Baptism

The Catholic Church teaches that there are seven sacraments, and that the first three are sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. The sacraments confer grace on those who receive them with faith.

 

The fontThe word grace sounds like it is some 'thing'; it ought therefore to come in quantities or pints or quarts or even gallons. In that incorrect understanding of the meaning of grace one could see the reception of the sacraments as an opportunity of getting a 'fill-up' - and so feel good. No - the sacraments celebrate a gift from God which is undeserved, freely given, and meant to be enjoyed in a creative life-giving way. So in Latin we say 'gratia', in Spanish we say 'gracias' and in Italian 'grasie'. To God we say thanks for the free gift of new life - which we call sanctifying grace: i.e. the free gift of salvation in Christ.

 

Fr. Deitch baptising AlexBaptism

The initial step of accepting this big gift of salvation is the call of God and our response to His graciousness to be born anew to the life that He freely offers in Christ. Christ invites us to be born again in water; and the Holy Spirit calls us to be renewed - to be recreated - to be a new person in the Holy Spirit. To be a Christian.

 

Of this first step (or initiation) the Catholic Catechism states, "baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life. It is the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which God gives access to the other sacraments. In this graced moment of baptism we are freed from the old way of sin and are reborn as God's children." It goes on to say, "Through baptism we are, and become members of Christ; and are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in the Church's mission." Baptism is about setting a person on the proper footing for life and initiates us in to a rich, vibrant and dynamic community - shot through with the power of the Holy Spirit moving us forward toward a great and wonderful crescendo of life.

 

This new life born of baptism is exhilarating, exciting, challenging and filled with joy. Through baptism we share in the very life of God and His mission in Christ. In baptism we are called to be priestly people (hearts filled with joy for the great - the good - for God) forever giving thanks, praise, honor and glory; because we have been graced by God. In baptism we are challenged to be prophetic, armed with the revealed truth from God. Speaking, interpreting and understanding life from God's good news perspective. With Faith, Hope and Love being our guiding virtues. In baptism we are a royal people because we belong now to a kingdom called 'The Kingdom of God' - with a challenge to live a life based on truth, justice, love, peace universality, graciousness and beauty. We are called to be Christ-like.

 

A family has brought their baby to Church to be baptisedThe challenge of baptism is awesome and a privilege. The challenge needs community support. So each person who responds to God's invitation or grace needs a community in which the call of baptismal commitment is lived out or witnessed.

 

The first community for the newly baptised are the parents who should know their call to assist their child grow as a baptised person. Hence the home is the "Domestic Church" where the baptised person, first hand, sees and learns the fundamentals of what it means to be called to be baptised, graced and new-born in Christ.

 

The Church in her wisdom knows that the new-born in Christ needs a larger community of witnesses to Christ; so she asks that Godparents be chosen who will pray to God for the child. To be present in a congratulatory, supportive, affirming and Godly way; and who do all in their power to help and support the parents in providing a faith environment. A faith environment in which this new Christian will develop his or her God given talents, gifts and charismas; and be ready to introduce the new Christian to the larger Christian community - the Church.

 

Each baptised person needs a "cloud of witnesses' to the Christian way in order to follow steadfastly and faithfully the way of Christ to victory.

 

Infant Baptism

 

Baby is here; you’re excited, elated, tired! Thinking about having the baby christened is one of the important decisions which confront you at this time. So, you know that you want to have baby baptized and now you want to know how. Here’s what you will find when you call the parish to ask about baptism.

 

1.  There are two options for baptism: private and public.

 

2.  A private baptism takes place any time that is convenient for you and your family and works     around the mass schedule of the parish.

 

3.  A public baptism is celebrated during a weekend mass so that the entire congregation can     participate and acknowledge the new Christian.

 

4. At least one godparent must be a practicing Catholic.

 

5. If your chosen godparents cannot be present at the baptism you may have someone else fill     in as a proxy. The chosen godparent’s name will go on the certificate.

 

6. You both must attend a Baptismal Preparation class before the date of the baptism.

    Now you are wondering what the Baptismal prep is for, how long it lasts, and what you need     to do for it.

 

1. Baptismal prep will be one or two get-togethers. Groups will be scheduled monthly and will be     publicized in the bulletin.

 

 

The purpose of baptismal preparation is to help parents examine their own beliefs while reviewing the teachings of the Church and to take an in depth look at the Sacrament of Baptism so that they will be fully present on the day of the Christening