By offering his living presence here at St. Ambrose, Jesus is our intimate companion and point of entry into the very life of the Triune God. The Church teaches that the sacraments are signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church. It is through the sacraments that divine life is given to us, and it is through the visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated that their graces are made present.
The sacraments bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131). The laity (those who share in the priesthood of baptism) and the clergy (those who share in the priesthood of ordained ministry) celebrate the sacraments together, prepared by the Word of God and the faith that welcomes that Word. The sacraments strengthen faith and express faith, and their fruit is both personal and for the whole Church. There are seven sacraments. The Catechism categorizes them into three groups:
The Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)
Sacrament of Baptism
“Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 985
Through Baptism, the human person is washed clean of original sin and restored to the image and likeness of God. The parish welcomes families into the St. John’s community with a preparation class prior to the Sacrament of Baptism of their child.
First-time, expectant parents must attend a prior instruction on the Sacrament of Baptism. Please call the Parish Office at 703-280-4400 to make the necessary arrangements.
Sacrament of Confirmation
“Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.” –Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1316
The Sacrament of Confirmation is conferred on candidates from our parish who have completed a special year long program of study and service done in conjunction with the Parish School or Religious Education Program. Confirmation is normally celebrated in the fall of a student’s 8th grade academic year by the Bishop of Arlington, or by another bishop designated by the diocese.
For more information on how to enter the parish preparation program for Confirmation, please contact the parish school or the parish Religious Education Office.
1. Sponsor Eligibility Packet and Form
2. Confirmation Data Form
3. How to Choose a Confirmation Saint
4. Request for Baptismal Certificate
5. Saint's List
6. Works of Mercy Hours Form
7. Catholic Shops and Bookstores
8. Confirmation Letter of Intent
9. Confirmation Patron Saint Essay
10. Corporal Works of Mercy and Reflection Guidelines and Form
11. Letter to the Bishop Sample
12. Novena to the Holy Spirit
13. St. Ambrose Confirmation Preparation
14. Study Guide for Confirmation
15. Why I want to be Confirmed Letter
Sacrament of the Eucharist
“In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’ ‘This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present." –Catechism of the Catholic Church 1374
First Communion takes place as a parish celebration each year in May. Normally the children making their first Holy Communion have completed a special sacramental preparation program in their 2nd grade class, either in the parish school or the parish Religious education program. This special sacramental preparation program prepares children to make their first confession in the fall, and then their first Holy Communion in May.
For more information on how to enter the special children sacramental program for first Holy Communion, please contact the parish school or the parish Religious Education Office.
1. Baptismal Form (First Communion)
2. First Holy Communion Fact Sheet for Parents
3. Benedict XVI Explanation of Prayer for Children
4. Precepts of the Church
5. The Real Presence
6. 2013 First Holy Communion DVD Order Form
7. Save the Date/Calendear of Events
8. Confession for Children
9. Going to Confession for Adults
10. Act of Contrition
Sick and homebound parishioners should call the Parish Office at (703) 280-4400, to arrange for a visit from an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
The Sacraments of Healing (Penance & Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick)
Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
"The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."–Catechism of the Catholic Church 1468
Men and women are in constant need of the Lord’s mercy, healing and renewal. Come experience the peace that only Christ can give as he washes away your sins, guilt and regret. Receive the grace to “go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). If you have not been to Confession in a long time, ask the priest to help you. Wondering how to begin? Try this examination of conscience.
Saturdays 9:45 am until the line ends/ 3:00-4:00 pm Saturdays.
By appointment. Please call the Parish Office.
Advent and Lent: Wednesdays 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Anointing of the Sick
“By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 1521
This sacrament is available to any sick or elderly parishioner, especially if they are homebound, in a hospital, in a nursing home, preparing for surgery, recovering from medical treatment, or in hospice care. When you contact the parish office requesting this sacrament, depending on the health condition of the person, you may schedule the sacrament to be celebrated at the church, in your home, or in a local medical facility.
If your family member is at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, there is a Catholic priest serving on staff as the full time chaplain to Catholics. In order to request the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick or other sacraments, please contact the Hospital’s Pastoral Care office at (703) 776-3767. If you need a priest at the hospital in an emergency after normal office hours or on weekends, please ask your nurse to page the Catholic priest chaplain.
Each week Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are assigned to bring Holy Communion to the homebound and to residents at the five nursing homes located in our parish. If a sick or elderly person wishes to speak with a priest or receive the sacraments, they may also inform the Extra-Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion and they will contact the parish priests.
To schedule a meeting with a priest and the celebration of the Anointing of the Sick, please contact the parish office.
The Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Matrimony, Holy Orders)
Sacrament of Marriage
“The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 1660
The St. Ambrose parish community rejoices with couples called to the Vocation of Marriage and Family. To schedule a date for your marriage, kindly contact the Parish office at least six months in advance by calling (703) 280-4400. Couples should note that we ask for six month preparation time so that they can learn about and fully understand that, on their wedding day, they administer the sacrament to one another with the priest acting as a presider. As a public sign and affirmation of God’s grace, the couple offers to the community this sign that their vows are not merely a private contract between two people, but instead, the beginning of a new family of love modeled after the Holy Trinity.
Sacrament of Holy Orders
“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church 1536
Men of the parish who feel called to the Sacrament of Holy Orders, either as priests or deacons, are encouraged to talk to the priests of the parish for guidance and counsel. The Diocesan Vocations Office has additional resources and support for those who are discerning a vocation to the religious life. Diocesan Vocations Office : (703) 841-8472
Parish Vocations Committee: Volunteers who implement diocesan programs within the parish to stimulate vocations to the religious life, consecrated life, or priesthood. Conatct Meredith Hinkle at (703)-273-5848 or email firstname.lastname@example.org