Sacraments at St. Peter Claver

Rectory Phone # – 304-523-7311
Church Email –

Before scheduling a baptism: Parents should prepare for the baptism of their infant with faith, prayer, and an adequate understanding of the Sacrament of Baptism. This includes taking instructions with the Pastor. One or both parents must attend a Baptism class before your child’s Baptism. Parents are expected to take up the responsibility of helping their children to know and love God, to share in the Eucharistic celebrations, to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, and to always encourage them in a life of faith and devotion. At least one Godparent is required, but you may have two. Godparents can only be practicing Catholics. They must be baptized and confirmed and members in good standing with the Catholic Church. They must be in a regular marriage situation (see below). You may also have a Christian Witness if you wish, though it is not required. The Christian Witnesses can only be baptized Protestants and not anyone who was baptized into the Catholic Church. Children seven (7) years of age and older will participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC). (See “Catechumenate” below) Adults who would like baptism and the other sacraments will go through the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). (See “Catechumenate” below) Baptisms are generally celebrated on Sundays at 12:30 (after the 11 AM Mass). However, we are unable to schedule the date for baptisms until all paperwork has been completed, and the Godparents are verified.

Being aware of the following concerning godparents (and sponsors) will help to expedite the baptism process. Conversely, being unaware of the following has historically delayed the baptism process:

  • Fill out the baptism registration below.
  • Schedule baptism preparation class, if needed. One class every 5-6 years (or a letter explaining that preparation was completed if done at a different parish).
  • Discuss the required paperwork to be submitted and approved before scheduling the baptism.

Choosing Eligible and Faithful Godparents: (*applies to confirmation sponsors, as well)

  1. They are fully initiated and practicing Catholic:
    1. They have received baptism, confirmation, and communion.
    2. They are registered with a parish and are regularly attending Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation.
  2. Make sure they are eligible to be Godparents:
    1. They are at least 16 years old.
    2. They are not one of the parents.
    3. If they are married, they are married in the Church or given dispensation not to do so. If they have been married more than once, the first marriage ended in the death of the spouse or an annulment.
    4. If they are single and in a relationship, they are not cohabiting.
  3. Have them complete the godparent forms: (Available in the office, by mail, or by email)
    1. Godparent/Sponsor Certificate – Signed and sealed by the godparent’s current pastor.
    2. Godparent/Sponsor Information Sheet
    3. Have them request their baptism certificate from the parish where they were baptized, including all sacramental notations.

Once the paperwork is complete, the Pastor will call to schedule the baptism!

Baptismal Certificate

  • In addition to the above forms, Godparents/Christian Witnesses (Protestants only) must also send a copy of their baptismal certificate to the Parish Office.

Baptism Forms · (insert links to any form(s) parents need to complete)

Children begin to prepare for Reconciliation in the second grade. Your child must be enrolled in CCD instructions or a Catholic school curriculum. All children must have attended formal religious education at the very least during their first-grade year. If your child was not Baptized at St. Peter Claver Church, a baptismal certificate must be submitted at the beginning of their second-grade school year. First Holy Eucharist is usually celebrated in May. For older children who have not yet celebrated this sacrament, special arrangements are made according to individual and family needs.

First Reconciliation Files Examination of Conscience (pdf)

How To Make A Good Confession In Eight Simple Steps (.pdf)

The Eucharist is the culmination of the three Sacraments of Initiation. We are called to honor it as the source and summit of the Christian life. Children’s preparation for the first reception of the Eucharist begins in the home. The family has the most important role in communicating the Christian values that form the foundation for a child’s understanding of the Eucharist. Formal catechesis begins for students in the second grade. This includes instructions and regular attendance at either a Catholic grade school, CCD class, (or approved home-school catechesis), attendance at two Experience Days, and weekly Mass attendance. The children will learn the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be prayers during this preparation time. Attendance at two parent sessions is expected. A baptismal certificate is required of those children that were not baptized at St. Joseph the Worker Church. This sacrament unites us closely with Jesus and nourishes our life in Christ received at Baptism.

To receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, a person must be Baptized and have completed the 6th grade. Unlike in recent years, confirmation will be every two years in the fall (2020, 22, 24, etc.). It will primarily be for 7th and 8th graders, but also for those who are Catholic but still need Confirmation. Announcements will be made in the bulletin, on the website, at Mass, and at the schools when Confirmation preparation is approaching. It is of high importance that we get the sponsor information as quickly as possible. It’s never too early to start looking for your sponsor. See the section on Baptism for the requirements to be a sponsor*. Confirmation candidates must fully participate in the Confirmation sessions and at the Sunday Liturgy. Regular attendance at CCD or an approved home-school program is expected. Arrangements can be made according to the circumstances. Please call the Pastor at the rectory (304)523-7311 for information.

Those planning a marriage should contact the rectory office (304)523-7311 at least six months prior to your wedding. Both parties must be free to marry. If an annulment is needed, please make an appointment as soon as possible with a priest. The date cannot be set until this happens. The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston requires all couples to attend Pre-Cana classes.

As a reminder, the Anointing of the Sick is not just a sacrament for those who are dying or about to die. The sacrament can also be given more than once. Here is what the Catechism says: The Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for them to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.”

If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness, the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just before a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced. – Catechism of the Catholic Church, Par. 1514-1515, quoting Pope Paul VI

It is also worth repeating that there is a distinction between “Anointing of the Sick” and “Last Rites.” The two have often been conflated, but there is a difference. The simple explanation is that Last Rites are prayers and petitions that are added to the Anointing of the Sick when death is imminent. This sacrament closely joins our sufferings to Christ’s and strengthens us in the hope of the resurrection. It is preferred that if the person can, they partake of the Sacrament of Penance beforehand, and the Sacrament of the Eucharist afterwards. That way they are purified, united to Christ’s suffering by which we are saved and given the strength of his whole life in his very own body and blood. If death is near, that reception of the Eucharist is called “Viaticum” or the “provisions for the journey.” The eucharist nourishes their soul for the final journey to their heavenly homeland and prepares their body for its eventual resurrection and glorification in Christ.

If you need to request this sacrament, please call the rectory at 304-523-711.

The discernment of one’s vocation may be the most important duty of each Christian. The vocation is a divine call from God that requires an informed and free response. Our greatest example from scripture is the Blessed Mother’s fiat in response to the angel Gabriel. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:28). What are the consequences if Mary would have said “no”?

Many objects give a person pleasure without joy. Some people desire to be famous, drive fast cars, or make lots of money. The pursuit of these things may give temporary happiness but will leave a person empty. We have a natural desire to be happy and there is only one who can fulfill this desire completely. God alone satisfies (St. Thomas Aquinas).

Many people misunderstand the role of a career as part of a vocation. A career as a doctor, lawyer, accountant, business manager, dental hygienist, or truck driver is not a vocation. The catechism states that there are four vocations within the life of the Church – priesthood, religious life, marriage, and the single life. The key to discerning your vocation is a strong prayer life and frequent participation in the sacraments like Mass or Penance.

If you feel a call to the priesthood then the best thing to do is to talk to the Vocation Director of the Diocese. Let’s face it – this is a big step. Quiet possibly, a discerning fellow thinks about the priesthood, prays about the priesthood, and maybe talks to one or two close friends about the priesthood. But to figure out what the Lord is calling you to do, you need to talk to the Vocation Director of the Diocese.

The Vocation Director’s main job is to listen to your story and to help you to affirm and recognize what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life. He will help you to connect with a priest who will serve as your spiritual director, a person you can speak to regularly, and will assist you on this journey of discernment. His responsibility is to guide you through the application process, which is also a discernment process. Throughout the application process, the discerning fellow continues to ask the question “Am I called?”

Office of Vocations 1311 Byron St. P.O. Box 230 Wheeling, WV 26003 Telephone: (304) 233-0880 ext. 442 Email:

The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) is the process for adults who desire to join the Catholic faith and for those seeking more information on the Catholic Church.  OCIA can also be a method for Catholics to complete their reception of the initiation sacraments.  The manual used in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults states that the rite is designed for adults “who after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God.” The manual also states when speaking about those in the process “By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time receive the sacraments fruitfully.”


  • Non-Catholics who want to find out more about the Catholic Faith
  • Those who want to join the Catholic Church through Baptism, or Profession of Faith
  • Those who were baptized Catholic as infants but never received religious education, Confirmation, or First Eucharist.

For children who are age seven or older, they will come into the Church through the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children.) For adults and children, they will have one sponsor each. The sponsor must meet the same conditions as godparents to be sponsors, as they serve a very similar function in the service of the Church. (See section on Baptism for Sponsor Requirements).

To find the next OCIA Sessions please call the rectory (304) 523-7311 for more information.

Catholics Come Home

Have you felt a tug recently calling you back to the Church? Whether you’ve been away for a little while or for quite some time, pay attention to that tug you feel. That is your Heavenly Father reaching out to you to draw you back through the Holy Spirit to an active life in Jesus’ Risen Body – the Church!

Those returning to a practice of their Catholic Faith after some time away are welcome to attend any Mass and to become actively involved in parish activities but are encouraged also to contact our Parish Pastor, Fr. Shaji Thomas for assistance in their journey back to receiving Holy Communion, which normally would take place after a celebration of God’s love and mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Catholics Come Home.