Sacramental Life / Sacramental Preparation

The seven sacraments are ceremonies pointing to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God’s saving presence. Sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God’s grace. (Exerpt: site from the Franciscans and St. Anthony Messenger Press Copyright © 1996-2010)

Sacraments are outward signs, instituted by Jesus Christ to give grace. They are God’s gifts and signs of God’s presence to the worshiping community, binding it together ever more tightly and to a clearer purpose. Participation in the Sacraments is a privilege; they provide opportunities to be united to Christ in a special way.

In response to the gift of the sacraments, the members of the parish are called to be a community of faith and to provide opportunities for all members to grow in faith. At Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we take seriously our call to assist parents with their responsibility to share faith with their children and introduce the children to the sacramental life of the church. The parish provides sacramental preparation programs for children either in the parish school or in the parish religious education program. Adult Christians, who have not received the sacraments of initiation, are supported in prayer by the parish community and encouraged to enroll in the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adult) classes.

Prayerful Reflection is necessary when choosing Godparents for Baptism, Sponsors for Confirmation and Witness to a marriage. To qualify for these roles, Catholics must meet the necessary requirements and give witness to being faithful to the gospel. If Godparents, Sponsors or Witnesses are not parishioners, they must obtain a letter of eligibility from their parish.

The Sacraments

Sacrament of Baptism

Parents give life to their children. Through Baptism, the child becomes a member of the Christian community. Their lives are lived in the presence of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Christian community encourages parents to share faith with their children. To prepare for the sacrament, parents attend Pre-Jordan classes. Teens and Adults who are not baptized are invited to enroll in the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program.

BAPTISMS: Baptisms are celebrated every Sunday. The regularly scheduled time is 2:00 P.M. Pre-baptismal classes are held on the first Sunday of the month at 7:00 P.M. in St. Mary’s Hall. Only new parents or those who have not previously attended a pre-baptismal class are required to attend. Please call the Rectory to arrange for a baptism.

SPONSOR CERTIFICATES: Please telephone the rectory office in advance to request sponsor eligibility certificates for Baptism or Confirmation.
Rectory Phone: 215-348-4190

Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, we are given an opportunity to confess our sins and to accept God’s healing graces. At Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available on Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9:00 AM and Saturday evenings from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. Private confessions can be pre-arranged by scheduling an appointment with a priest.

Our Parish School and our Religious Education program assist parents to prepare their children, who are in the second grade, to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Adults who have never made their confession are encouraged to enrol in the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program.

Rectory Phone: 215-348-4190

Sacrament of Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion)

Of all the gifts God has given us, there is none as wonderful and filled with grace as the gift of the Eucharist which we celebrate at Holy Mass. We believe that during the Eucharistic prayer, at the moment of consecration, when the priest takes the bread and the cup of wine and repeats the words which Jesus Himself has commanded us to say, the elements of bread and wine are changed sacramentally, really, profoundly and miraculously into the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth, that is, Christ, Himself. (Theodore E. McCarrick Archbishop of Newark: A Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist. 1993)

We believe the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus. What an awesome gift! What then is our personal and communal response to the gift? How do we celebrate the Eucharist? How do we teach our children about this great gift? To assist parents in their role as primary educators of faith, our Parish School and our Religious Education Program prepare children in the second grade to receive the Eucharist (Holy Communion). We are all encourage to prepare ourselves to receive the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist whenever we attend Mass.

Sacrament of Confirmation

The ordinary minister of Confirmation is the Bishop. Once a year, the Bishop visits the parish and celebrates the Sacrament of Confirmation with the eighth grade young men and women who attend either Our Lady of Mount Carmel School or the Parish Religious Education Classes, have completed the required course of study and service hours.

Adults who are not confirmed participate in the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program.

Sacrament of Holy Matrimony (Marriage)

The Sacrament of Matrimony gives public witness that two people vow to give themselves to the other in the presence of God and the Christian community. Parishioners who want to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony must make arrangements with a priest in the parish at least six months prior to the date of the wedding to assure sufficient time for preparation.

Our parish Pre-Cana sessions prepare our parishioners for this sacrament.

Rectory Phone: 215-348-4190

Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

This sacrament is for the living; it is a ritual of healing. It provides special graces for the sick or those who will undergo surgery, etc. Those who wish to receive the sacrament may contact a priest to receive the Sacrament of the Sick. If a person is dying and has not received the Sacrament of the Sick, call the rectory for a priest.

Rectory Phone: 215-348-4190

Sacrament of the Holy Orders (Called to Religious Life, Priest, Sister or Brother or to the Permanent Deaconate)

It is the responsibility of the Christian Community to pray for vocations both to the Priesthood and Religious Life.

The Bishop invites men to be ordained who have conscientiously prepared for Priesthood by completing the prescribed course of study and who have actively grown in their prayer lives. The newly ordained priest promises to lead God’s people in faith, the sacraments, and in the proclamation of the Gospel.

Are you being called to a vocation to Priesthood, Religious Life: Priest, Sister or Brother or to the Permanent Deaconate? Contact a Priest, Brother, Sister or Permanent Deacon for Direction.

Rectory Phone: 215-348-4190

Sacramental Preparation Programs


Pre-Jordan: First-time parents are required to attend a one-time only class prior to the Baptism of their first child. The class should be taken at least one month prior to the Baptism date; It may be taken before the birth of a child. The class will last an hour, and couples are welcome to bring their babies. All questions will be answered regarding Baptismal procedures, including the requirements for sponsors. There is no need to register in advance for the class. The class is usually held on the first Sunday of the month at 7:00 p.m.

Check the Church Bulletin for information.

R.C.I.A “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”

This program is designed to educate and inspire those seeking to know and understand the ideas and teaching of the Catholic Church. By providing knowledge, wisdom, and the love of the community of believers, the R.C.I.A. program guides participants to the goal of full sacramental reception into the Catholic faith. Classes usually meet once a week on Thursday evenings from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Check the Church Bulletin for information.

RCIA – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: Process for people interested in finding out more about the Catholic Church.

Call any time throughout the year. 215-348-4190


Pre-Cana is a parish marriage preparation program for engaged couples who plan to be married at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A team of married couples presents a one-day workshop focused on bringing hope and awareness to the couples for the living out of their marriages commitment. Our Lady of Mount Carmel has two Pre-Cana teams; each team presents two Pre-Cana Days each year.

Couples should schedule a Pre-Cana Day when they contact the rectory to arrange for their Sacrament of Matrimony.

Parish Rectory: 215-348-4190

More Specific Information concerning Pre-Cana Instruction

Philosophy: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:7

We believe in marriage and we recognize that today’s culture makes it extremely difficult to sustain this kind of commitment. Through our Pre-Cana ministry, we work to prepare & support couples planning to marry.   We want them to know that our Pre-Cana team, representing the parish and Church as a whole, supports each couple and their marriage. We hope that our ministry bears witness to the sacramental qualities of marriage and that the spiritual component of our relationships has brought our marriages strength, special graces and resilience.

Goal of Pre-Cana Day: Have the participating couples develop hope, insight & awareness

> Awareness of strengths, differences, challenges that each of you bring to relationship.

> Insight into behaviors, history, values & how they will impact on their marriage.

> Hope for a future happy and long-lasting marriage—a strong relationship that will thrive in times of joy and hardship, gain deeper intimacy as a couple, and promote your spiritual development as an individual.

Details about the Day:  Our Pre-Cana program is a one-day format, held 2-3 times per year—typically late fall (October/November), winter (January/February) and Spring.  We have presentations on Partnership, Communication/Conflict Resolution, Forgiveness, Lifestyles, and Spirituality.  Each presenting Team couple shares their personal stories of overcoming challenges and struggles and how they have strengthened their own marriages in the process.  Each presentation includes group interaction, personal reflection and most importantly, exercises for the engaged couple.  We also hold a general Group Discussion during which the engaged couples identify specific challenges they currently face and receive feedback from both the team couples and other engaged couples.

Details about our Teams:  Our team of 5 couples meets once a month to prepare for our Pre-Cana Days September through June.  We also hold a family social in July and a Christmas party in December.  Through the activities of our Pre-Cana Days and our regular meetings, we develop close connections with each other and support each other during the ups and downs of our marriages and family lives.  Through these connections we model for the engaged couples the importance of surrounding yourselves with other couples who believe as strongly in marriage.

Interested in Joining Pre-Cana?   We are seeking couples married 5-15 years, to join us in preparing engaged couples for their marriages—not just their wedding days. No special skills are needed. Simply bring your willingness to learn and positively influence other Pre-Cana Team couples. You will share aspects of your marriage to teach engaged couples about real marriage partnership. In return for your time, you will find your own marriage can be strengthened and supported. We recognize that marriage and family keep you busy. So we are flexible about accommodating your interests, what you want to share from your marriage, and in scheduling meetings and managing child care needs (if applicable) for when you are volunteering.

Contact Information:   Liz & Jamie Wilson at 267-981-1749 or email

Parish Rectory @ 215-348-4190