Baptism of Children
Congratulations ! The arrival of a baby is a great joy to your family, and definitely to the Church, too. You may have a lot of plans for the baby. Hopefully one of your top priorities is to have the baby baptised.
Here are some guidelines.They may sound serious, and indeed they are because the Sacrament of Baptism is the first one in your baby's Christian life. We need to do the best for your baby. So please read the following parts carefully.
* Welcome into the Church: Baptism always involves welcome into the community of the Church, and this communal aspect of baptism must always be celebrated in some way. Baptism can never be a private ritual simply for the family and friends of those being baptised.
* Baptism Preparation: It is the diocesan policy that every parish provide a full and adequate preparation programme for infant baptism, and that attendance be required for parents having their first child baptised, as well as for others when appropriate. Godparents should also attend when possible.
The canonical requirements should be fully respected which require for an infant to be baptised that there be 'a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith.' If such a hope is truly lacking, the baptism should be delayed until the parents are ready to take on the serious responsibilities involved in having their children baptised (Canon 868). This is why the proper preparation of parents for the baptism of their children is so essential.
* Baptism in one's own Parish Community: 'As a rule and unless a just reason suggests otherwise, an adult is to be baptised in his or her proper parish church, and an infant in the proper parish church of the parents.' (Canon 857)
* Godparents: The canonical requirements regarding the choice of godparents should be respected. A godparent represents the Catholic Church, and must therefore be a confirmed, practising Catholic aged 16 or above (Canon 874). Other committed Christians may be invited to be 'Christian Witnesses' at the baptism.
* Christian names: Here are some extracts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
2156: The sacrament of Baptism is conferred "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."(Mt 28:19) In baptism, the Lord's name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. The "baptismal name" can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. "Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment." (Can. 855)
2165: In baptism, the Christian receives his name in the Church. Parents, godparents, and the pastor are to see that he be given a Christian name. The patron saint provides a model of charity and the assurance of his prayer.
* Recommended Booklets: The following booklets can be bought online from any good book supplier. They are very necessary not only for the preparation, but also for the day of your baby's baptism. They tell you the correct responses you need to make.
1. The Baptism Book (ISBN 0 85231 164-8) [Redemptorist Publications]
2. Your Baby's Baptism (ISBN 9780852310823) [by Rosemary Gallagher and John Trenchard; published by Redemptorist Publications]
* Suggested Websites: The following websites are useful for you to understand the official teachings of the Church about the Sacrament of Baptism. Thus they may help you to choose the right path for your baby's Christian life.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2U.HTM (Please click NEXT to read the whole Title I (Five chapters)
* Questions & Answers: It is hoped that the above parts have answered most of your Q&A. If you still have more questions to ask, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are willing to help you. Surely some practical matters will be explained during the Baptism Preparation Course.
Now please click here to download the Baptism Form, (Word) fill it in, and hand it to the Parish Priest or one of the Parish Catechists of Baptism when you are in church. We will contact you for an initial meeting, and inform you of the Baptism Preparation Course. Please stay in contact with us to make sure that the arrangement is made for your baby's baptism.
Click here for the dates of Baptism Preparation Courses this year