The Sacrament of Baptism is administered on the 2nd
Sunday of the month after 11:00 a.m. Mass, and the 3rd Saturday of the
month during the 4:30 p.m. Mass. Special arrangements can be made for
other times. First time parents are required to attend a Baptismal
Preparation Session, which is held on the first Friday of every month at
8 p.m. Couples in our Baptismal Preparation Program host these session
in their homes.
Baptism is administered by one of the parish clergy. You must be a
member of St. Stephen's Parish. Out-of-town baptisms can only be
performed with the permission of the Pastor of the parish in which you
belong. Since the child is being initiated into the Catholic Faith, it
is expected that the parents (or the Catholic parent) are practicing
their faith by attending weekly Mass. If there is some doubt concerning
this matter, one of the parish priests will discuss this with the
parents at length. To qualify as a Godparent, one must be attending
weekly Mass, have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and
the Eucharist, and, if married, be in a marriage recognized by the
Catholic Church. Godparents from other parishes must receive a Letter of
Recommendation from their parish priest. One Non-Catholic Christian is
permitted to serve as a witness, provided they are not a former
Call the rectory to make arrangements 3 to 4 weeks in advance. One of
the parish clergy will gather the proper information about the baptism.
1st Reconciliation & Communion
The Sacrament of First Reconciliation and First
Eucharist are usually prepared for in second and third grades. The
preparation for these sacraments is separated by six to twelve months to
allow parents, teachers and children an unhurried time period.
Sacramental preparation takes place in Religious Education classes and
in Catholic School Religion lessons. Parents, guardians, or sponsors of
the candidates are expected to enlarge on classroom instruction with at
home preparation. The adult Catholic preparing the child is expected to
give an example of regular reception of the sacraments. Children
preparing for these sacraments are expected to attend Mass regularly.
Special Children Liturgies are offered as learning experiences and
introduction to worship. Teaching materials are provided through the
Religious Education Office. After the preparation is completed readiness
of the candidate to receive either sacrament is determined by the
parents, teachers, school principal, coordinator, and priests.
Preparation is given those children who are older and wish to receive
The Confirmation preparation process begins in
grade 10, but reception of the sacrament is for those in the 11th grade
or older. A candidate must have been baptized in the Catholic Church or
have been validly baptized in another Christian denomination and
received into Full Communion in the Catholic Church. If baptized at St.
Stephen's, the certificate is not needed. The family of the candidate
must be registered at the parish, or the candidate can register
independently. A candidate must choose a sponsor. The sponsor must be a
confirmed practicing Catholic who is at least 16 years of age. The
sponsor may not be the father or mother of the candidate. We urge the
candidate to choose someone who is a good role model and who lives close
by so he or she can participate in the program with the candidate and
lend spiritual support to the candidate. A candidate may choose a
Confirmation name. This name must be the name of a canonized saint. The
candidate will write a paragraph on that saint. Prior to the Rite of
Confirmation, the following should be completed:
Candidates, parents & sponsors attend an
orientation meeting in Sept. and a Mass of Commitment of the 2nd
year of preparation.
The candidate participates in an interview
to explore the person's readiness for Confirmation.
Attend a 6 session course on Confirmation
Attend 2 courses in the High School Religious
Education Program (for those in public school).
Attend 2 seminars on current Church topics
over a two year period.
Make a commitment of service. (An
individual or group service in 10th or 11th grade.)
Participate in a Confirmation retreat.
Attend the rehearsal for the Confirmation
The Sacrament of Marriage is administered on Friday
evenings and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.. Diocesan
regulations forbid marriage ceremonies in other locations besides the
church or on Sundays or Holydays of Obligation. Either the bride or the
groom must be a member of St. Stephen's Parish. Couples who wish to be
married in the Church must:
Call the rectory at least 12 months before
the intended marriage date.
Arrange an interview with one of the parish
priests. If the couple has a preference for the celebrant of
their marriage, they should make the appointment with that
The priest will set the date for the
marriage at that time. No marriage will be scheduled until this
interview has taken place. No marriage dates or openings will be
given over the phone.
If one or both of the parties has been
married before, the Church forbids the scheduling of a marriage
until the status of the previous marriage has been clarified by
the Church. Please consult one of the priests about this.
A recent Baptismal Certificate is required
from the Catholic party parties. A Baptismal certificate is also
required of a Non-Catholic Christian.
After the interview, couples will be
expected to attend our Sponsor-Couple Program, or an Engaged
Encounter, which is a weekend retreat for engaged couples
lasting from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon. Other
programs are available and can be arranged through the parish
After the preparation, call the priest to
arrange a 2nd interview. The actual ceremony will be discussed
at this time.
If one party is not Catholic, a decision will be
made whether to perform the ceremony during the Mass. It is permissible
under certain conditions for a Catholic marrying a Non-Catholic to have
this marriage performed in a Non-Catholic church with a minister other
than a priest, and have this marriage recorded as a Catholic Marriage.
The marriage of a Catholic and a Non-Christian also has special
requirements. The priest can discuss this matter with you. All of
the above conditions must still be followed.
Anointing of the Sick
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is
administered upon request to anyone who is in need of healing. This
usually includes anyone who has undergone or who will undergo an
operation, anyone with a chronic condition (e.g. diabetes, etc.), anyone
who will be in the hospital for an extended period of time, and those
among the elderly who feel their age has affected their health.
The Sacrament of Anointing is offered every 1st Saturday after the 9 am
Mass. It is also celebrated once a year at the Riverwood Nursing Home
here on the Island. One can be anointed every few months for the same
In the past, this sacrament was called the "Last Rites", due to the fact
that it was given only to the dying. However, this does not reflect the
correct theology and purpose of the sacrament, and is no longer called
"Last Rites." If a person is dying, there are special prayers that are
said either in addition to or instead of the Sacrament of the Anointing
of the Sick.
All Western New York hospitals have chaplains for emergencies. All
Catholic hospitals have permanent chaplains for visitation and the other
Hospital chaplains have the responsibility of anointing the sick who are
patients in their hospital.