At the Easter Vigil April 3 at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Archbishop Alexander Sample reminded listeners and viewers about the mind-boggling reality of the sacraments.

“The sacraments make what they symbolize happen,” Archbishop Sample said moments before baptizing, confirming and giving Communion to a group of new Catholics. Sacraments are not just rites of passage, but outward signs of ongoing grace given by Jesus himself, the archbishop explained.

During the nighttime liturgy, he said that those who are baptized become partakers in the divine nature. Something happens in the waters that never can be wiped away, he said, explaining that even those who leave the church and profess atheism are marked and that the Lord waits for their return.

As Jesus used physical actions, gestures and materials in his healings and miracles, the sacraments bring his grace and eternal life to people now, the archbishop said.

“He does not want us to carry the burden of sin anymore,” the archbishop said. “He wants to lift that from us.”