.

The Eucharist is the centre of the ordained men’s life and ministry. He is ordained to offer pastoral service, proclaim God’s word, and be the minister of the sacraments.

Related Links:
Hamilton Diocese Vocations

Sacrament of Matrimony:

The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. This covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.

The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that makes the marriage. If there is no true consent, there is no marriage.

Church Law dictates that the normal place in which a marriage should be celebrated is in the parish of the bride or groom.

People who live outside the parish boundaries, but have registered with St. Ambrose Church, support the Church, and attend Mass regularly.

Wedding of couples outside of the parish boundaries:
Either the bride or the groom must be a practicing Catholic. Couples who reside outside our parish boundaries must obtain the permission of their own parish priest.

For further information regarding the Sacrament of Marriage at St. Ambrose please contact the Parish Office.

Marriage Preparation course is mandatory for all couples.

Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick:

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is celebrated with those who are seriously ill, those who are preparing for surgery, and the elderly. This is a sacrament of healing meant to cure the person both spiritually and physically while at the same time reassuring the person of God’s love and mercy. The preferred place for celebrating this sacrament is in the church with family and members of the Church community present. Celebrating the sacrament before entering the hospital means the ill person can better appreciate the prayers and symbols of the rite.

Viaticum: For those who are about to die, the Church, in addition to the Anointing of the Sick, offers the Eucharist as viaticum – spiritual nourishment for their journey home. It is best to contact a priest as soon as possible so that the priest can attend to the person promptly, rather than wait until the last minute.

Mass of Christian Burial (funerals)

When the death of a loved one occurs, it is a time of great sadness for loss in your life.  The Church is here to assist you and your family in your time of need.  The Catholic Church prays for the deceased at a Catholic Funeral Mass.   Please contact the parish office should you have any questions about arranging or pre-arranging a funeral.

link to the Catholic Cemeteries of Hamilton Diocese

Message From the Bishop
My Dear Friends:

We have a rich tradition in the Diocese of Hamilton of burial in cemeteries owned and operated by the Church. Our Catholic cemeteries are places of prayer and reflection, where we come to celebrate the lives of our deceased family members, and to express our hope that they have been reunited with Christ in heaven.

It gives me a feeling of great contentment and pride knowing that the deceased faithful of our Diocese are cared for in such beautiful places. It is our hope and intent that the appearance of our cemeteries is a reflection of the faith of the people buried in them.

I encourage you to visit our Catholic cemeteries to pray for those who have gone before us, so that they too, might also pray for us on our earthly pilgrimage.

May God bless you and your loved ones.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary Immaculate,

Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton