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170 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

throughout our journey of faith. Fruitful reception of the Sacraments

presupposes the faith of the one who receives them. This faith is pre-

ceded by the faith of the Church (cf. CCC, no. 1124). We grow in holi-

ness, which is both personal and communal—a matter of personal sanc-

tity and of unity with the mission and holiness of the Church.

Jesus gave us the Sacraments to call us to worship God, to build up

the Church, to deepen our faith, to show us how to pray, to connect us

with the living Tradition of the Church, and to sanctify us. While God

works primarily through the Sacraments, he also touches us through

the community of the Church, through the lives of holy people, through

prayer, spirituality, and acts of love. But “for believers, the sacraments of

the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. . . . The fruit of the sacra-

mental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers of

the divine nature” (CCC, no. 1129).


Liturgy is an action of the whole Christ. . . . Liturgical

services are not private functions but are celebrations of

the Church.

—CCC, nos. 1136, 1140

When it comes to celebrating the Sacraments, there are four questions that

need our attention: Who celebrates the liturgy? How is the liturgy cel-

ebrated? When is the liturgy celebrated? Where is the liturgy celebrated?

Who Celebrates?

The entire Body of Christ, animated by the Holy Spirit, celebrates the lit-

urgy. The celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized. Liturgy

is not a matter of private prayer, but a public act of worship by the

faithful gathered together by the power of the Spirit under the author-

ity of the bishop, their teacher and shepherd. “Mother Church earnestly

desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active

participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very