As parents, family and friends you are rightly rejoicing this day in the birth of your child. God has blessed you with the precious gift of a child of your own. Now you want nothing short of the best for him/her. This is where, for us as Christians, baptism comes in – in a sense, where it all begins!
Over the last number of years our understanding of baptism has evolved from thinking of it (mainly) as a personal celebration only, to seeing it more as the early Christian Community celebrated it. For them, to be baptised was to become part of an extraordinary family – to become a sister or a brother in the family of Jesus. In presenting your child for baptism this is really what you are doing – you are formally requesting his/her entry into God’s family. And, for all of us who are baptised, our local Christian community (or parish) is where we celebrate being part of God’s family. This is why the Church insists that children will only be baptised where there is a well founded hope that they will be brought up in the Catholic faith.
Baptism can only be requested by the parent/legal guardian of the child and not by the grandparents or any other family member. For the reasons outlined above, it is essential that at least one parent is a regular practicing Catholic who attends church here in OLV. It makes no sense at all to have a child baptised into a community other than the one where that child will be raised and become a regular worshipper. Nor does it make any sense for a parent to request baptism, if they themselves do not practice their faith.
Parents who are not practicing their faith on a regular basis at present and who present their child for baptism may be asked to wait for a period of time to renew the practice of their own faith. This time offers them an opportunity to reflect on the commitment you are about to make before God on behalf of your child.
Things to Know
What We Believe
In Baptism we are invited to share in the life of Jesus, the Christ. The main symbol of Baptism, pouring water or (better), immersion in water, is not primarily a sign of being washed clean of sin, although original sin and all personal sins are forgiven in Baptism. Rather, it tells us about death and new life. Going under the water in Baptism symbolises dying to the old life and sin. Coming up again is like rising to a new life in God. This is ‘where it all begins’.
Baptisms are celebrated in our parish on the 2nd Sunday of the month. It is usual for children to be baptised in the parish where they live, or where they worship (their local Christian community). Contact should be made to the sacristy at least six weeks beforehand, as a time of preparation is needed. Please download the attached form and fill it in and bring in to the church and we can begin the process of this important sacrament for that very important new person in your lives.
The journey our faith Community provides to welcome adults who wish to become Catholic, and prepare adults to receive Confirmation (and to be in Communion) is known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adult Baptism, especially, lets us see that we are not just adding one more member, but we are accepting into our family somebody with a history that enriches ours, somebody with gifts and graces that we lacked before. We get to know something about God that we didn’t know before. It reminds us that Baptism isn’t just for the individual – it’s a gift to the believing community. Our parish welcomes those seeking fuller participation in the life of the Church. For more information please contact the sacristy.
There are many reasons behind the choice of godparents, and various understandings of what the role of godparents actually is. For the Christian Community the role of the godparent has a twofold purpose:
- To assist the parents in discharging their duties as Christian parents.
- To be a model of Christian living to the child in question.
Hence some people may not be suitable as godparents.
Choosing a sponsor/godparent…from the Code of Canon (Church) Law
One sponsor is sufficient, but there may be two. If there are two, they must be male and female to reflect the nature of parenting.
A sponsor must be:
not less than 16 years of age (exceptions can be made by the Bishop, parish priest.)
a practicing Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith.
A baptised person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community may be admitted but only in company with a Catholic sponsor and simply as a witness to the baptism.
What to do next
If you would like to explore the journey to baptism in our parish please contact Sacristy/Parish Office at (01) 842 0346 and we will be glad to journey with you.