Sacrament of Baptism
"In Baptism every Christian personally meets him; he is inserted into the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection and receives a new life, which is the life of God. What a great gift and what a great responsibility!" - Pope John Paul II, Homily Baptism of the Lord, 2003
Jesus became man to bring us into union with his Father. He said no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is first born of "water and the Spirit" (John 3:5)-this refers to baptism.
Through baptism we are born again, but this time on a spiritual level instead of a physical level. We are washed in the bath of rebirth (Titus 3:5). We are baptized into Christ's death and therefore share in His Resurrection (Romans 6:3-7).
Baptism cleanses us of sins and brings the Holy Spirit and His grace into our souls (Acts 2:38, 22:16). And the apostle Peter is perhaps the most blunt of all: "Baptism now saves you" (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is the gateway into the Church.
At Epiphany Parish, Baptisms are usually celebrated on Sundays after the 9 am Mass. Parishioners are asked to call the Parish Office to schedule the Baptism.
All parents wanting to baptize a child are asked to meet with Deacon Mark Cleary .
On the Anniversary of Baptism, the Faithful receive a Plenary Indulgence, under the usual conditions, if they renew the Promises originally made on their behalf.
Baptism for adults is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
More information about baptism can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1213-1284)
The Holy Eucharist
"The Eucharist is the center of parish life, and particularly of the Sunday celebration. Since the unity of the Church is born from the encounter with the Lord, the great care given to adoration and celebration of the Eucharist, enabling those who participate in it to experience the beauty of Christ's mystery is no secondary matter." - Pope Benedict XVI, Address to a Pastoral Convention, 2009
See also Pope Benedict XVI, The Sacrament of Charity, 2007
The Sacrament of the Eucharist
Once we become members of Christ's family, He does not let us go hungry, but feeds us with His own Body and Blood through the Holy Eucharist.
In the Old Testament, as they prepared for their journey in the wilderness, God commanded His people to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts, so the Angel of Death would pass by their homes. Then they ate the lamb to seal their covenant with God.
This lamb prefigured Jesus. He is the real "Lamb of God," Who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Through Jesus we enter into a New Covenant with God (Luke 22:20), Who protects us from eternal death. God's Old Testament people ate the Passover lamb. Now we must eat the lamb that is the Eucharist. Jesus said, "unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you have no life within you" (John 6:53).
At the Last Supper He took bread and wine and said, "Take and eat. This is My body...This is My blood which will be shed for you" (Mark 14:22-24). In this way Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the sacrificial meal Catholics consume at each Mass.
The Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross occurred "once for all;" it cannot be repeated (Hebrews 9;28). Christ does not "die again" during Mass, but the very same sacrifice that occurred on Calvary is made present on the altar. That's why the Mass is not "another" sacrifice, but a participation in the same, once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Paul reminds us that the bread and the wine really become, by a miracle of God's grace, the actual Body and Blood of Jesus: "Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1Corinthians 11:27-29).
After the consecration of the bread and wine, no bread or wine remains on the altar. Only Jesus Himself, under the appearance of bread and wine remains.
At Epiphany Parish, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is typically received in the second grade after two years of preparation through the Religious Education Program or through our Catholic grade school. Home School families are free to follow formation materials approved by the Diocese and then incorporate their children in our parish sacramental celebration.
To receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the first time as an adult or older child, please consult the pastor so that we can help facilitate this moment of grace.
Children making their First Holy Communion, and all who gather for the celebration, receive a Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions.
More information about the Holy Eucharist can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1322-1419).
The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
"The sacrament of penance is the primary way of obtaining forgiveness and the remission of serious sin committed after baptism." - Pope John Paul II,Reconciliation and Penance, 1984
Sometimes on our journey toward the heavenly promised land we stumble and fall into sin. God is always ready to lift us up and to restore us to grace filled fellowship with him. He does this through the Sacrament of Penance (which is also known as confession or reconciliation, each term emphasizing a different element of the Sacrament).
Jesus gave His apostles power and authority to reconcile us to the Father. They received Jesus' own power to forgive sins when he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained" (John 20:22-23).
Paul notes that "all this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation...We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us" (2Corinthians 5:18-20). Through confession to a priest, God's minister, we have our sins forgiven, and we receive grace to help us resist future temptations.
At Epiphany Parish, the Sacrament of Penance is typically received in the second grade after two years of preparation through the Religious Education Program or through our Catholic grade school. Home School families are free to follow diocesan approved formation materials in preparation for this Sacrament.
Receiving the Sacrament of the Reconciliation for the first time as an adult is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. For older children who need to make their first reconciliation please see the pastor so that this wonderful experience of God's mercy can be well planned.
More information about confession can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1422-1498).
One's Dying Moment
The Church's floodgates of grace are opened regularly in our lives, but broken off the hinges at the time of death. "An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned."
Paragraph 12 of the Manual of Indulgences: - "A priest who administers the sacraments to someone in danger of death should not fail to impart the apostolic blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached."
"If a priest is unavailable, Holy Mother Church benevolently grants to the Christian faithful, who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime; in such a case the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence."
"In this latter case, the use of a crucifix or a cross in obtaining the plenary indulgence is commendable."
The three usual conditions for acquiring a plenary indulgence are Confession, Eucharist, and prayer for the Pope.
The Sacrament of Confirmation
"Being 'sealed with the Spirit' means not being afraid to stand up for Christ, letting the truth of the Gospel permeate the way we see, think and act, as we work for the triumph of the civilization of love." - Benedict XVI, Message for World Youth Day, 2008
God strengthens our souls also through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Even though Jesus' disciples received grace before his Resurrection, on Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to strengthen them with new graces for the difficult work ahead. Then they went out and preached the Gospel fearlessly and carried out the mission Christ had given them. Later, they laid hands on others to strengthen them as well (Acts 8:14-17). Through Confirmation you too are strengthened to meet the spiritual challenges in your life.
The Sacrament of Confirmation completes our Baptismal graces, and fully initiates us into the discipleship of Christ and His Church. Our hope is that sacramental formation within our Parish will prepare our youth to receive all the graces the Holy Spirit wants to give them.
It is critical that our youth are adequately prepared to receive the abundant graces found in the Sacrament of Confirmation. At Epiphany Parish, Confirmation formation takes place in our at the 8th Grade level. Home School families are free to follow formation materials approved by the Diocese and then incorporate their children in our parish sacramental celebration.
To receive the Sacrament of Confirmation for the first time as an adult, please contact the pastor so that we can help prepare you for this grace filled moment. Typically adults in need of Confirmation will join our adults involved with RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) at the Easter Vigil.
More information about Confirmation can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1285-1321).
The Sacrament of Matrimony
"As experience testifies, whole civilizations and the cohesiveness of peoples depend above all on the human quality of their families. For this reason the duty in the apostolate towards the family acquires an incomparable social value. The Church, for her part, is deeply convinced of it, knowing well that 'the path to the future passes through the family'." - Pope John Paul II,The Lay Members of Christ's Faithful, 1988
Most people are called to the married life rather than to the religious life or to life as a single person. Through the Sacrament of Matrimony, God gives special graces to help married couples with life's difficulties, especially to help them raise their children as loving followers of Christ.
Marriage always involves three parties: the bride, the groom, and God. When two Christians receive the Sacrament of Matrimony, God is with them, witnessing and blessing their marriage covenant. For Catholics, God does this through the priest or deacon who presides at the wedding as the Church's witness.
A consummated sacramental marriage is permanent; only death can break it (Mark 10:1-12, Romans 7:2-3, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11). This holy union is a living symbol of the unbreakable relationship between Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Preparation for Marriage
Please read and respond as directed to the Epiphany Marriage Policy. At Epiphany, couples planning to marry are encouraged to make arrangements at least six months prior to the wedding date. Contact the pastor for more information and to request a date. The Diocese requires formation classes for all couple preparing for marriage.
More information about matrimony can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1601-1666).
The Sacrament of Holy Orders
"With a heart filled with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ, I repeat that the Eucharist 'is the principal and central raison d'être of the sacrament of priesthood, which effectively came into being at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist'." - Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003.
All of Christ's faithful share in a common priesthood through baptism. From among them, the Church calls and ordains men to share specially in Christ's priesthood. In the Old Covenant, even though Israel was a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6), the Lord called certain men to a special priestly ministry (Exodus 19:22). In the New Covenant, even though Christians are a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9), Jesus calls certain men to a special priestly ministry (Romans 15:15-16).
This Sacrament is called Holy Orders. Through it priests are ordained and thus empowered to serve the Church (2 Timothy 1:5-7) as pastors, teachers, and spiritual fathers who heal, feed, and strengthen God's people—most importantly through preaching and the administration of the Sacraments.
At Epiphany Parish, young men who would like to learn more about the priesthood should feel free to visit with the pastor. The Diocese has an annual retreat for those discerning a priestly vocation called Emmaus Days, in two sessions (for those aged 18+ and for younger men). The Sacrament of the Holy Orders is celebrated in Peoria by Bishop Daniel Jenky.
More information about Holy Orders can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1536-1600).
A Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly assist a priest's first Mass, and to the priest celebrating his first Mass under the usual conditions.
Current Epiphany Seminarian
Nathan attended Epiphany Catholic School and then Normal Community High School. Becoming an active member of Epiphany’s LifeTeen program, “I was blessed to develop a real passion for the faith and an understanding of how it can be integrated into daily life,” he said.
After graduating as valedictorian from Normal Community High School in 2012, Hopper went to Illinois State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick
The Anointing of the Sick, for its part, unites the sick with Christ's self-offering for the salvation of all, so that they too, within the mystery of the communion of saints, can participate in the redemption of the world."- Pope Benedict XVI,The Sacrament of Charity, 2007
Priests care for us when we are physically ill. They do this through the Sacrament known as the Anointing of the Sick. The Bible instructs us, "Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray...Is any one among you sick? He should summon the presbyters [priests] of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven" (James 5: 14-15).
Anointing of the Sick helps us endure illness, uniting our passion with that of the Lord, and it cleanses our souls and helps us prepare to meet God.
At Epiphany Parish, Anointing is available upon request. If ever you are going to the hospital for a procedure that involves general anesthesia, it is appropriate to request Anointing. See a priest after any Mass. Annually, on the World Day of the Sick (February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes) and on the Feast of the Assumption, we offer communal Anointing at all Masses.
When God does call a loved one home, please call the Parish Office for information regarding funeral arrangements. A funeral luncheon for parishioners can also be arranged and is served by the funeral committee.
More information about Anointing of the Sick can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1499-1532)