St Mary's Uttoxeter

Rights and Rites

15 Jan 2019 • Articles

Rites of Passage are special events in people's lives which encourage them in taking the next step in their development, showing people around them that the step is being taken. Some Rites of Passage happen naturally, like being born and having a birthday each year, but most are marked by ceremonies which give new rights and demonstrate that something good has been achieved or is happening.

Baptism is the first Rite of Passage in most Christian lives. Parents and godparents present the child to God to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, and they promise to bring the child up as a believing member of the Christian Church.Confirmation shows that the prayers and example of the child's parents and godparents and other role models have successfully helped the young Christian to reach a mature faith. In Confirmation a grown-up commitment to God is made, and a new and stronger supply of God's grace is received. It is always a joyful occasion when confirmation candidates affirm their belief and trust in God in the presence of the Bishop and are confirmed and anointed, strengthening and sealing their faith, and then kneel to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time.

For many Christians there will be other Rites of Passage, such as the Wedding Ceremony, giving God's blessing on a permanent partnership and the beginning of a new family life.

As they grow more mature, some members of the Church feel a call to work publicly for God as pastors and priests. Bishops have the duty of deciding who should be a priest, and the people selected receive the Rite of Passage of Ordination, after which they are allowed to celebrate Holy Communion, to pronounce God's absolution and to give God's blessing.

Rites of Passage are sometimes known as Life Events: how eventful has your life been so far?