The Sacraments

The Sacrements

Sources: photo from Fonds Daniel Abel

Pisa (Italy) Baptistery

The baptistery of Saint John of Pisa was built on the foundations of an old octagonal baptistery. Construction began in 1152 and ended at the end of the 14th century.

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Baptistère".

Baptismal font ( Church of Saint-Rémy de Domrémy-la-Pucelle, France)

It was in this church that Joan of Arc was baptized in 1412. 

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Église Saint-Rémy".

Baptismal font, XVI century, Sweden.

Baptismal fonts are used for baptisms through sprinkling. They are often eight sided to mark the new creation. Some have three sides to recall the Holy Trinity.

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading " Fonts baptismaux".

Baptismal font, Church of Barth (Germany)

Note the eight sides of this beautiful work of art. 

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Fonts baptismaux".

The confession ("La confessione" by Molteni)

Painting dating from 1712 by the painter Giuseppe Maria Crespi which depicts the sacrament of confession as a familiar part of everyday life. 

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Confessional".

The confession ("La confessione" by Longhi)

A painting by the artist Pietro Longhi which depicts the confession. This work was completed around 1750. 

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Confessional".


A confessional clearly showing the central door allowing the priest to take his place and the two side doors allowing the faithful to enter and confess. 

Credit: Cultural heritage of Quebec under the heading "Confessional".

The Last Supper (Leonardo da Vinci)

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is a mural in the refectory of the Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. This work represents the last meal of Jesus took with the Twelve Apostles on the evening of Holy Thursday. Leonardo da Vinci would have painted this work around 1494. This scene represents, among other things, the institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "The Last Supper".

The Last Supper (Fra Angelico 1395-1455)

The Communion of the Apostles. Work painted by Fra Angelico around the year 1440. It can be found today in the San Marco Museum in Florence (Italy).

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Cène".

The Eucharist (Pietro Antonio Novelli, 1779)

Work painted by Pietro Antonio Novelli around year 1779. This image represents communion outside of Mass, as was often done before Vatican Council II

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Eucharistie".

The Eucharist

This work offers us an image allowing us to visualize that the bread and the wine form one with the body of Christ

Credit: under the heading "Foi Bible et Apologétique Catholique (croix jésus ostie) 

Crypt of the Church of Saint-Laurent, VI century (France)

Crypt located in Grenoble (France) and located under the Saint-Laurent church, a church whose construction dates from the 6th century.

Credit: Wikipedia under the heading "Crypte".

Hearse (Château-Richer)

Hearse in front of the church of Château-Richer. Driver Mr. Alexandre Gravel, entrepreneur Mr. Maurice Hardy.

Credit: Archives Château-Richer.

Narration texts - part 2



Grandpa: Let's walk to the back of church again. If you look on the left what do you see?

Guillaume: It looks like a small chapel in a recess on the side of the church?

Grandpa: It's almost that Guillaume. 

Delphine: Grandpa, I see a marble basin in this chapel, I think it is a basin used during baptisms.

Grandpa: Well done Delphine, you're right; this space is actually the baptistery of the church, so let's talk a little bit about baptism.


Grandpa: Baptism is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is, for the believer, the beginning of life. There was a time when the whole body was immersed in water during baptism. This practice still exists today in certain places, but here baptism is done by pouring a little water on the head of the faithful, in the vast majority of the time on the head of a young child.
Now for the location of the baptistery; in many places in Europe, the baptistery is isolated from the church or cathedral. You can see an example of this on this photo. If the baptistery is not isolated from the church, it is often placed in the northwest corner of the church. This tradition celebrates the release of the damp and shady area of the north and west to the warm light of the south and east through baptism. Having the baptistery behind and to the left of the church therefore attempts to imitate this ancient practice.


Grandpa: Now do you see this standing basin made of marble in the center? This is called the baptismal font. This tank was used during the sacrament of baptism. An effusion was then practiced on the head of the faithful, which means that a bit of water was poured on the head of the baptized. We also saw the method of sprinkling which consists in simply sending droplets on the forehead of the baptized. Well, the water used for this rite was blessed, and at one time it had to be exclusively blessed during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Each church therefore had to keep a sufficient supply of this precious water to allow priests to perform baptisms throughout the year. This is why you can see this white tank in the corner in which holy water was kept. The priest could take a little water using the tap and then pour it into the baptismal font in preparation for the baptisms that were celebrated here in the church. The baptism ceremony was then performed right here at the back of the church and then the newly baptized, often a child was invited into his or her new home, into the house of God. In truth, today the priest blesses water at the very moment of baptism and the ceremony takes place at the front of the church. This baptistery is therefore no longer used for this function.


Guillaume: Grandpa, my friend Michel told me about the practice of meeting a priest to tell him about his bad deeds.

Grandpa: And you want to know more about this subject?

Guillaume: Well, I don't really understand why one would have to talk to a priest about ones wrongdoing.

Grandpa: What you are describing refers to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Formerly this sacrament was called the sacrament of penance but recently it was renamed sacrament of reconciliation.

Delphine: So it is the action of the faithful who will confess their sins to the priest, right?

Grandpa: That's right, but you should know that this practice is not written in the Bible. In fact, the practice of confession began in the 3rd century AD. At that time, the confession was public, and reserved for serious sins. In the sixth and seventh century under the influence of Irish monks, the priest then heard the confession in private and gave a penance proportioned to the fault. People then confessed several times in a lifetime. From the 16th century, the Council of Trent in 1545 reaffirmed the need to confess at least once a year. The anonymity of the penitent was also guaranteed at this time, that is, information shared with the priest would not be disclosed to anyone. 

Guillaume: But grandpa, why confess?

Grandpa: You are asking an excellent question Guillaume. Reconciliation requires the believer to identify his faults and to feel contrition, that is to say, regrets for his faults. Then he has to confess to a priest his sins and be penitent, that is, to repair the wrong that has been done. Finally, he can receive absolution, forgiveness from God, reconciliation with God. 

Grandpa: For a long time the confession was made in a confessional, out of sight. Look at the back of the church. You can see along the wall this large wooden cabinet with doors. Well the priest entered the cubicle in the center and two faithful could then enter, one to his left and the other to his right to be confessed. I brought several photos of confessionals to show you. Today, the practice is generally done openly, without having to hide behind doors. The priest meets the person a little away to allow the confession to be made in private.

Guillaume: Grandpa, if the believer reveals that he has done very bad things like crimes, should the priest notify the police?

Grandpa: You bring up a very sensitive subject Guillaume. For the Catholic Church and according to canon law, the secrecy of the confession is absolute and does not suffer from any exception under penalty of excommunication for the priest who would not respect the secret. But there is a lot of pressure being applied in several countries to force the Catholic Church to reveal certain facts obtained by a confession such as when they denotes acts of a criminal nature. But so far, this force of law linked to the secrecy of the confession remains in place. Disclosure of information is still forbidden today.


Guillaume: Grandpa, what is the Eucharist?

Grandpa: Well Guillaume, the Eucharist is another sacrament It was instituted by Jesus Christ himself at the time of his last meal with his twelve apostles. This last meal took different names like the Last Supper or the communion. While together, “Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said : This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. »  « In like manner  he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, 'Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.You will do this, in memory of me.
By this phrase Guillaume you can see that Jesus already knew that he was going to die shedding his blood but that he was also going to die for the forgiveness of men's sins. So the Eucharist is a sacrament, which is practiced in the Catholic religion in order to praise God. It is also a time for the faithful to remember the death of Jesus who gave his life as a sacrifice for the salvation of men and who was later resurrected. The Eucharist is therefore a celebration during which bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ who were offered as a sacrifice on the cross. Are you still following me?

Guillaume: Yes grandpa

Grandpa: Well, during this celebration, the priest will bless the hosts and a glass of wine. So Guillaume, what do hosts and wine represent?

Guillaume: The body and the blood of Christ?

Grandpa: Well done! Right after this blessing, the priest will step forward and offer a host to each of the faithful.

Delphine: But grandpa does that mean that the faithfuls eat the body of God?

Grandpa: Not exactly Delphine, I rather see communion as the sharing a meal, the sharing of the last meal of Jesus and his apostles.


Grandpa: But tell me, is red wine or white wine used for the Eucharist?

Delphine: I would lean towards red wine because the Church is trying to represent the blood of Christ, right?

Grandpa: The link you make is strong and even very strong Delphine, but for some time now priests have also been able to use white wine. If the wine is shared with believers during the Eucharistic celebration, one generally chooses a somewhat sweet wine that will be pleasing for everyone.


Grandpa: So far we have talked about different sacraments of the Catholic Church. Now I’d like to talk to you about funeral rites. For Christianity, funeral rites have changed over time. I believe you know that the body of Jesus, following his crucifixion and death, was put in a tomb. At that time the dead were often buried in wooden or stone. Over time, cities defined urban necropolis, cemeteries if you prefer to bury the dead. When Château-Richer was founded, it is not surprising to see that a cemetery was established to the north of the church. It is also not surprising to see that a crypt under the church was built to cater to the wealthy.
And now for the funeral ceremony. This ceremony follows certain specific stages. The Church wants to convey a message of hope, a promise of a calm and peaceful life in heaven. It is also a way to pay a final tribute to the deceased in the presence of loved ones.

Grandpa: You must remember that a funeral ceremony is full of symbols and rites from the past. The priest specifically implements four important rites including that of light with the positioning of lighted candles which frames the coffin and which recalls the image of the risen Christ, the rite of the cross which reminds Catholics of the suffering of Christ before his death on the cross showing love for men, the rite of incense which perfumes the ceremony and remains a sign of respect for the deceased. The rite of incense with the visible smoke is also a symbol of prayer that goes up to God and of the soul that rises to heaven. Finally, the sprinkling rite which consists of blessing the coffin with holy water reminding Christians of their own baptism.

Extract of
The Church of Château-Richer - Between Heaven and Earth

The Church of Château-Richer - Between Heaven and Earth image circuit

Presented by : Paroisse Notre-Dame-de-la-Nouvelle-France
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