The Sacraments of Initiation, which include Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, lay the foundation of a Christian life. These sacraments introduce young people or older men and women converting to Christianity to their faith while also strengthening beliefs and providing what they need to enjoy eternal life.
The three Sacraments of Initiation have their own distinct traditions and meanings, but each is also connected. Understanding that connection can help Christians further understand and strengthen their faith.
Christians believe they are born anew by the Sacrament of Baptism. When a person is baptized, he or she is made a member of the Christian Church and is freed from sin and reborn as a child of God. Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation, and many Christians are baptized shortly after they are born. Considered by Christians to be essential for their salvation, Baptism involves the ceremonial pouring of water on the head of the person being baptized, which is meant to symbolize both the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christians believe they and the bond they have with their faith are strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation, which Christians believe seals the covenant that was initially created when they were baptized. Confirmation also serves to confirm the baptismal grace bestowed upon them during the Sacrament of Baptism. Confirmation also is an important moment in the lives of young Christians because, upon being confirmed, they are officially recognized as adults in the eyes of the church.
Though it is considered the third Sacrament of Initiation, the Sacrament of The Eucharist is the second sacrament often received by Christians. When Christians receive the Eucharist, they believe they are receiving the food of eternal life. The Sacrament of The Eucharist is the first time Christians receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine Christians receive is converted into the body and blood of Christ by the presiding priest during a process called transubstantiation. All Christians do not believe in transubstantiation, but Catholics do.
The three Sacraments of Initiation are connected to one another and lay the foundations of Christian life for billions of practicing Christians across the globe.