Congratulations! You may be looking at this little page of our website because you are celebrating the birth of a new baby and are looking to celebrate baptism.
Baptism is the sacrament where we are born anew into the very life of God, where we are made a Christian, where we are drawn into the family of God and a community of faith. Baptism calls us and anoints us to be like Christ in the way we live and God’s Holy Spirit empowers us and sends us out to be heralds and proclaimers of the Gospel.
Baptism, like the other sacraments, is not ‘a thing’. It is a personal, loving encounter with the person of Jesus Christ who calls us to share in his life and in his love. In the waters of the font we are born into the family of the Church. God is our loving Father and the Church our loving Mother. Baptism calls us into one family of faith where we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
What do I need to do?
Begin by reflecting upon your own faith – that’s always a great first step. Baptism is a celebration of faith and is also the invitation to allowing God into a person’s life to begin a relationship with them. Ask yourself why you want your child baptised. Hopefully, the answer is because it’s important. It is a celebration of new life and a moment to seek God’s blessing and his presence. If you are a parent of a new child then think about your own baptism and ponder how you live that baptism. You can think about what you want for your child in life and consider whether God and his love are a part of that.
It may well be that you want to make an appointment to speak to the priest. He will only welcome you and help you prepare for this important day in your child’s life and the life of your family. You can either speak to him after Mass on a Sunday, or telephone or email him.
Choose wisely. These are people that you are bringing in to the life of your child and these are people who will need to accompany them along their journey of faith and life. Godparents are first and foremost a support to mother and father in their responsibility of being Christian parents. Of course, a God parent also needs to be a good example, a witness and a mentor in the ways of faith to their God-son or God-daughter. If there is one requirement above all for God parents, they should be Catholic. It may be that there is somebody you particularly want in the life of your child and they are not Catholic but are Christian, as long as you have one God parent who is Catholic another Christian can act as a Christian witness.
What to bring on the day?
The priest will tell you exactly what you will need to bring… apart from the baby.
You will need to bring some kind of white shawl or a simple white cot blanket. Baptism is about ‘putting on Christ’ and the shawl or white garment reminds us of the embrace of Christ and the identity we have as belonging to him. Don’t feel you have to buy something especially for the baptism; use what you already have.
A Baptismal Candle will be provided for you and booklets allowing your guests and your family to navigate their way through the Liturgy on the day will also be available. When you meet the priest he will also ask you about choosing the readings for your child’s baptism. As well as choosing the readings you can also choose who reads, which is a simple way of involving others.
Arranging the baptism
Speak to the priest, make an appointment to come and see him as a family and have some kind of idea about when you would like the baptism to be celebrated. By preference baptisms are celebrated on a Sunday afternoon but that doesn’t mean there’s an inflexibility.
Leave space between when you come to see the priest and the baptism for a little preparation to happen. The Church asks you to be prepared, not because She wants to make things difficult but because She wants you to be able to celebrate this important beginning of your child’s journey of faith in as rich and as fruitful way as possible.