The seven official sacraments of the Catholic Church are rooted in two things: (1) the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and (2) the Tradition of the Catholic Church – the Church’s wisdom, teaching and practice handed down throughout the ages under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The seven sacraments help us remember that Christ is the sacrament of salvation, which we experience through the life of the Church. Through the seven sacraments, we remember the life, ministry, and message of Jesus, and celebrate anew his risen presence among us.
In the sacraments, we are given outward signs of God's real presence. The ordinary materials of water, oil, bread and wine become divine substances in which Christ himself meets us directly, here and now. The sacraments of the Church incorporate many symbols. They symbolize the life and work of Jesus Christ. They are wonderful gifts from God.
Excerpt from The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth (Saint Mary’s Press 2004)