The Sacrament of Baptism is always a moment of great joy for a family as a new arrival into their life is welcomed into the life of the spiritual family of God. Baptism marks the beginning of a commitment to a life of faith lived out and supported by family, friends and the wider Christian community. It makes the person who is baptised an adopted son or daughter of God the Father and, with Jesus Christ as a brother, a coheir to the Kingdom of Heaven. As the child grows in understating and comes to greater appreciation of the content of their Christian faith they will be supported in their faith by the celebration of other sacraments of the Church such as Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. These Sacraments build on the foundation laid at Baptism and on the faith formation given by parents and teachers in the meantime. As the child grows into adulthood so too their full participation in the life of the Christian community in their local parish is encouraged and fostered.
The Role of Parents
Parents are the primary carers and educators of their own children. They know their own children best and are best placed to provide for their needs. Similarly, children look first to their own parents as they seek role models to copy. This is especially true when it comes to faith practice and participation. When parents ask to have their child baptised they are committing themselves to being models of faith to inspire their child. But they do not do this alone. Grandparents, Godparents, relations and the entire Christian community all play a part in witnessing to the Christian faith by what they say and do. In addition to being a model of faith for your child, during the Baptism ceremony parents are formally asked if they are willing to teach the faith to their own child so that they can grow in their understanding. This is a serious undertaking and brings with it the responsibility to participate in the life of the church in the local parish. For some parents having their child baptised can be a moment of reintroduction to the faith for themselves. As you desire the best for your child, it’s only natural that you would wish to be able to realise that desire and provide the best of all aspects of yourself, including your won faith. Don’t worry if you feel a bit rusty about your own faith: God helps all who seek Him to return and find! The parish clergy are always willing to support and assist you in this regard.
The Role of Godparents
Being a Godparent is a great honour for any person and is a position of trust offered by the parents of the child. The primary function of a Godparent is to assist the parents in the faith formation of the child. This is done by supporting parents as they educate the child in the ways of faith and by offering good example to the child. It’s a nurturing and caring role which underpins the good work done by parents. As with parents, Godparents likewise take on a formal role and responsibility during the ceremony of baptism. Since part of their responsibility is to teach the faith by word and example Godparents should be familiar with the Christian faith themselves and be both baptised and confirmed. A person who is not a Christian or who does not practice the Catholic faith may act as a witness to your child’s baptism. At least one Godparent is required at Baptism.
Baptisms in Our Parish
Baptism is normally celebrated by arrangement. Please contact the parish at 093 – 31262 to arrange a time.
You will find a Baptism Request Form here which you are asked to complete and return to the church in advance of your child’s baptism.
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 Signs & 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;
1. 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.
2. 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:
Parents/Guardian make the request for baptism for their child. Parents/Guardians therefore make a commitment to bring their child up in the faith. Consequently parents/guardians public profess their belief the faith before the community gathered.
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.
AFTER THE BAPTISM CEREMONY…
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 Ceritificate of Baptism can be issued by the Parish Office as and when required.