The Middle Ages for Kids - Parish Priests & the Sacraments Illustration

Middle Ages for Kids
Parish Priests and
the Sacraments

Life in Medieval Europe was very hard for most people. However, the people believed that if you followed certain steps you could get into heaven where everything was great. Those steps were called the Sacraments.

The Sacraments:

  1. Baptism
  2. Confirmation
  3. Marriage. Divorce was unheard of. You could only remarry if your spouse died. In medieval times, war, disease, and hunger caused many deaths. It was not uncommon for a woman to be married four times in her lifetime.
  4. Penance. You had to confess your sins to a priest.
  5. Communion. This was the most important of the sacraments. Each mass, Those who had confessed all sins and had not yet committed new sins could participate in communion. During mass, people taking communion would receive a blessed wheat wafer and a sip from a specially blessed cup of wine.
  6. Taking Care of the Sick
  7. Holy Orders. You could take holy orders at any time. A woman might have been married several times, yet still could become a nun, provided she could find a convent who would accept her. Once someone became a monk or a nun, they could not return to their former life.

Some of these like baptism and confirmation you did only once in your life. Some like penance and communion you did frequently. In medieval times, the church charged people for each of the sacraments. The charge might be payment in money or doing something to bring glory to god. They accepted (required) donations to feed the poor and build new churches.

Religion in the Middle Ages