Saint Francis or Onassis?

Image result for saint francis Theodoros P. Lianos is an Emeritus Professor and former Rector of the Athens University of Economics and Business. His books – some scientific popularity – are mainly circulated by the Kastaniotis, Papazisis and Gutenberg publications Theodoros P. Lianos, a professor at the University of Davis, California, and a professor of political economics at the Athens University of Economics and Business, does not sound the alarm of mankind today. It warns us that we are already a few phases after this impact. In the book, with scientific rigor, but which is not afraid to use the pure, pure and effusive reason of everyday circumstances, four forms of wealth are examined: the material, the spiritual, the physical and the experiences. Material wealth is defined as the total of material goods that are sources of utility for their owner. It is the wealth that produces income and is produced by the “collaboration” of man with nature. But this collaboration has been at the expense of nature for many years, and if it continues in the same way, that will mean the end of both nature and material wealth. A nice fairytale The economist writer, contrary to the perceptions of most of the colleagues of economists, argues that material wealth can not be produced forever if current growth rates continue. “Continuous growth is a nice fairy tale, a sweet lullaby that has no effect on the real world” (p. 128). The growth that we are now watching is a loan from the future. Its continuation makes the life of this future smaller. But does this continuous development reduce inequalities? Neither does this achieve, it increases them. Spiritual wealth is all the knowledge a man has, but also the capacity with which he perceives the world. This wealth maintains a two-way relationship with the material. Nature is the wealth that nature gives us without the interference of people, and finally the wealth of experience is the sum of human actions. Here I will insist on the point where the author points out the reasons why he considers good deeds to be wealth, to conclude that “the feelings of satisfaction and pride that the virtuous person accumulates in his soul is a real psychic wealth” (p 116). These three categories, unlike that of wealth, are unlimited in their size. The study by the author of the so-called “ecological balance” introduces us to the core of this book. The ecological balance is the difference of the ecological footprint (demand for natural resources) from bio-capacity (supply). The author observes that after 1970, where the balance of the ecological balance was in place, the deficit is steadily rising. And on the basis of concrete evidence that depicts reality (see Table 6.2), it points out that “the material wealth of mankind has exceeded the upper limit that the resources of the Earth determine. Further development, if any, will be possible at the expense of the planet’s natural environment “(p. 139). Overconsumption is the first risk bell.

Image result for saint francisOverpopulation the second. Here it is mentioned – without fully endorsing the time limit, but not the course to there – to the “prophecy” of the microbiologist Professor Frank Fenner. According to her, in the next 100 years the human species will disappear because of the over-consumption of the rich and the overpopulation of the poor. Impressive is here the element that Lianos quotes. If we want mankind to survive, the Earth’s population will have to be reduced to half that of today (to 3.6 billion, from 7.5 billion now) or else to halve consumption ( to $ 4,800 from 10,000 today). The transition Are there ways to deal with these two enemies of the continuation of the human species? The author proposes the transition from the growth model to that of a stable economy. The idea of ​​a stable economy is far too old, but what the writer would call it today is the need for total output (GDP) to remain stable and to the extent that it absorbs the available natural resources without causing environmental problems . On the other hand, this stable economy to be implemented must – as much as it appears to violate well-established human rights – impose birth control policies. The suggestions here of the author, and in particular that of an “international stock exchange of rights”, are, in my opinion, the weak link of a book firmly kept in the scientific and not just reality. But the underdevelopment of the economist professor should not lead some to rushing conclusions about the book. This is not part of a series of destructive books, but a condensation of the thinking of a man who in his scientific career as well as in his most frequent public interventions never hesitated to see problems where others saw solutions.


Welcome to Saint Lucia – My St. Lucia


New Piton-Soufriere_Evening_RGB - for web and presentation ONLY - not for print use Romantic bays, lush tropical greenery and a gentle climate, in addition to exceptional accommodations, Creole zest for life and hearty people – Saint Lucia.offers a unique variety of holiday, discovery and adventure 365 days a year. The island is a wild natural beauty, which is also called the “beautiful Helena of the West” due to its scenic diversity and lush vegetation. With its 616 square kilometers, the Lesser Antilles island in the eastern Caribbean is smaller than Hamburg or Berlin – but which city in the world alone has two Nobel laureates to offer?


Why Saint Lucia?

Gravity_Pigeon Island_RGB Quite simply – because on Saint Lucia you will find everything that makes your dream holiday so special.

Sunbathers enjoy tropical temperatures between 25 ° and 31 °. Beach fans have the choice between long sandy beaches and quiet bays. Nature lovers will be amazed by the very own, wondrous world of the rainforest, with wild orchids, hibiscus and redwoods. The bubbling, steaming sulfur springs of the only “drive-in” volcano in the Caribbean fascinate as well as a refreshing shower under the Diamond Waterfall or a bath in the healing waters of the mineral springs, which already appreciated Empress Joséphine I.

 Those interested in culture can explore colonial plantations and fortresses, immerse themselves in the vibrant art scene of the present, or be carried away by the numerous small and large festivals. For active vacationers the island is on land and in the air, on and under water a true adventure paradise. And while families on the “Two Mountains Island” find plenty of variety and child-friendly entertainment, Saint Lucia is the perfect retreat for couples and honeymooners. If you want to marry in front of the wild and romantic island scenery, you can give your vows here without much bureaucracy.


Made of a very special material

 Saint Lucia is an unspoiled natural paradise, which is mainly covered in mountainous hinterland with over 19,000 hectares of deep green rainforest. With its majestic twin peaks Petit and Gros Piton, the island has one of the most beautiful and eye-catching profiles of the Caribbean.

More than 700 meters high, the two volcanic cones protrude from the sea, shaped like sugar loafs, covered in velvety green and since 2004 UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just like them and the highest mountain of Mount Gimie at 950 meters, the entire island is made of a very special material: Millions of years ago, it experienced its big bang when lava was thrown up from the depths of the sea, cooled and landed.

E still seethes today  s in the underground. The volcanic cones of the Pitons , natural mineral baths and the bubbling sulfur springs of the only drive-in crater in the Caribbean, the Sulfur Springs , refer to the volcanic island Vita.

Image result for saint lucia On this fertile ground thrives a true garden of Eden, with wild orchids, frangipani and jasmine. Hummingbirds are buzzing around, parrots screeching high in the crowns of the redwood trees, while a few floors below, well hidden in the giant ferns, the frogs croak … No wonder that nature lovers are thrilled with Saint Lucia.


Especially in the abuse scandal we need the saints!

The abuse scandal has shown the ugly face of the church. But the church also has a very nice side, says Prelate Günter Assenmacher. The saints help us to discover them, he writes in the point of view.

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All Saints Day . A day that has become even more personal since 1992, than it already was. The day before, on a gray, dreary Saturday, my mother had died. The day after, the sun was shining.

All Saints means to me: in the saints the church is beautiful. Not to run away, to give up, to be ashamed. Let’s look at the people who have come to perfection through God’s grace. They are the lived gospel. In word and deed they proclaim what God loved in his Son, Jesus Christ, so that he may love it in us. We do not have to be ashamed of the saints, their memory does not have to be eradicated. They did not compromise their Creator and Redeemer, they did not disgrace the fellowship of the Church; on the contrary, God is great in His saints. From them we can see what God can do with us, if we are completely left to His grace and guidance.

We urgently need a counterbalance to the day-to-day reports of annoyances, even crimes in the space of the worldwide Church. Far from any triumphalism and whitewashing, with no blindness to reality, with empathy for the wounds inflicted on other people by members of the Church , we also always need to look to those who blessed others, the role models in the good, in the bravery against the evil, models of true repentance and conversion, role models, even to forgive those who do evil and harm.

It may be that we need constant public pressure not to avoid shameful truths, not to downplay the bad, not to put one’s own failure into perspective, to consistently strive for betterment. But with the “on your knees!” alone, a renewal from inside will not happen. For that the “sursum” is indispensable, the view on the, which God has given us as role models.


Found bones of the oldest saints in Austria?

For years it was not clear to which person the bones found in 1991 under the altar of a church in southern Carinthia belonged. Now there is an exciting suspicion: is it the corpse of the oldest saint of Austria?

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Researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) may have succeeded in identifying the bones of the oldest saints in Austria. This was reported by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) on Thursday on its website. According to this study, two archaeologists of the ÖAW have since 2016 examined bones of an unknown woman whose body was found in 1991 under the altar of a church on the Hemmaberg in southern Carinthia. In their investigation, the researchers had come to the conclusion that the woman lived in the first century and was worshiped as a saint. Therefore, the assumption suggests that it is the oldest saint in the country.

According to the ORF, the scientists were able to understand the biography of the woman thanks to a DNA analysis of the bones. Accordingly, the analysis showed that the woman came from the southeastern Mediterranean and 35 to 50 years old; She spent her last years of life according to the results of an isotopic study in Central Europe. “We have to assume that the people at that time were very mobile and traveled all over the Roman Empire, which explains why a lady from the eastern Mediterranean region spent her last years in Central Europe,” said scientist Michaela Binder , That the woman was revered as a saint, derived the researchers from the nature of their burial in a reliquary.

Martyr of the persecution of Christians?

The corpse of the woman was found 27 years ago on the Hemmaberg, which in the sixth century was an important place of pilgrimage. However, according to the scientists, the woman was buried there about 400 years after her death; where the corpse had been buried before, is unclear. Since the woman lived at the time of the early persecution of Christians, she was probably worshiped by Christians in the sixth century as a martyr . On the skeleton itself, the researchers found no evidence of the cause of death. “But in early Christian times, people who died a martyr’s death were worshiped as saints,” said Binder.

According to the researchers, the fact that it was not possible to reconstruct who was the woman was also due to the custom at that time: “At that time there were many relics, many saints in circulation,” explained Binder. Every church needed a saint to gain their permission. That is why “many people were surely worshiped as sacred”. (Stz)


Training as a substitute saint: How to become certified Nikolaus

A Nikolaus visit in his childhood editor Matthias Altmann so scared that he has to nibble on it today. Now he has faced his fear and let himself train for Santa Claus.

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As I make my way to Cologne on a rainy Saturday morning in mid-November, I must inevitably think of that fateful Christmas eve over 20 years ago. It was the first time that Santa came to our home – and it was to be the only time. I was so afraid of this threatening man in red and with the mask on my face that my parents renounced a repetition out of consideration for my childlike mind.

I was five years old then. To this day I sometimes have a queasy feeling when I meet a Santa Claus in the Advent season . I see him as the awesome character of my childhood, intimidated by threats and the “I-don’t-know-everything” entry in his Golden Book of Little Souls to finally be good. This has little to do with the traditional St. Nicholas picture.

Make St. Nicholas visible today

Fortunately, there are courses that convey to aspiring and already experienced performers the values ​​for which St. Nicholas stands. To see how such a training runs, I signed up for a one-day “Nikolausschule”. Organizers are the church Latin America relief organization Adveniat and the Cologne city association of the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ). They have taken up the cause to introduce Saint Nicholas and the legends around him, exploring the question of how it can be seen today.

Chocolate Santa Claus are at the Nikolausschule in Cologne on the table. 

A smile under his beard: As friendly and kind, as these Schokonikoläuse look, should also be a Santa Claus actor.

St. Nicholas School has been around since 2011, Adveniat employee Henning Gerlach tells me. There are usually five courses per year in different cities, where on average seven people attend. This time, there are twelve mostly older men – and a young woman. Gradually, the participants arrive. Many have a large suitcase in which they have stowed their costume.

When we introduce ourselves at the beginning of the round, I realize that not only I have a lot to work up in terms of Nicholas. Markus from the Münsterland tells how, as a child, a stunted Nikolaus actor threatened him with an ax to chop off his thumb where he always sucked. He was totally scared of escaping from the house. I hear of eerie figures and sacks with children’s legs dangling from them.

Nikolaus expert Reinhard Sentis (center) has already run many Nikolausschulen. He wants to show the actors how to translate the saint’s message into the present day.

Such stories are also known to Reinhard Sentis. The Nikolaus expert leads the training. Already at the beginning he makes it clear that a Nicholas should not act as a punisher. On the contrary: He must always show “full of goodness”. “When you smile under your beard, that’s what happens to the children, too.” Santa Claus should not have to make up for what parents have missed in their education. The concept ‘Be good and you’ll get a gift’ is actually completely un-noclistian: “Santa always pays for himself without asking anything in return,” says Sentis.

First and foremost, decent Santa Claus education means knowing about the saint. Secured knowledge about him there is little: he was bishop in Asia Minor Myra in the fourth century. Above all, the legends and miracle stories are known, from which the fascination feeds. “Nicholas is a role model whom we trust so much that we attribute more to him, and in his person and his wonders, the life of Christ is always reflected,” explains Sentis. He embodies longings and truths that Jesus already taught. “Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of those who have no lobby.” These include children.

Carry Nicholas’ message to your heart

For Reinhard Sentis, the Christmas tradition is a matter of the heart. He comes from the Lower Rhine, where St. Nicholas is celebrated big. “I want to promote St. Nicholas as someone who, from the Christian tradition, has become a person who points to Christmas in a special way, pointing to the Incarnate God who appeals to us: you are infinitely valuable.” In times when Nicholas runs the risk of being displaced by the secular figure of Santa Claus, one should like to rediscover this specific Christian perspective. How to carry the message of St. Nicholas into people’s hearts is the purpose of the St. Nicholas School. editor Matthias Altmann turns into Nicholas. The basis for a good costume is the shawl.

Important on such training days is not only the theory, but also the exchange with each other. We form four groups to design the process of a visit to St. Nicholas. I have teamed up with Ulrich from Dusseldorf and Stefan from Cologne. We pretend that we, as Nicholas, attend an Advent celebration of a youth group. For Ulrich, this topic is particularly relevant: he has been visiting Nikolaus’s group of his granddaughters for a few years now and can hardly judge how his performances will arrive there. Stefan, on the other hand, is very experienced: he operates his own agency for the sale of Nicholas and has performed around 3,000 times.

Of course, Ulrich and I try to benefit from Stefan’s experience. Through his remarks, we realize what can go wrong – or better: how many things to look out for to make a decent Santa Claus. The decisive factor, according to Stefan, is the preparation: “The best thing to do in the group is always to find an ally to talk to and give you the information about what happened in the group over the course of the year Announce visit, he should also help you with the implementation. ” When Santa Claus is in front of the young people, it is always important to involve them in the event. Otherwise, it may happen that they drift mentally or try to disturb. After the performance, it would be advisable to get back in touch with those responsible so that you can make it even better next time.

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The next steps on the way to St. Nicholas: Albe and stole. Then comes the Zingulum.

Stefan has been on the road for 23 years as Nicholas – yet such training is still important to him. Exactly the exchange with other St. Nicholas make them so valuable. “When it comes to Nicholas, I still see myself as a student,” he says. He enjoys organizing and dealing with people, which makes his job as a “professional” Santa very easy. He finds that Nicholas, especially in families can be a great asset, if he embodies the benevolent admonisher: “He can serve as a kind of grandfather figure, to which the children are confident.” But Stefan also knows that a Santa Claus, who misunderstood his task, can also break a lot.

Highly motivated participants

Reinhard Sentis always takes highly motivated participants to the St. Nicholas Schools. “There come people who have been traveling for many years as Nicholas, who then go home with completely new ideas, experiences and perspectives.” It would always develop great conversations around the custom. Sentis finds it interesting how many different traditions and opportunities exist to bring Nicholas to the public. “I, too, go home enriched after such training.”

What makes a Santa Claus really Nicholas? The robe, of course. For a bishop it is not fitting to show up in a red robe. To come over authentic, especially authentic – ie liturgical – clothing required: These include a shawl, an alb, a stole, a Zingulum for girding, a pectoral cross, a choir coat, a bishop’s ring, a beard and a wig, a book, a Mitra and a crosier. It is important that the utensils fit well, especially the alb must be long enough. Reinhard Sentis also recommends black socks, black shoes, and maybe even white gloves. At a volunteer, he shows step by step how dressing works. After that, each participant is allowed to dress. Where necessary, Sentis helps. So I’m going to Nicholas after a few simple steps.

Like a true bishop: Authentic clothing is crucial for a Nicholas actor.

After I undress the robe, I talk to Anna – the only participant of the Nikolausschule. Last year at the BDKJ Advent Campaign in downtown Essen, she distributed “Nikolausa” chocolate Santa Claus – “because we simply had a shortage of men”, she says with a smile. That did not bother anyone, there were no stupid comments from passers-by. In any case, gender was not decisive in order to embody Nicholas well. “I believe in the idea – that’s the most important thing,” says Anna. She wants to carry on the good in a world where “so much bad happens”. Here she is the example of St. Nicholas.

Reinhard Sentis sees it similarly: “St. Nicholas must rejoice in man and embody God’s love for humanity.” He must be especially attentive to those who are not in the limelight. “He must be able to approach people and teach them that each one is infinitely precious and loved by God.” Nikolausprofi Stefan adds: “It is important that an actor believes in Nicholas as a selfless gift-maker and acts in the spirit of Nicholas, so that his message is preserved.”

The message of St. Nicholas is also in the 21st century still hot, finds Reinhard Sentis. But every single person has to work on the implementation – for this you do not have to wear a Santa Claus robe. “Everyone can be a Santa Claus in life – even without Mitra!”, Says Reinhard Sentis. At the end of the Nikolausschule there is a certificate for each participant. Now I have it in black and white: I am a trained Nikolaus. In the future, hopefully, I will not have a queasy feeling any more when I meet a Santa Claus somewhere.


Palm Sunday: joy and sorrow

Palm Sunday begins Holy Week. Probably on no other day in the church year are joy and suffering as close together as here. explains liturgy and customs on Palm Sunday.

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Palm Sunday has the beginning and the end in it. During the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is celebrated like a king. A miraculous, peaceful ruler, whose fate is already sealed – the Holy Week and thus the days of the Passion and death of Jesus are imminent. But this king of the Jews, who has ridden on a donkey into the city, faces this unimaginable task. The evangelist Matthew (21: 7-11) describes how the disciples brought a donkey to Jesus and put him on it. “Many people from the crowd spread their clothes on the way, others cut branches off the trees and scattered them on the way,” Matthäus writes enthusiastically. But the crowds that preceded him and followed him shouted:

Hosanna the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in height!

Quote: Matthew (21.7-11)

When Jesus moved into Jerusalem, according to Matthew, the whole city started moving: “Who is this?” They asked. But the crowd said, “This is the prophet Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee!”

Keep the memory alive

Just as then, Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday, the sixth and last Sunday of Lent; sometimes even with a live donkey. The faithful often meet first in front of the church to bless the palm or olive branches. Where palm trees do not grow, take catkins – depending on the region, these branches come from maple, birch, beech, boxwood, willow, hazelnut or juniper berry. After the blessing of the branches, the Christians enter the church in a palm procession. At Mass, the priest proclaims for the first time in Holy Week the message of the approaching suffering and death of Jesus.

Crafting instructions for a Biedermeier palm tree.

For as the Evangelist John (12: 12-24) points outImage result for palm sunday, the “King of Israel” knows that the days of his reign on earth will be brief. John quotes Jesus: “The hour has come when the Son of Man will be glorified.” Truly, truly, I say to you, if the grain of wheat does not fall into the earth and die, it will remain alone, but if it dies, it will bring much fruit. ” Jesus knows that his kingdom will not be the earth but heaven. He says, “He who loves his life loses it, and who hates his life in this world will save it for everlasting life.”

Also on Palm Sunday shows how life and death are inseparable. The Christians sing to the son of David a “Hosanna in the height”, praise him as a king, but also as a savior. In the processional hymn of Theodulf of Orleans of the ninth century, it says, “There was the rejoicing in you, / as you were about to suffer, / you, the king of the world, / here we bring our praise.”

Tradition since the 8th century

After the mass, Christians take home their consecrated palm branches and put them behind a crucifix above the door frame – this is to provide special protection for the house and its inhabitants. In some places people also attach their branches to holy pictures, house altars or mirrors. The pinning is an old custom, it is to bless people and to remember the new life of Christ. Sometimes the branches are beautifully decorated at Easter. In the following year, the branches are burned in some regions and the ash is again used for the ash cross. The circle closes.

In Europe, the Palm processions have been known since the 8th century. With great effort, the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem was reconstructed. The faithful could thus combine the beginning of Holy Week with a special experience. Later, life-size Christ figures were often carried on donkeys in Germany, illustrating the event even more. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the so-called Palmeselprozessionen were widespread in Germany in many places.

Palm branches have long been regarded as objects of protection, salvation and blessing. Thus, in the Rhineland, the dead are blessed at the funeral with a palm bouquet soaked in holy water. Many people bring the freshly blessed palm branches not only to their homes, but also to bedridden neighbors – or to their dead in the cemetery.



Means of communication of the grace of God

Catholics accompany their sacraments from the cradle to the grave – or from baptism to the Anointing of the Sick. But what is a sacrament anyway? And how did they come about?

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The term “sacrament” goes back to the Latin word “sacramentum” and in ancient times referred to the oath of allegiance of Roman legionnaires. With their oath, the soldiers not only subordinate themselves to the ruler, but also to the respective cult god and thus transferred themselves to the area of ​​the “sacred” (Latin for “sacrum”). Entry into the church was given the word by the late antique Latin Bible “Vulgata”, the “sacramentum” as a translation of the Greek term “mysterion” (Eng. “Mystery”) used.

However, the term “sacrament” is therefore younger than the liturgical practice itself for which it stands today. Even in the early Christian church, baptism and the Eucharist were already an integral part of the life of faith and the sacrament in the present sense: liturgical signing. That baptism and the Eucharist held this outstanding position – and still do have it – is not only due to their theological significance, but also to the fact that there are numerous biblical documents for their appointment by Jesus Christ. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan and commissioned his disciples to baptize. And Jesus celebrated the sacrament with his disciples before he was delivered and crucified.

Marriage is a sacramental special case

But also for the other sacraments and their appointment by Jesus, biblical clues are found – though not so clearly – in the laying on of hands with which the Holy Spirit mediates at confirmation (Acts 8: 14-17) or an office – as in the case of the Holy Spirit Ordination – is transmitted (Acts 6,5,6). Rubbing with oil as in today’s Anointing of the sick (Mark 6.13) or the forgiveness of sins as in the present confession (Matt. 15:18).

A special case, on the other hand, is marriage, which is not a specific word of Jesus, but a reflection of the love relationship between Christ and his church sacrament (Eph 5,32). The fact that the Catholic Church today has exactly seven sacraments, goes back to the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which has set the number and justified by the appointment by Jesus Christ. On the one hand, the Council clarified internal church insecurities, since the number of sacraments varied between just two and up to thirty sacraments up to the Middle Ages. On the other hand, the Council opposed the reformers by Martin Luther, who recognized only baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

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What are the sacraments? A contribution of the series “Catholic for Beginners”.

The theological interpretations of the sacraments, on the other hand, are almost as old as the liturgical acts themselves. The church father Augustine made an important contribution to the understanding, pointing to the sacraments as visible signs of an invisible reality and thus clarifying that a sacrament is more than a mere symbol. It contains divine grace – that is, the loving care of God for man, and even “the whole Christ,” who is the actual agent in the sacraments and who brings grace through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a sacrament always works through the act performed alone (Latin “ex opere operato”) regardless of the faith or moral character of the donor or recipient.

The outer sign of the sacrament always consists of two parts that can not be separated: matter and form. Matter is the sensory component such as water, oil or the laying on of hands. It is a natural symbol of what the sacrament is supposed to do. Means applied to baptism: Water washes the body of dirt in it as does the baptism of inheritance. The form, on the other hand, consists of fixed words pronounced by the dispenser of the sacrament. For Augustine, the words are the “noblest sign” because they are words of the church and interpret the sensible signs first.

Jesus himself is the original sacrament

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In addition to the seven individual sacraments, Jesus himself is the original sacrament. The name should make it clear that Christ can not be separated from their origin and benefactor. And the church as a whole is a sacrament. An all-encompassing sacrament of salvation and sacrament, which according to the Second Vatican Council is “a sign and a tool for the most intimate union with God as well as for the unity of all humanity” ( Lumen Gentium 1 Constitution ).

Today one usually speaks of the sacraments of real symbols. In them the deeds of God are praised and accepted by the congregation and the individual believer. The sacraments are signs of grace and at the same time their cause, since they themselves effect grace. However, since God is graciously present always and everywhere, receiving a sacrament can not result in “more grace” but only improving one’s personal relationship with God. Sacraments are means of communication that make the grace of God more tangible and strengthen the recipient in faith and in life.


Sacraments: Sign of the love of God

The Catholic Church knows seven sacraments. In them the believers meet Jesus Christ. He fulfills his salvation. introduces her.


Sacraments are visible signs of an invisible reality. In the individual sacraments, the sacramental nature of the Church unfolds into the concrete situations of human life. Christ meets people and fulfills their salvation. The Catholic Church has seven Sacraments: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Repentance, Consecration and Anointing of the Sick. introduces the sacraments.


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Baptism is the first and fundamental sacrament through which a person is received into the community of the Church. Baptism is a real symbol of the special, indissoluble communion of the baptized with Jesus Christ, through which original sin has lost its power over the baptized person. The baptismal sacrament is donated by a priest or deacon ; In case of emergency, it can also be donated by any other person (emergency baptism). At baptism, the baptizer pours consecrated water three times over the head of the person to be baptized and speaks the baptismal formula: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Previously, the baptized person was asked for his faith. In the case of infant baptism, the parents and godparents confess their faith after they ask for the baptism of the child and commit themselves to the task of raising the child in the Catholic faith. In addition to confirmation and first communion, baptism belongs to the so-called initiation sacraments (introductory sacraments).


The Eucharist is the celebration of the liturgy of the Catholic Church in memory of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection . The Eucharist is one of the seven sacraments in which the Catholic faithful experiences the presence of Christ. For the first time, believers in childhood receive the Eucharist at first communion. The First Communion celebration usually takes place around the age of nine. The traditional date of festive First Communion still common in many parishes is Sunday after Easter, White Sunday . The children are usually prepared in small groups for the reception of the sacrament. This should also make it clear that the celebration is not a private matter, but a celebration of the entire parish. The first communion of the child is understood as an important step of growing into the church. Like baptism and confirmation, it is one of the initiation sacraments, the sacraments of the Incarnation.


Confirmation is a sacrament donated by the bishop or a priest commissioned by him by anointing with the laying on of hands. With the company donation, the children and adolescents (“Firmlinge”) affirm their faith and their belonging to the community of the Church and receive “the gift of God, the Holy Spirit”. In addition to baptism and first communion, confirmation is one of the initiation sacraments.


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The Catholic Church sees marriage as a lifelong community of man and woman. Marriage is among the baptized a sacrament, which the spouses donate themselves, if they close before the responsible pastor and two witnesses this lifelong covenant. The rite of marriage is called marriage ceremony. Since the marriage covenant is a lifelong community and therefore indissoluble, the Catholic Church does not know divorce. However, it is possible that a marriage will be annulled for certain reasons.



Repentance is the renunciation of sin and devotion to God. Repentance is a constant process in the life of the Christian. The sacrament of Penance confession gives the baptized Christian, who repents of his guilt and confesses him before the priest, the forgiveness of his sins.


The sacrament of consecration is divided into three stages : consecration to the deacon, consecration to the priest and consecration to the bishop . In all three levels of consecration, the sacrament is donated by silent laying on of hands and consecration prayer. In addition to the anointing with Chrisam at the episcopal or priestly consecration, other symbols are added: at the deacon the handing over of the Gospel, at the priest the presentation of bread and wine for the Eucharistic celebration and at the bishop the presentation of the gospel and the insignia. Donator of the sacrament of Holy Orders is the bishop. The episcopal consecration may be donated only with papal commission and with the assistance of two co-ordination bishops.

anointing of the sick

In the Anointing of the Sick , the priest opens his hands to a sick person, anointing him with oil and symbolically proclaiming to him the salvation proclaimed by Christ, above all the liberation from the power of sin. The anointing of the sick should give the patient strengthening and relief as well as trust in the assistance of Christ. Popularly, it is often referred to as “last rites” because it was donated for a long time only dying. Since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), however, it is understood as a sacrament for the seriously ill. It can be received several times in life, even before a difficult operation, at the first sign of a serious illness or in old age. The Anointing of the Sick can only be validly donated by one priest. He anoints the patient’s hands and forehead with pure olive oil, which is consecrated by the bishop every year in his own Holy Week Mass. He speaks of the dispensing formula: “Through this holy anointing, the Lord will help you in his abundant mercy, he will assist you with the power of the Holy Spirit: The Lord, who frees you from sin, save you, in his mercy he will raise you up . “


Do godfathers know their important task?

You must be good Christians and ready to assist the baptized in his life as a Christian: That’s what the catechism says about godparents. So a significant task – is aspiring godparents aware of this?

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“You shall become a godfather.” Hardly anyone will reject this wish of young parents. For many chosen ones – whether from family or circle of friends – it is “honor thing” to take over the office. On the big day of the baptism , the godparents are then the main characters in addition to the baptism and parents: at the church ceremony, in the photos for the family album. And then? Send gifts on Christmas and birthday or create a savings account – and that was it? The church expects more from the godparents: they will have an important role to play in growing up the child. Do you know the budding godfather ? And if the church demands it, is it doing enough to prepare people for their godfatherhood?

The ministry is as old as the baptism itself: “Already in the early church, the catechumens, ie the adult baptism candidates, godparents were put aside,” says Tobias Wiegelmann, deacon and contact person for baptist pastoral in the Archbishopric of Cologne. They should be an example to the applicants in the faith and orientation for a Christian life. This has not changed in principle until today, so Wiegelmann. A look at church law confirms this: the godparent’s task is to “baptize the baptized person” together with the parents and also to help the baptized perform a Christian life that conforms to baptism and faithfully fulfills the duties associated with baptism “(CIC, p. Can., 872).

Together on the path of faith

Accordingly, there are two points of view: “The participation of godparents in the liturgy is one side of the coin,” says Wiegelmann. Together with their parents, they confess their faith in the baptismal celebration, representing the child and the whole church and rejecting evil. Godparents stand together with their parents in the front row at the baptismal font and can hold the baptismal candle and also the child with water when pouring it over. “The other side of the coin is the view of the life of the person to be baptized,” says Wiegelmann. “The godparents are to help the parents in their child grow up in the faith and be brought up Christian.” That they will do that, they confirm in the baptismal liturgy with the words “I am ready”. How exactly they should fulfill this important task, however, does not say church law and catechism.

It is provided that the godparents can participate in the baptismal talk, which the priest leads in advance with the parents . “But in the rarest cases, they are really there,” says Wiegelmann, who baptizes himself in a Cologne community, from experience. This is not least because the godparents often live in other cities.

Deacon Tobias Wiegelmann Picture: ©

Deacon Tobias Wiegelmann is a speaker for catechesis and sacramental pastoral work with a focus on baptismal and first communion pastoral in the Archbishopric Vicariate of Cologne.

But the consequence of this is that important questions often remain unanswered: how does the baptismal liturgy work in detail? What role does one’s own faith play in the sponsorship? Is it life-long or is it a matter of being godfather when the godchild is of legal age? “These and other things are often unclear with budding sponsors,” says Georg Lingnau, speaker for community pastoral in the city of Dusseldorf. Therefore, there have been courses for godfathers in the state capital for some time, which should give answers.

The “right” accompaniment

“We have found that preparation for godparents is scarcely offered by the church,” says Lingnau. That’s why you invite people who soon become godfathers or have just become one. “So far, we have always met on a Saturday morning and talked about the godparchy at a brunch quite informally,” says Lingnau. In addition to theological and liturgical issues, the main focus of the meetings is on the question of the “right” accompaniment of the child. “I always emphasize that the godchilds first have the task of living their own faith before the child – that is, to be a role model.” But that will only succeed if both see each other regularly; the frequency of these meetings also depends on how far away the godparents live. “From the beginning, you should at least establish a good relationship with the child and maintain contact,” emphasizes Lingnau. “This is more important than bothering children with gifts.”

One possibility is that the godfather celebrates family celebrations. “Why not take the beautiful tradition of the name day as an opportunity that the godfather doing something with his godchild on this day – maybe attended a football game?” Asks Lingnau. “Or toddler services: There could occasionally the godparents instead of the parents go with the child and thus give a signal that they carry it.” In addition, one accompanies the child, of course, at the important stages of his faith life, such as First Communion and Confirmation. “At first this is just the purely religious component of the godparenthood,” says Lingnau. In addition, the mentors should always be available for questions and problems for their godchildren. “For children and adolescents, it is very important that they have another contact person in addition to the parents, whom you do not always want to ask.” Way companion in the faith and Wegbeleiter in the life: According to Lingnau one can not separate both in the godfather office from each other.

Georg Lingnau is Pastoral Referee and Speaker for Community Pastoral in the Catholic Association of Dusseldorf.

The courses also talked about various issues that might arise: “A difficult topic is when the parents split up,” says Lingnau. “If the godfather comes from the parent’s side, who subsequently has less contact with the child, then the sponsorship will automatically be affected.” The students would also report on their own experiences as godchildren: According to this, almost all assumed that the godparenthood ended at the latest with the completion of the 18th year of the godchild. “They always wonder when we tell them that the office is life-long – even if, of course, with the gifts at some point is over.” A question that arises every now and then: If something happens to the parents – for example, they die in a traffic accident – do sponsors have the duty to act as adoptive parents? “That can of course agree with parents and godparents,” says Lingnau, “but it’s not an automatism that would be legally regulated in any way.”

Mandatory preparation?

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Many questions. But nationwide offers to prepare for the godparenthood are not there on the part of the church. The target group could easily be described, according to Lingnau: “As sponsors, young adults, for example between mid-20s and late 30s, are selected – whether that be the brother or the best friend.” However, this is precisely the age group that the church generally has little in mind with its offers. “Anyone who switches to studying and does not actively seek out the university community is out of the question,” says Lingnau. Often only in the family phase, which begins today classically later, you get back to the church via the baptism of your own child and family worship. “In the intervening time it gets thin and you are left alone in your faith”, says Lingnau. Therefore, the church must generally think about offers to accompany young adults, of which sponsorship courses could be a building block.

Create more meeting rooms for adults, talk more about the topic of baptism in the entire community, also advocates Deacon Wiegelmann. But: As important as the godparent office is, there should not be any kind of commitment to preparatory courses, he emphasizes. “We have to be careful that our standards are not too high and that in the end we scare people off.” A special education of godparents would also contradict the purpose of the godparenthood. “It’s about being a baptized Christian to accompany another baptized Christian in life,” says Wiegelmann. And that is a question of inner attitude and confrontation with the personal faith, but not a question of education. In his work he had the experience that most sponsors are aware of their important office. “Even if they do not always have the classic ‘catechism-understanding’ of the godparenthood, they wish their godchild that his life will succeed,” said Wiegelmann, “and that’s a really Christian statement.”


The ten most beautiful sayings on baptism

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I will bless you and be a blessing (Gen 12,2)

God speaks this sentence to Abraham at an important station of his life. He wants Abraham to set out, leave his homeland and move to another country, which he will show him. It takes a lot of courage. God promises Abraham his blessing and protection on this journey. Connected with this is the wish that Abraham himself may become a blessing to others. It is precisely this blessing of God that is attributed to the baptism in this baptismal message. May every baptized person feel strengthened and protected by God. Nice if it succeeds when a person is so strengthened and blessing for others.

From behind and from the front you have enclosed me, have put your hand on me (Ps 139,5)

Here, the prayer of the psalm reveals a strong testimony of his faith. God’s closeness is like a gift for him. The worshiper finds so deep security with him. Because God holds him, the worshiper promises to belong to him completely. A promise that not only contains a firm promise, but also concludes a new covenant. Every baptized person is to be wished that he may experience this bond with God and his nearness especially. Baptism, too, wants to work like a firm bond between God and the people, which, like a mutual promise of trust, lasts a lifetime.

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For he commands his angels to guard you in all your ways (Ps 91: 11-12)

The Psalmist describes God as a tender Father caring for His creatures. What an encouraging promise! The psalm verse states: ” For he commands his angels to guard you in all your ways, and they carry you on your hands, so that your foot does not bump against a stone.” God puts helpers on the side who help him As parents, one can only protect the children entrusted to him in a limited way, despite the greatest effort and care, unhappiness and suffering occur over the years, so how comforting is this promise that every person is under the care of God and his own Similarly, Psalm 121 also expresses it in verse 7: “The Lord protect you from all evil, he protects your life.” So guarded and secure may be the step into the new life as a Christian.

He does not let your foot waver; your guardian does not slumber in (Ps 121: 3)

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God is described in this psalm verse as a watchful guardian who watches over his creatures and never turns a blind eye. A comforting promise that every person is born of God. Another passage in the Bible even says, ” God bestows me with strength and teaches me the right way.” (2 Sam 22:33) Here, the worshiper trusts that God not only gives power, but also a compass provides guidance in baptism, God’s blessing is awarded to people in a special way May feel every baptized that God is a good companion in all ways of life expression of true joy of life and energy is also found in 2 Sam 22,30:… ” With my God, I skip walls. “ Baptism may be like a leap into a new life as a Christian for the baptized person.

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Through baptism, 160,000 children are admitted annually to the Catholic Church. “Catholic for Beginners” explains the sacrament of baptism and its meaning in faith.

You put my feet in wide space 

The Psalmist in this verse expresses a strong trust in God. God gives him breadth and greatness. Maybe that means a vastness in thinking, acting and in feeling. In any case, from this verse sounds great life courage. After all, baptism is like a departure into a new life with Jesus Christ from the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in another passage in Psalm 22:37, the worshiper thanked God for this: “You created space for my steps, my ankles did not waver,” or in 2 Samuel 22:20, “He led me out into the distance . It becomes clear: faith gives momentum to the life of a Christian. Yet, parents often look with concern at their newborn child and wonder if it will find a good way through life. Even those who are baptized in adulthood, ask about his future life. If the questions of a good and proper life are particularly important, you will find a good baptismal message that will encourage the baptized person to trust God’s promise and go his own way.

Do not be afraid, because I raised you, I called you by name, you are mine! (Isa 43,1)

The Song of the Servant Isaiah speaks a deep trust in God. The worshiper feels secure in God’s hand. Similarly, a verse elsewhere in the Bible in Joshua 1: 9, “Fear not and fear, for the Lord your God is with you everywhere you go,” or the evangelist , is similarly encouraging Mark 6:50 ” Jesus Christ saith, Have faith, it is I, fear not!” What a strong image for the love of God the Father for his children, where the worshiper is asked to trust God completely and to be free Because of the fear of being lost, because God has raised the worshiper, reference is made here to the redemption of Israel from the Babylonian exile, and even in Isaiah 43: 4 it is said, “Because in my eyes you are dear and because I value you, and because I love you, I give people for you and for your life whole peoples. “ The addressed Thou implies the people of Israel, complemented by the promise of God to call each one by his name once becomes god s promise in Isaiah 43.5 highlighted: “Fear not, for I am with you!” What a kindest picture of the nearness of God. In baptism Christians celebrate the unconditional yes of God to the people. Before God, every human being has a name that makes one and only incomparable. The baptized person is to be wished that he can feel this unconditional acceptance with God quite concretely in the great faith family of the church.

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Presentation of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Baptist. Then a voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son, I have pleased you.”

I will never forget you. Look, I have drawn you in my hands (Isa. 49: 15-16).

Every human being is created by God. This confidence is expressed in the word of the prophet Isaiah. God promises that every person is special because he has written it in his hands. This expresses that every single person with his strengths and weaknesses, with his very own personality, is a desired and beloved child of God. This is a beautiful term for the gift of the love of God in a newborn child, an encouraging affirmation to each baptized person, and a strong testimony to the dignity of each individual. Similarly encouraging is the promise of God from the words in Joshua 1: 5-6, in which he strengthens Moses’ successor in capturing the land of Israel with the following words: “I will not let you fall and do not abandon you, be courageous and strong! “

You are my beloved son, I have found pleasure in you (Mark 1:11)

This is the statement Jesus receives at his baptism at the Jordan by John. When Jesus climbs out of the water after being baptized, he sees Heaven open and a dove descend upon Him, and a voice addresses Him as the beloved Son of God. Thus the baptism of Jesus is sealed by the action of the Holy Spirit. Christians too become anointed through holy baptism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also makes this clear: “The newly baptized has become a Christian, that is, anointed by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ, anointed priest, prophet, and king . Christians believe that God is the one Also, every baptism is promised to feel God’s love and God’s yes to the people in every situation of life by the promise: “You are my beloved son, my beloved daughter”.

Baptism – You should know that!

Preparation, worship process and significance: offers information in words, pictures, video formats and as a PDF for printing around baptism.

Find out more about the sacrament of baptism here

For God has not given us a spirit of despondency, but the Spirit of power, love, and prudence. (2 Tim 1: 7)

Timothy was an important person in the early church and was to carry the message of Jesus Christ in the churches. However, like the Apostle Paul, he suffers persecution and imprisonment. In this terrible situation he is, so to speak, encouraged by the letter from outside. Paul asks him to remember his talents and gifts even in a difficult situation and to remain true to his mission. Therefore, Paul also encourages him to remember that he did not receive a fearful spirit, but a spirit that should radiate power, love, and prudence. Who chooses this baptismal praise for his child expresses his own confidence that faith in God also strengthens in desperate situations in a special way.

Rejoice in the hope, be patient in distress, persevere in prayer! (Rom 12:12)

This verse is taken from the letter of the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome. In it, Paul tells his congregation how he concretely imagines the life of faith. For him it is important that the faith remains alive to be experienced and experienced. He therefore recommends that the addressee of the letter be hopeful, patient in difficult situations, and persistent in prayer. Those who choose this baptismal preaching trust the baptismal hope that is a strong foundation for a life of faith.