Baptism is one of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church; frequently called the “first sacrament” as it is the gateway to the rest of the sacraments.
In the Western or Latin Church, baptism is usually conferred by an authorized minister by pouring water three times on the recipient’s head, while reciting the baptismal formula: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (cf. Matthew 28:19).
The Basics of Baptism
Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of the mystical body of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word. (CCC: 1213)”. Our Christian Faith tells us that in Baptism, we:
- are reborn through water and the Holy Spirit as adopted children of God;
- join Jesus in his death and resurrection as we pass through the water;
- become members of the Church in which the Holy Spirit dwells and acts;
- become disciples of the Lord Jesus;
- are given the pledge of eternal life; and
- are forgiven of sin and transformed into a new creation full of God’s grace.
Preparation for Baptism
When you are ready to have your child baptized, please contact the Parish Rectory at least three (3) months in advance of your intended date for your child to receive the Sacrament. The parents will then meet with the baptism coordinator to complete registration and ask any questions they have at this time. Parents are required to complete a Baptism Preparation course. The course consists of one three (3) hour session. Baptism Preparation courses are conducted several times during the year and are required for the first baptism at our parish. The course can be taken before the birth of your child.
The Parents’ Commitment
The celebration of Baptism is the first step in the making of a Christian. Following Baptism, your child begins the journey of Faith toward full membership in the Christian community by the eventual celebration of his/ her First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Parents are asked to encourage and support the faith life of their baptized child each step along the way and to bring them up practicing the faith, including regular Sunday attendance at Mass. This is the commitment parents make on their child’s baptismal day (Rite of Baptism for Children, CCCB, p.94) and as a couple during the Rite of the Celebration of Marriage (Rite of Marriage, CCCB, p.52)
The Role of Godparents
Since godparents take on two roles – that of support for the parents in the Catholic upbringing of their child, and that of representing the Christian community into which the child is being initiated – they must be practicing Catholics (fully initiated through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) who are mature enough (must be 16 years of age or older) to undertake this role. (Code of Canon Law, Canon 872)
The child may have only one or two godparents. If two godparents are chosen, one is to be a man and the other a woman. (Code of Canon Law, Canon 873) A Christian witness can act as an official witness but there must be at least one Catholic godparent.
A parent may not serve as a godparent because the parent already has a distinct role and relationship with the child. A godparent’s role is separate from that of a parent or legal guardian.
What Will Happen at the Celebration?
The following is a brief outline of the Baptismal Rite when celebrated during Mass:
- Reception of the child. The parents and godparents are questioned about their intentions and the child is claimed for Christ.
- Preparatory Rites. After a short prayer, the bishop/priest/deacon anoints the child with the Oil of Catechumens for spiritual strength.
- Rite of Baptism. This includes the blessing of the water, the vows of renunciation, the profession of faith, the Baptism, an anointing with Sacred Chrism, the clothing with a white garment and the lighting and presentation of the baptismal candle.
When Baptism is celebrated outside of the Mass, a Liturgy of the Word comprising of a proclamation of Sacred Scripture and the offering of intercessions occurs after the reception of the child. The celebration concludes with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and special blessings on the parents before the final blessing and dismissal.
When are Baptisms Celebrated?
The Celebration of Baptism is celebrated the first Sunday of each month. When scheduled, Baptisms are preformed after the 10:30 am Mass.
For more information or to register, please contact the Parish Rectory.