Sacramental Preparation

Baptism is the first sacrament and the “gateway” through which a Catholic Christian has access to the other sacraments.  Through this sacrament individuals are washed clean of original sin and are welcomed into the family of God.  The Sacrament of Baptism is only received once in an individual’s life as it leaves an indelible mark on the soul of the new Christian.  For specific information about having your child baptized, or about receiving the sacrament yourself, reach out to your local parish.

Reconciliation is most often, but not always, the second sacrament received in the life of a Catholic Christian believer.  This is a sacrament of healing for both the individual and the Church as the penitent makes right their relationship with God and every member of God’s holy Church.  Prior to receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is important to undergo a good examination of conscience.  The USCCB has provided some resources regarding such an exercise:  To find the most up to date information on times for reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, reach out to your local parish.

In 1996, under the guidance of the Most Reverend Bishop Anthony Milone, the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, adopted the observance of what has become known as “The Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation.”  This means that it is the practice within this diocese for youth who have reached the age of reason, to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation prior to the reception of the Most Holy Sacrament of Eucharist.  At the time, the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings was one of only two dioceses in the country with this practice.  Since then, over a dozen additional dioceses have adopted the observance.  

While there is much to say about the Restored Order of the Sacrament of Initiation, Mr. Paul Senz beautifully and concisely describes the history of the practice in a February 2020 Catholic Answers article:

If you have a child who has reached the age of reason (usually around second grade) or if you are new to the diocese and have a child who has received the Sacrament of First Holy Eucharist, but has yet to be Confirmed, please reach out to your local parish for information regarding Sacramental Preparation.  To see a map of parishes and missions in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, visit the Parishes/Clergy Page.

For information about the specific Sacraments of Initiation visit: 

Confirmation is the second of the Sacraments of Initiation.  Through this sacrament a believer is blessed with an even deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Confirmation is another sacrament which can only be received once as it also leaves an indelible mark on the soul of the believer.  In the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, this sacrament is received prior to the reception of First Holy Eucharist because of the practice of the Restored Order of the Sacraments.

First Holy Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the life of a Catholic Christian.  In this sacrament the faithful receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ in a real and mysterious way.  After reception of the First Holy Eucharist, this sacrament is available to believers every single day of the year.

Matrimony is the sacrament uniting one man and one woman in a lifelong indissoluble union.  As part of the reception of this sacrament, the man and woman must be open to the gift of children and to taking on the responsibility of being the first heralds of the Faith.  To arrange the Sacrament of Matrimony, reach out to your local parish at least six months in advance of a desired wedding date.

Holy Orders is the sacrament through which men are ordained either as a deacon, priest, or bishop.  These ministers of the Church serve in different capacities and are supported by the Holy Spirit in a special way through their ordination.  This is another sacrament which leaves an indelible mark on the soul of the man, and thus can never be fully undone.  For more information on the sacrament and vocation of Holy Orders visit our Vocations Page.

Anointing of the Sick is commonly misunderstood as the “last rites” and sadly is not received as often as it should be.  This sacrament is meant for all who are ill of body or spirit.  In order to receive this sacrament, it is important to make early contact with a priest.  Priests are busy men and especially when someone is in danger of death, the priest needs as much advanced notice as possible.  Contact your local parish for more information about this sacrament.