We are all called by God. In fact, we are called at many levels, progressively throughout our lives. We are called into life, into human dignity and responsibility, and into certain relationships, communities and tasks. Most importantly of all, we are called into an intimate, sacred communion with God that does not always come naturally but frequently must be sought and cultivated within the grace, or special outreach, of God.
This call to act is a basic assumption to our sacramental activity and is reflected by our sacramental theology. Therefore “vocation” is a key theme of Christian life, and a key component of the way we think about sacraments. Sacraments are tangible, visible, and grace filled expressions of our growing relationship with God.
The most basic calling or vocation of a Christian is the call into discipleship of Jesus within a community of disciples. Therefore the most basic sacrament of vocation is actually baptism, or more accurately, initiation. The sequence of: Baptism, Confirmation, first Eucharist are all part of Initiation, which, formally accepts a person into the membership and life of the church. It is, therefore, the solemn celebration simultaneously of the divine invitation, of the response of the individual, and of the welcome of the community. For this meaning, this community is both the local gathering of disciples of Jesus, and the great universal People of God - the worldwide church.
Good Shepherd Parish celebrates the seven Sacraments that have long been part of the Catholic tradition. The Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, and Anointing of the Sick are open to everyone who desires to receive them. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is administered by a Bishop of the Jurisdiction and has specific requirements that must be met. We invite you to contact Deacon Judy Rodriguez or any of the clergy if you are interested in receiving any of these Sacraments.
At Good Shepherd Parish we look upon the sacrament of Baptism as the joy-filled rite of welcoming a person into our parish community as well as the whole Christian community. Consistent with a number of Christian traditions, we believe that baptism is the sacrament through which individuals signify their commitment to a life-long relationship with God through Jesus by a journey of commitment and discipleship. Having been joined to Christ and his body, the church, the newly baptized person is then identified as a Christian. Infants, children and adults are prepared for the reception of Baptism on an individual basis. Baptisms generally are administered during the weekly parish celebration of the Mass.
Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, the church celebrates the call of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives. We are anointed with oil as a special consecration and our desire to continue our journey as Christians. This includes being a witness to our faith in the way we live. This Sacrament signifies an acceptance of Christ, the teachings of Jesus and openness to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We live out our faith and let our lives shine with the joy and love of God. We grow through communion with and service to others. At Good Shepherd Parish, infants, children, and adults are prepared for the reception of Confirmation on an individual basis.
Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the sacrament given to us by Christ for his continual remembrance and for our spiritual nourishment. The Eucharist is a unifying Sacrament that transcends denominational divisions. It unites us in a special way to Christ and to each other, nourishing and deepening our relationship with him. It also encourages us to reach out to those around us- the bond we share with each other has its foundation in this Sacrament.
At Good Shepherd we believe that the Sacraments belong to all Christians. Therefore, we welcome everyone, regardless of denomination, to take part in our Liturgy and to receive Communion.
In order to welcome all to the table, we celebrate the Eucharist with both consecrated wine and grape juice, and both wheat and gluten free bread.
We believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, that Jesus becomes present to us in the consecrated bread, wine, and grape juice, recognizing Him in the breaking of the bread, as did the early disciples on the road to Emmaus.
For many, receiving Communion for the first time is an occasion surrounded by great celebration with the parish community, family and friends. For others it is an intimate gift experienced on a personal level. For all of us at Good Shepherd it is the Gift that brings us, and keeps us together.
Reconciliation—striving for communion with God and one another—is the primary ministry of the Church. Reconciliation is a very intimate experience. It is the external expression of the interior transformation that conversion has brought about in us.
The conversion process begins with a realization that all is not right in our lives. Prompted by a faith response to God's call, conversion initiates a desire for change. Change is the essence of conversion.
Reconciliation plays a crucial role in contemporary society. The prevalence of racism, sexism, nationalism and consumerism indicates the need for reconciliation in our world, in our country, in our local community—even in our parish. If we are to be a sacrament—a visible sign—of reconciliation, we must actively pursue those works of justice and mercy that will make this reconciliation possible.
At Good Shepherd, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is open to anyone who wishes to receive it. General absolution is given at each Mass and individually by appointment.
Good Shepherd Parish seeks to affirm for all couples the recognition and blessing of their union. The sacrament of matrimony is unusual in that it is the only sacrament in which the persons administering the sacrament are the same persons receiving it. The couple confers the sacrament to each other. The function of the priest or deacon is to be the official witness of the church and if applicable, the state.
Good Shepherd Parish supports the holy union of couples and their families regardless of prior marital status, gender of partners or diversity of families. Every family is valuable and every marriage deserves support for spiritual, emotional, sexual and economic stability.
Anointing of the Sick
In addition to the recorded healings performed by Jesus in the New Testament, the following words from the fifth chapter of the Letter of the Apostle James form the basis for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick: "Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of Christ. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and Christ will make them well. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
The clergy of Good Shepherd parish administer the Anointing of the Sick on an individual basis according to the individual person’s needs. This sacrament provides spiritual aid and comfort, including forgiveness of sins to a person who will be having surgery, or is seriously ill. Also, the sacrament is offered to the parish community during Mass on the last Sunday of each month in a communal anointing.
Called from the faith Community, women and men answer this call of the Spirit to serve among God’s people as deacons, priests, and bishops through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
It is through this Sacrament that these women and men receive the grace to accept the responsibility to guide and serve the faith community and administer the Sacraments. Following the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, our clergy protect and care for the faith community from which they are called to serve.
Women and men, single, married or partnered, are encouraged to follow the call of the Spirit to receive this Sacrament.