Infants and children who have not yet reached the “age of reason” (usually about 7 years old) may be baptized at the request of their parents. If you would like to have your infant baptized into the Church, the first step is to contact Father Joe (office# 254-582-3092). Father will meet with you a couple of times for an initial interview and a brief teaching on the sacrament of baptism. Godparents should also attend the teaching session on baptism, either with Father Joe or at their own parish. If completed elsewhere, a letter should be provided indicating that the godparent has completed a baptism preparation class. Godparents must be practicing Catholics, and they also will need to provide a letter of good standing from their pastor.
Adults and Children who have reached the “age of reason” (usually about 7 years old) enter the Church though a process of conversion and initiation that we call the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). In RCIA, the individual will undergo a period of prayer and instruction before being fully initiated at the Easter Vigil Mass (the night before Easter Sunday). The individual in RCIA will prepare to receive three sacraments at the Easter Vigil: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist.
After baptism, a Catholic is not yet fully initiated. He/she must receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. The Diocese of Fort Worth normally confirms Catholics age 15 or older. Confirmation is not a “graduation” from religious education; it is a grace that spiritually strengthens the Catholic to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in the world. Confirmation can only be received once, and it is typically administered by the bishop. Our parish’s confirmation Mass will be in late August or early September, depending on the bishop’s schedule.
For teenagers: Beginning in the summer of 2019, an intensive one-week sacrament preparation course will be offered to prepare teenagers for confirmation. The teens will also be expected to attend a weekend retreat during the summer. This preparation course will only be available to those who have already been catechized in our parish Religious Education program or at home. If you belong to another parish, you may not go through confirmation prep at our parish without the expressed, written permission from your pastor and the approval of Father Joe.
For adults: If you are a baptized Catholic but not confirmed, please contact Father Joe to begin preparation for the sacrament. Typically, adult Catholics receive confirmation on Pentecost Sunday.
Eucharist (Holy Communion)
The Eucharist is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. Jesus gave authority to his priests to miraculously change the bread and wine into his body and blood at Mass. He also commanded his followers to eat and drink his body and blood. Our senses cannot detect a change in the bread and wine, but our faith in Jesus’ promise causes us to believe that they truly have changed into his body and blood.
Receiving the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life! We have the opportunity to receive the Eucharist at each and every Mass. The Catholic Church throughout the world celebrates Mass every single day. However, due to the small number of priests in our area, Father Joe is able to offer Mass at Nativity parish every Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 7am, and Sunday at 10am.
Catholics are encouraged to receive the Eucharist frequently, and obligated to receive it once per year, during the Easter season. A Catholic can only receive the Eucharist if he/she is free from serious sin and has been to confession in the past 12 months.
Non-Catholics are not permitted to receive the Eucharist in a Catholic church. This is not because we are trying to be mean or exclusive! It is because the Eucharist is a sign of union, and many non-Catholics are not united with us in our beliefs about the body and blood of Christ. Furthermore, non-Catholics are not united with us under the Pope’s authority. Even if one does believe what Catholics believe about the Eucharist, he/she may not receive it yet.
If you are not Catholic, and you wish to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, please speak with Father Joe about the possibility of becoming Catholic. We want you to be part of our family! For more information about becoming Catholic, click here.
For those who have already been baptized, Penance is the sacrament by which our sins are forgiven. We all sin from time to time, and we need to be forgiven of those sins in order to remain in a healthy relationship with God.
We know from the Bible that God gave authority to his priests to forgive sins in his name. That’s why we confess our sins to a priest—because this is the way that God has set up for us to be forgiven. He knew that we need to hear the words, “I absolve you” so that we can be absolutely certain that God has forgiven us.
If you’re scared of confessing your sins, you are not alone! Most people are reluctant to confess. The feelings of shame or guilt that you experience are exactly what God wants to free you from. The priest is never, under any circumstances, allowed to repeat anything you tell him in the sacrament of penance.
Catholics are expected to go to confession at least once per year, during the season of Lent. If you are aware of a serious sin on your conscience, you should not receive the Holy Eucharist until you first confess your sins to a priest.
If it’s been a long time since you have been to confession, don’t worry about not knowing what to say. The priest will help you. The main thing to remember is to confess all the sins you can remember, and to be truly sorry for your sins.
The sacrament of Penance is offered every Thursday at 6:00pm in the church.
Anointing of the Sick
This sacrament is intended for spiritual healing and forgiveness of sins, though it can sometimes bring about physical healing if God wills it for the good of the patient. The sacrament of anointing is no longer called “Last Rites.” It can be administered to a baptized Catholic of any age, whenever he/she is seriously ill, advanced in age, or about to undergo surgery. Only Catholics can receive anointing, and only priests can administer this sacrament.
If you or a loved one would like the sacrament of Anointing, please contact Father Joe as soon as possible. The parish office number is 254-582-3092. Please do not wait until the moment of death to call a priest—he may not be available in an emergency. If the patient’s condition worsens, call father immediately. Please call sooner rather than later.
In Holy Matrimony, a man and a woman commit to an intimate and exclusive relationship. This relationship is life-long, and may never be broken by any human power.
Matrimony is intended to be a fruitful union, ordered towards the raising of children. Spouses commit to being open to life and to receive children lovingly from God.
Baptized Catholics are expected to be married in the Catholic Church—that means that the wedding must take place in a church building and performed by a priest or deacon with witnesses present. The free exchange of vows is what forms the marriage bond, a bond that can only be broken by death. In Heaven, the entire Church will be married to Jesus Christ for all eternity. That is why marriage only lasts while we are alive here on earth.
If you are engaged to be married, please contact Father Joe. The parish office number is 254-582-3092. Couples can expect to go through an extensive marriage preparation process that usually takes about six months. Before you pick a date for your wedding, please contact father to begin preparing for marriage.
Holy Orders is the sacrament that ordains a man for service as a deacon, priest, or bishop in the Catholic Church. God calls many young men to be his deacons and priests, and he may be calling you. If you desire to save souls through the power of the sacraments and preaching the gospel, you just may have a call from God. If you desire to serve God as his priest, talk it over with a trusted friend or family member, and let Father Joe know. He can help you “discern,” or discover how God is calling you to serve him. Father will not pressure you to be a priest, but he will offer guidance and help you to pray about it.
When God calls us, he always calls us to serve him as his free sons, and so the decision to be his priest is never forced upon us. Rather, a priest freely chooses to serve out of love for God and his Church.
There are many opportunities throughout the year to meet other young men who are considering the priesthood or diaconate. Contact Father Joe to find out when and where the next gathering will be.