Sacraments
 

Baptism

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 Catholic.

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 Sacraments.
 

 

Confirmation

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:

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Candidates, parents & sponsors attend an orientation meeting in Sept. and a Mass of Commitment of the 2nd year of preparation.

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The candidate participates in an interview to explore the person's readiness for Confirmation.

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Attend a 6 session course on Confirmation preparation.

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Attend 2 courses in the High School Religious Education Program (for those in public school).

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Attend 2 seminars on current Church topics over a two year period.

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Make a commitment of service. (An individual or group service in 10th or 11th grade.)

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Participate in a Confirmation retreat.

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Attend the rehearsal for the Confirmation ceremony.

 

 

Marriage

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:

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Call the rectory at least 12 months before the intended marriage date.

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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 person.

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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.

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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.

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A recent Baptismal Certificate is required from the Catholic party parties. A Baptismal certificate is also required of a Non-Catholic Christian.

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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 priest.

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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 illness.

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 sacraments.

Hospital chaplains have the responsibility of anointing the sick who are patients in their hospital.
 

 

 


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