Baptism

The sacrament of baptism ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. It is the foundation for the sacramental life.

At baptism, the presider prays over the water:

Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Holy Spirit give to this water the grace of your Son, so that in the sacrament of baptism all those whom you have created in your likeness may be cleansed from sin and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit. (Christian Initiation of Adults, #222A)

Freed from Sin

Baptism frees us from the bondage of original and actual sin. Water is poured in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today, the sacrament of baptism is often performed on infants, shortly after birth. Adult baptisms take place at the Easter Vigil through the restored Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adults or children who have been baptized in a valid Christian church are not baptized again in the Catholic church. As we say in the Nicene Creed, “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…”

The Catechism teaches:
"The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ" (CCC 1279).

Baptismal Symbols

  • Water – The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.
  • Oil – At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as a reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
  • Light – The baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal or Easter candle that stands in the church as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.
  • White garment – The white garment that is placed upon us at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that we are destined for eternal life.

While in ordinary circumstances, sacraments in the Catholic Church are administered validly by a member of the ordained clergy, in an emergency situation, the sacrament of baptism can be administered by anyone.

In case of necessity, any person can baptize provided that he have the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that he pour water on the candidates head while saying: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (CCC 1284).

Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without
being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)

Baptism

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.

The 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.

Contact Fr. Quinn.

 

 

 

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.

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 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.