Baptism

Dear Parents

Congratulations on the birth of your child, and your decision to bring the child for Baptism.

We, the Catholic community in this parish, share your joy and thanksgiving to God.

Because Baptism is such a precious gift of God, and because you will be undertaking special responsibilities before God and the Church for your child, it’s important that we prepare carefully for the celebration.

So we offer you these guidelines to help you …

What is Baptism?
Baptism is much more than a naming ceremony or a blessing for the baby …

It is a Sacrament by which we …

  • are ‘born again’ as children of God
  • are freed from original sin
  • begin a new life in Jesus Christ (Baptism is sometimes called ‘Christening’)
  • become members of his family, the Church.

Preparation

  • Contact the priest or deacon for an application form and to arrange a meeting with him to prepare for your child’s Baptism.
  • Choose the child’s Godparents (see below)
  • Discuss and arrange the date and time of the Baptism with the priest or deacon.
  • Baptism is celebrated either during Sunday Mass, when the community is present to welcome and pray for your child, or as a service on its own – normally on a Sunday afternoon
  • In the latter case, you will be invited to ‘present’ your child briefly at a Sunday Mass before or after the Baptism.

YOUR PROMISE AS PARENTS
At  the Baptism you will publicly profess your faith, and you promise to bring your child up in the practice of the faith.

This undertaking means …

  • You teach your child to pray and to love and know Jesus.
  • You bring your child up in the Catholic faith.
  • You come to Mass on Sundays.

If one of you is not a Catholic

  • At the Baptism you are asked to join in the prayers and responses only in so far as you feel able.
  • At the Baptism you will be asked if it is your will that your child be baptised. Your agreement means that you will do all in your power to help your partner keep their promise to bring your child up in the Catholic faith.

Godparents

At the Baptism the Church family is represented by one or two Godparents:

  • Godparent is not an honorary title but a job description.
  • Godparents are, with you, your child’s guide on the Christian life’s journey
  • You will want to choose people whose own baptism commitment is firm, and whose love for God and neighbour is generous.
  • At least one Godparent must be a practising Catholic aged 16 or more.

Choosing the child’s name(s)

At the Baptism you will be asked the name(s) you have given your child.

  • God calls each of us by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. It is an ‘icon’ of the person.
  • Catholics traditionally choose a Saint’s name as one of the child’s names.

The Service

  • The service lasts about 30 minutes (longer of course if it takes place during Mass).
  • During the service the child is symbolically “clothed in a white garment”. You will need to bring a white shawl with you for this. You are also presented with a “lighted candle”. The church will provide this.
  • Your family and friends, whether Catholic or not, are very welcome to attend the Baptism.

Fees

  • There is no charge for Baptism in the Catholic Church. However it is customary to make an offering to the church. This can be given in an envelope to the priest or deacon on the day of the Baptism.