- from CatholicCulture.org
Unlike sacraments, which were instituted by Jesus, sacramentals have been instituted by the Church. They do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit themselves, but instead prepare us to receive that grace or remind us of grace we have already seen. Thus, holy water reminds us of our baptism, holy oils recall healings and of the body and spirit, and incense is a sign of blessing and respect. Together, these sacramentals form an important part of Church ritual and worship and add to the beauty and solemnity of our Catholic faith.