The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments.

There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

1115 Jesus’ words and actions during his hidden life and public ministry were already salvific, for they anticipated the power of his Paschal mystery. They announced and prepared what he was going to give the Church when all was accomplished. The mysteries of Christ’s life are the foundations of what he would henceforth dispense in the sacraments, through the ministers of his Church, for “what was visible in our Savior has passed over into his mysteries.”32

1116 Sacraments are “powers that comes forth” from the Body of Christ,33 which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant. (Catechism of Catholic Church)

Guidelines for preparation and celebration of the sacrament with youth and adolescence – Office of Worship and Office of Faith Formation 2022


  • Celebrations are to include all children from various programs together
  • Catechists must be fully initiated to teach the classes and give witness to the faith
  • A common textbook series if possible is to be used and approved by the Archdiocese of San Francisco
  • Program materials that are age appropriate using sound catechetical principles and adopted to each culture and parish
  • Take home materials and resources should be supplied for parents/guardians & families
  • Parish, Home Schoolers and Catholic School must have joint parent meetings
  • The child must be in the program and faith life of the community for two years or more for each: Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation
  • Parish provides an opportunity for the parish representatives, parents and child to assess readiness within an interview process
  • If the child is not ready for the sacrament s/he should not be forced to receive
  • A child who wishes to receive the sacrament is not to be refused simply because of age
  • First Reconciliation
    • Awareness that God loves them
    • They know right from wrong and our relationship with God & others can be broken through sin
    • They need to be able to put into their own words what they did wrong and try to say why they did it
    • They need to be sorry for what they did wrong
    • They need to want to tell Jesus they are sorry and want to make amends
    • Know a simple Act of Contrition in language they use at home and at church
    • An understanding that the Sacrament of Penance is a special sign of God’s forgiveness
  • First Eucharist
    • The candidate must demonstrate an active, regular life of prayer
    • Candidates must participate regularly in Sunday Liturgy
    • Understand the Real Presence & parts of the Mass
    • Participate in faith formation classes on a regular basis
    • Have a desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist
    • Demonstrate a Christian life of virtue and service
  • Confirmation
    • The candidates must be 8th grade or older
    • The candidate must demonstrate an active and regular life of prayer
    • Candidates must participate regularly in Sunday Liturgy and the life of the parish community
    • Understand the role of the Holy Spirit and discipleship in their lives
    • Have a desire to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and act with them for mission
    • Demonstrate a Christian life of virtue and service
    • Service projects/Acts of Justice are required both as group projects and individuals with theological reflection as integral
  • The child needs to have received Baptism in the Roman Rite and proof needs to be recorded
  • The celebration happens within the context of the parish community – not the school
  • The Liturgy Committee of the parish should be a vital part of the planning
  • The community provides the celebration for those receiving first sacrament therefore the children should not acts as lectors, gift bearers, cantors, etc.
  • First Reconciliation
    • Communal celebration with individual Confession
    • The child should be familiar with the confessional setting
    • A simple Act of Contrition in the language the child understands should be used
    • Parents should be invited to receive the sacrament as an example
    • Children should be encouraged to receive the sacrament often
    • No sacramental certificate is given and no permanent records are maintained
    • The Sacrament of Reconciliation must be celebrated before First Eucharist with ample time between the sacraments to distinguish between the two
  • First Eucharist
    • First Eucharist does not happen during Lent
    • Registration of the sacrament is made in the parish sacramental registry
    • First Eucharist certificates should be given
  • Confirmation
    • The pastor requests the date from the Office of the Archbishop
    • Confirmation does not happen during Lent
    • Registration of the sacrament is made in the parish sacramental registry
    • Confirmation certificates should be given
  • For all those over the age of 7
  • Many rites can be done privately
  • Parents must be involved in process and committed to bringing child to Mass and instruction
  • Later children should participate with their peers in their respective programs for First Reconciliation, Eucharist (it just won’t be their first), and Confirmation (youth receive a blessing at Confirmation Mass and are not reanointed).


This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”

Archdiocese of San Francisco Infant Baptismal Guidelines

Check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for more information

Contact your parish church for more information on preparation and celebrating the sacrament

Communion/ Eucharist

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.”

“The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”

First Communion Guidelines – Archdiocese of SF

Check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for more information

Contact your parish church for more information on preparation and celebrating the sacrament

Youth Confirmation

Most parishes and schools within the Archdiocese have a process for preparing young adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Confirmation Mass takes place either in the parish church, or with other parishes throughout the Archdiocese at the Cathedral.

The Cathedral Confirmation is scheduled by the Office of Worship and the Office of the Archbishop for some time in the early Easter Season each year. Registration takes place through the parishes.

Youth Confirmation within the Archdiocese of San Francisco takes place between 8th grade and the end of high school, in the parish or at the Cathedral of St. Mary of Assumption.. Provided for your information: Confirmation Guidelines


All first year youth confirmation candidates are required to take this assessment so that programs can build the curriculum on what the candidate needs to know of their faith and how they practice.

For catechetical information and needs contact Sr. Celeste Arbuckle, SSS at [email protected]

For Archdiocesan Group Confirmation Retreats contact Chris Mariano at [email protected]

For the Office of Worship and Laura Bertone, Director, at
[email protected]

Adult Confirmation

Adults who did not receive the Sacrament of Confirmation but wish to be Confirmed in order to complete their Sacraments of Initiation may do so through two Confirmation Masses held at the Cathedral:
On Pentecost Weekend (in May or June)
On the Saturday Vigil for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (in late November)

If a person is fully prepared for the Sacrament according to their pastor, their parish may register them directly with the Office of Worship through documents sent out approximately a month before the date of the Confirmation.

The Office of Faith Formation offers classes a few weeks before the date of the Confirmation for those adults who wish to be Confirmed but who need additional instruction beforehand. Contact the Office of Faith Formation for more information at 415-614-5650.

Confirmation candidates (age 18+) may come to formation classes given by the Office of Faith Formation. These classes are offered in the spring and fall, for Confirmations on Pentecost and the Vigil Mass for the Feast of Christ the King. Permission & registration must go through the candidates’ parish. (Alternatively, candidates may choose to join their parish for preparation and/or celebration of the sacrament.)

Formation classes with the Archdiocese for the Sacrament of Confirmation are offered: contact [email protected]

Parishes are responsible for notifying the Office of Worship that a candidate will be celebrating the sacrament at St. Mary Cathedral. Parishes are responsible for providing a name tag for the celebration of the sacrament for the candidate, preparing a certificate and registering the sacrament in their sacramental registry.

Celebration of the Sacrament during Lent
Archdiocese of San Francisco Guide Part 1
Part 2
Check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for more information

Adult Confirmations will be November 5th , 5:30pm Mass at St. Mary Cathedral.
If you would like to receive the sacrament check with you parish.  Archdiocesan classes are offered on October 28 and 29, 2022. Candidates must be 16 years of age and received Baptism and Eucharist. The form below needs to be signed by a parish representative and returned to the Office of Faith Formation


Confession / Reconciliation

The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation.

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,” Jesus showed himself to his apostles. “He breathed on them, and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”‘ ( Jn 20:19, 22-23).

Check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for more information

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

Structure of the Initiation of Adults: The initiation of catechumens is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful. By joining the catechumens in reflecting on the value of the paschal mystery and by renewing their own conversion, the faithful provide an example that will help the catechumens to obey the Holy Spirit more generously. The rite of initiation is suited to a spiritual journey of adults that varies according to the many forms of God’s grace, the free cooperation of the individuals, the action of the Church, and the circumstances of time and place. This journey includes not only the periods for making inquiry and for maturing, but also the steps marking the catechumens’ progress, as they pass, so to speak, through another doorway or ascend to the next level.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: Introduction. ©1985, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. (ICEL)

The Sacraments of Initiation

1212 The sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – lay the foundations of every Christian life. “The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.”

What are considered Valid and Invalid Baptisms in the Catholic Church

Check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for more information

Contact your parish church for more information on preparation and celebrating the sacrament

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Adapted for Children

Children who have reached the age of 7 (age of reason) and have not been baptized are invited into the process of Christian initiation based on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA.) This process will prepare young people and their families for the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist – after an appropriate time of formation. (RCIA #256) Formation takes place within the parish community. Please use our parish finder to locate a church community near you, and know that your child is welcomed with joy!

The chapter which describes the requirements and process for children of catechetical age who desire baptism is from the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: Part II; Rites for Particular Circumstances: 1. Christian Initiation of Children who Have Reached Catechetical Age. There are also many good books on the RCIA Adapted for children, and Sr Celeste regularly runs workshops concerning the process.

As for why we do this, the underlying rule is canon law:
Can. 852 §1: The prescripts of the canons on adult baptism are to be applied to all those who, no longer infants, have attained the use of reason.
Can. 866: Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, an adult who is baptized is to be confirmed immediately after baptism and is to participate in the eucharistic celebration also by receiving communion.

So it is clear that those who have passed the age of reason (age 7) are considered “adults” in the Church and therefore when baptized, must also be Confirmed and receive Eucharist. To not due so is a violation of the canons and illicit. Another concern are sacraments which are done by the school and not by the parish. We are very clear in the archdiocese that sacraments are a parochial matter and that schools, while they can encourage and assist in the process, are not the foundational environment for any sacraments – this is always the parish, with the pastor as lead.

Check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for more information

Contact your parish church for more information on preparation and celebrating the sacrament