Pathways – Exploring the Sacraments



The Church presents us with many ways by which to come to know, love and serve God.  They include various types of prayer and charitable action, the reading of sacred scripture, and participation in the Sacraments.

She also reminds us that the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, desires to be known, loved and served.  They are forever seeking to draw us closer to Themselves, as well as to each other.  We can find this difficult to appreciate, especially if our prayer life has waned, we have been away from the Church for a time, or  have yet to learn about God’s preferred means of communicating with us.  

The more we understand God’s ways of reaching out to us, the easier it becomes for us to receive God and the gifts, such as peace , knowledge, courage etc., that God desires to share with us.

This initiative, which invites participation in twelve one-and-a-half-hour group sessions over a twelve month period, is firmly rooted in learning more about how God seeks to draw close to us through the seven sacraments of the Church.  More specifically it will offer opportunities:

  • To  become aware of, consider and discuss how Christ reaches out to us in and through the sacraments
  • To discuss the Church’s teaching regarding the seven sacraments in a friendly and respectful manner
  • To explore some of the scriptural underpinnings of each sacrament 
  • To examine how Christ seeks to meet, heal, strengthen and nourish us through each sacrament
  • To engage in faith-enquiry in a gentle, light-hearted and non-threatening way
  • To discuss what it is to live ‘a Catholic life’
  • for scripture-based prayer (led and directed by facilitator) connected with the sacraments.

A Second Option

Mindful that some adults will not aspire to engage with all seven sacraments, it will also be possible for adults to join groups  for the session or sessions specific to the sacrament or sacraments that interest them.  For example, Parish Baptismal Team members, Parish Pastoral Council members or parents with a child for Baptism may like to join the group for the two sessions pertaining to Baptism. Extraordinatory Ministers of the Eucharist and Ministers of the Word may like to undertake the two sessions pertaining to the Eucharist, and people in caring roles, the sessions on the Sacraments of Healing and Reconciliation.  We also encourage women and men with an interest in marriage in contemporary society to undertake the session pertaining to Marriage.  We do recommend, however, that everyone undertake at least one of the first two sessions  as these offer a general introduction to all seven sacraments  and introduce participants to this initiative’s modus operandi.


What can participants expect?

The exploration will run in three blocks of fortnightly sessions, i.e. groups meeting fortnightly for up to one-and-a-half hours over an eight-week period, then taking a break for a month or two, before undertaking the next set of sessions.

As conversation is an important aspect of this initaitive, all groups will be accompanied by a trained facilitator / catechist, and in so far as clergy are free to participate, a priest or deacon.   

Participants open to exploring all seven sacraments will be invited to take a loan copy of the Christian Community Bible for the duration of the initiative.  They will also receive a booklet, the content of which will be explored during sessions and can be mulled over between sessions.  This is to facilitate them devote an hour to related reading and reflection between sessions … but that is not essential.


Elements Of A Typical Session

  • Welcome 
  • Word of introduction from facilitator and brief recap on previous session
  • Shared reading and pondering of short passages of scripture pertaining to the sacrament being explored
  • Shared reading from booklet, pausing periodically to discuss insights etc. offered
  • A time of  prayer, where we direct our  hearts and minds to God.

Group Size

Ideally groups will have a core membership of eight or  more adults (those open to exploring all seven sacraments)  and be open to accommodating a similar number of adults open to exploring specific sacraments.


Opportunities To Participate

At this time it is envisaged that groups will form in Sligo, Boyle, Roscommon and Athlone and that groups will begin to meet in either May or Sepember.  

All interested in participating are encouraged to contact Justin Harkin @ 087 6171526 / [email protected] 

Once ‘core groups’ are established, details will appear on this web page and be communicated through parish newsletters, texting and email services etc.



A donation of €15 to €20 would be appreciated toward printing and venue / light and heat costs.
Facilitators very kindly give their time free-of-charge.


Further Enquiries

Please ring, text or email Justin on 087 6171526  / [email protected]


Updated: 22/04/2024.