Congratulations on the birth of your child! The Parish Community shares in your joy. Thank you for wanting to have your baby join the family of the Church through Baptism. By asking for your baby’s Baptism, you are publicly thanking God for His gift to you and making a commitment to bring up your child in the Christian faith.
We will help you carry out your decision by giving you our wholehearted support.
Baptism Preparation Meetings
Since Baptism is not merely a naming ceremony for your child, but rather a welcoming of each new Christian into our parish community, these are very much community celebrations. We have a team of Baptism Friends who visit each family in their own home to help them to prepare for the big day. They will help your family to become familiar with the ceremony itself, with what is expected of you; they will explain the practicalities of the day, and answer any questions that might arise. They will also be present at the Baptism, welcoming each child on behalf of the parish community.
Time for celebration and Joy!
Your baby’s baptism is a time for celebration and joy. And, naturally, you want the best for your baby. We want to help you plan and prepare for the baptism in the best possible way.
Much to do
It’s likely that at the moment you are concerned about the birth of your baby. Either it’s an event you are waiting for; or you are still recovering from it. Before the baby arrives there is so much to think about; where will the baby sleep, baby’s clothes, will the baby be completely healthy, perhaps even the prospect of twins? Then, all of a sudden, there is chaos. The baby finally arrives and there is no time to think. There is so much to get done. Some people think of baptism simply as something else to “get done”. They speak of baptism as having the baby “done”. That’s very sad. For baptism is a birth into the Christian community and is in every way as solemn and important as birth itself. It’s an event that needs to be prepared for.
An important Question
Why have you requested baptism for your child in the Church?
There may be many reasons…Seems to be the thing to do? Someone else in the family wants it? It’s on my “to do” list? I’m afraid something might happen my child? It’s a significant step that starts the faith journey?
Your faith is important
Your most important preparation is to look at your own faith. Your baby will be born with your features and will pick up your mannerisms. As he or she gets older your child will grow up, too, with your faith. That is why, when you approach the church about having your child baptised you will be encouraged to think through your own faith and the part it plays in your life. The very fact that you have asked to have your baby baptised shows that you recognise the importance of God in your life. From the earliest days, children too young to answer for themselves have been baptised, usually as they accompanied their parents into the Church. For the church recognises the desire of Christian parents to share the life of Christ with their children. Jesus Christ, like you, wants the best for your child.
Growing in God’s Love
Your efforts will not only help your baby to grow up in the love of God: they will also help you to grow. As you teach your child to pray you yourself will deepen your prayer; as you teach your child to appreciate the Mass your own faith will be enriched. Your baby’s baptism is only the beginning of a new life in which you will grow closer to one another in the family and closer to God. The Church welcomes your child into its midst with love and prayers for the future peace and happiness of your family in the years ahead.
How the Church sees Baptism
The Church sees Baptism as the first important step on the Christian journey. On the day your child was born, he/she was welcomed into their family. On the day of baptism they are welcomed into the bigger family of the Lord, the Church. In baptism we enter into a unique and special relationship with the person of Jesus Christ and we try to live out that relationship in and through the people around us. Or put another way … In Baptism we become
- A son/daughter of God the Father
- A brother/sister of Jesus Christ
- A temple of the Holy Spirit
- A member of God’s family, the Church.
The Symbols Used in the Baptism Ceremony
The Sign of the Cross:
A stamp or imprint on something is a sign of its origin or ownership. The sign of the cross which we make at the beginning of the ceremony on the child’s forehead, claims him/her for Christ.
In the Celebration of Baptism TWO different oils are used;
- The Oil of catechumens – The child is anointed on the chest with this oil as a sign that the Lord is giving them strength for the Christian journey they are beginning.
- The Oil of Chrism – A very sacred oil, which the child is anointed with on the top of the head. Oil is used to anoint kings and monarchs, it sets people aside for a mission. We are set aside for the Christian mission on the day we are baptised.
Profession of Faith:
YOU have requested baptism for your child. In doing this YOU ARE MAKING A COMMITMENT to bringing up your child in the faith. – We promise to live by Christian values and pass on those values to our child. We promise to bring our child to Mass and the Sacraments, for this is what it means to belong to the Christian family. Therefore we profess the faith that we promise, before the community gathered, to pass onto our child. We pray for the grace to live as good Christian witnesses before our child.
Water is essential for life! In Baptism, water symbolises the new life we receive in Christ. Just as we nurture and care for a plant or shrub, in order for it to live a healthy life, we too must nurture and care for our faith in order for it to grow healthy and strong.
The White Robe is a symbol of Christ. After they were baptised, the early Christians used to clothe themselves in white garments to show that they had “put on Christ”. In the same way, the child, during the baptism ceremony, is clothed in the white shawl to show that they are “clothed in Christ” or “wrapped up” in the love of Christ!
The Baptism Candle:
The large Easter Candle (or Pascal Candle) is lit for the Baptism ceremony. This light symbolises Christ, the Risen Lord, who overcame the cross and rose to new life. It is a symbol of hope! A smaller Baptism Candle is lit from the Easter Candle. This light, love and hope of Jesus is being passed on to the new Christian through YOU the parents.
After the Baptism Ceremony
As your child grows it is important to pray with them, share some bible stories (maybe purchase a Children’s Bible), visit the Church to light a candle for someone who is sick, attend Mass…etc.
We pray God’s Blessing upon you in the challenge ahead of bringing up your child in the faith….
Registration of Baptism
The parish records the baptism of your child in the Baptismal Register of the parish. This record includes the full names of the child, parents and godparents, the child’s date of birth, the date of the baptism and the name of the officiating priest or deacon. A Certificate of Baptism can be issued by the Parish Office as and when required.