DO630CE Sacramental Theology

A comprehensive study of the theology and rites for administering the Sacraments.  The course examines biblical foundations for each sacrament, the way that the Church has understood and practiced its life of prayer and sanctification throughout history using the sacraments. It focuses on the way that the Church currently celebrates the Sacraments. Preparation for diaconal ministry is achieved through an understanding of the developmental history of each sacrament and a study of the liturgical texts

Course Syllabus

DO630CE Sacramental Theology

Course Format

A twelve-week course consisting of on-line studies, on-line collaboration, weekly blogs.

Course Description

This course presents a comprehensive study of the theology and rites of the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. For each sacrament, we will examine the biblical foundations, the way that the Church has understood and practiced its life of prayer and sanctification throughout history, and the way that the Roman Catholic Church currently celebrates the Rites of the Sacraments.

An emphasis is placed on:

  • personal integration of materials studied;
  • developing one’s ability to clearly communicate the meaning of the Sacraments in a ministry setting;
  • studies of the current Catholic Rites
  • preparation of a teaching approach applicable in one’s ministry context (present or future)


Weekly readings, postings and specific assignments will guide students through this process.

  • To familiarize the students with source material of Catholic Sacramental Theology, Biblical roots and historical developments.
  • To examine the liturgy and meaning of particular sacraments.
  • To situate Catholic sacramental practices within pastoral contexts relevant to participants present or future ministry settings.
  • To apply principles of Catholic Sacramental teaching in the student’s ministry context.



The course is designed to provide students with

  • better understanding of the historical development of each sacrament celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church;
  • opportunity to study the liturgical texts for each sacrament, understanding of how symbols and rituals function in everyday life, in society, and in religion;
  • background knowledge applicable to a pastoral setting;
  • appreciation of the relationship between liturgical worship and Christian living;
  • application of this understanding in catechesis;
  • insight into some of the pastoral and catechetical issues surrounding the sacramental
  • preparations, celebration of Rites and pastoral opportunities.



Upon successful completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Read and analyze major Catholic documents on the Sacraments.
  • Examine and engage in specific sacramental preparations based on the Church’s teaching and one’s ability to guide and instruct.
  • Engage in the explorations of the weak and strong points of sacramental practices in one’s context of ministry.



Student’s grade will be based on the completion of:

  • Blog assignment (15%)
  • Journal entries (40%)
  • Three Interview reports (35%)
  • Final examination (10%)


Required Text:

Students should purchase the following books for the course:

  • Joseph Martos, Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Revised and Updated Edition. Liguori Press, 2001. ISBN: 0-7648-0718-8 (Online Bookstore for J. Martos)
  • Allan Bouley, editor, Catholic Rites Today: Abridged Texts for Students. The Liturgical Press, 1992. ISBN: 0-8146-2032-9 (Online Bookstore for A. Bouley)


On-line Resources

  • Students are recommended to buy and read, but not required, The Catechism of the Catholic Church. An online version may be found at the USCCB website.
  • Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • Redemptionis Sacramentum
  • Sacraments on USCCB website.
  • Christian Initiation Coordinator Guide - RCIA: Archdiocese of Washington
  • Sacrosanctum Concilium – Vatican Site.
  • Mediator Dei – Vatican Site


Joseph Martos

Introduction to the Sacraments Part 1 Introduction to the Sacraments Part 2





Module 1 Sacramentality Introduction to the historical and scriptural foundations of Sacramental Theology


Introductory remarks by J. Martos: What are Sacraments?
Martos, Doors to the Sacred, pp. 1-59, 102-146
In addition, students are required to post an introduction of themselves on the Profile section of the course.
Optional: Instruction: Redemptionis Sacramentum
Module 2 Baptism Reading:
Introductory remarks on Baptism: The Sacrament of Baptism.
Martos, Chapter 6 and
Bouley, Christian Initiation (RCIA and Rite of Baptism of Children), pp. 33-162
Module 3 Confirmation Reading:
Introduction: Confirmation: the Sacrament of the Spirit. Martos, Chapter 7
Bouley, Rite of Confirmation, pp. 164-188
Module 4 Eucharist Reading:
Introductory remarks on the Eucharist.
Martos, Chapter 8 and
Bouley, Original GIRM, pp. 192-225,
Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy, “The Theological Vision of Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Roman Missal”
Recommended Reading: New GIRM
Module 5 Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation


Introductory remarks on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Updates are one of the available materials helpful in a general preparation for the Sacrament or other catechetical moments.Martos, Chapter 9 and
Bouley, Part IV, The Rite of Penance, pp. 395-430
Module 6 Anointing of the Sick Reading:
Introductory remarks on the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The Updates are one of the available materials helpful in a general preparation for the Sacrament or other catechetical moments,
Martos, Chapter 10 and
Bouley, Part VII, Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, pp. 489-548
Module 7 Sacraments of Vocation: Matrimony Introductory remarks on the Sacrament of Marriage. Reading: Martos, Chapter 11 and
Bouley, Part V, The Rite of Marriage, pp. 431-452
Module 8 Holy Orders Introductory remarks on the Sacrament of Holy Orders Reading: Martos, Chapter 12
Bouley, Part VI, The Rite of Ordination, pp. 453-488
Module 9 The Context of the Sacraments: Environment and Music in the celebration of the Sacraments Readings:
Introductory remarks:
Mass Should Be More of a Celebration (Question #1)USCCB, “Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture and Worship.” (Chapters 1 to 3)

Celebrating the Beauty of Faith: The Eucharist and Sacred Art

Music and the proclamation of God’s Word

Envision Church: Optional reading on Art Architecture and Sacred Space

Module 10 Parish Sacramental Experience Readings:

Introductory remarks: Parish Ministry Today
As I Have Done For You: A Pastoral Letter on Ministry

Module 11 Sacramental Preparation


Introductory remarks on the Adult Catechism: SacramentsSacramental Catechesis – aspects of sacramental preparation and review.
Module 12 Sacraments and Social Mission of the Church Readings: USCCB

Communities Of Salt And Light Reflections On The Social Mission Of The Parish (USCCB, 1996)

Sacraments and social Mission (USCCB, 2013)

Please Note:

  • All assignments and examinations are compulsory.
  • The instructor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus if necessary; any changes will be made in consultation with students and school administration.