An “outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace,” a sacrament is a symbol which actually embodies the thing it symbolizes. So, for example, Holy Communion is something more than a ceremony in which bread and wine are shared. The consecrated bread and wine, which symbolize Christ’s body and blood, actually communicate Christ’s life to us. Likewise, Baptism is something more than a ceremony in which water is poured over a person’s head. The consecrated water, which symbolizes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, actually communicates the Holy Spirit, incorporates us into the Body of Christ and initiates a new life.

It may seem superstitious to attach such powers to a pitcherful of water. It may seem odd that God, who is pure spirit, would choose to use ordinary materials like bread and wine to make himself present to us. But this is what we are saying when we proclaim that in Jesus, “the Word was made flesh.” In Christ Jesus, the invisible God has made himself known to us, and very present to us, in the material of human flesh and blood. And it was Jesus who taught his disciples to baptize all nations and to keep the feast of his Body and Blood.

The two most frequently celebrated sacraments are Baptism and Eucharist, but St. John’s also administers Holy Matrimony, Healing, and Reconciliation (confession) as sacraments. The Diocese of Albany offers the sacrament of Confirmation to those who have completed a fairly extensive preparation, such as that available at St. John’s, Troy.  For more information about any of the sacraments and the preparation appropriate for their reception, please contact our office at


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