There are several principles, which provide the basis for an understanding of, and catechesis for, sacraments. These principles are:
- A sacrament involves a covenant relationship with Jesus and, therefore, presumes faith on the part of the individual, the Family, and the community.
- Readiness, not just a particular age or grade level, is the fundamental criterion for determining when an individual should participate in the celebration of a sacrament. Not all persons become ready for sacraments at the same time, nor do they grow in faith at thesame rate.
- The celebration of sacraments is the action of the community where the Lord becomes present in a deeper way. The preparation should lead the individual to greater involvement with the community, and the community should be visibly involved in the individual’s preparation.
- The family has an essential role in preparation for the celebration of a sacrament. A family’s attitude, actions, values and experiences of prayer and worship constantly teach,both positively and negatively, about sacraments. Therefore, families need to be involved in the catechesis, preparation and celebration of sacraments.
- With respect to the sacraments of Initiation, the RCIA provides both principles and patterns for developing catechetical programs and liturgical celebrations.
- It is the canonical right and obligation of pastors to administer the sacraments to their parishioners. Thus, immediate preparation for the sacraments is done in and by the parish in which they are to be celebrated.