In the Sacrament of Baptism we joyfully welcome the newborn children of Saint Mary's Parish into our community of faith.
The baptism of a child is a joyous occasion for a family, but it is
also a joyous occasion for the parish as we welcome a new member
into our faith community.
Parents who are preparing to have
their child baptized are required to attend participate in our
Baptismal Preparation Program.
At baptism, the parents
accept the responsibility to bring up the child in the practice of
the faith. They become the first teachers of the faith for their
children in what is called the
Baptism is not simply a “naming ceremony” or even just a blessing for a new baby. It is the beginning of the Christian life and the gateway to eternal life. Because of this, the sacrament is taken very seriously in the Church.
We believe that Baptism is a sacrament, an action of Jesus Christ in his Church.
What Baptism does for your child
In this sacrament Jesus Christ
Å forgives original sin and opens the gates of heaven for us
Å welcomes us into his Church
Å makes us sons and daughters of God
The ceremony of Baptism assumes a well-founded hope that you will bring your child up in the practice of the faith. This means that you will
Å teach your child to pray
Å teach your child to lead a good Christian life
Å come to Mass on Sundays
Å teach your child the Catholic faith
Pre-baptism instruction will take place monthly and will consist of, for new parents and those new to the parish, one evening session of one and a half hours to enable parents and godparents reach a fuller appreciation of the Faith that they are bringing their children into. Also there is a second session on the second Sunday of the month beginning with the Family Mass followed by a one our session for ALL parents who have scheduled a baptism (babies and children as most welcome to attend this session). Dates for baptism are on the second and fourth Sundays at .
While “the faith required for (adult) Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith”, it is “a beginning that is called to develop.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1253) Parents need a faith which is mature if they are to pass it on to their children and this programme is aimed at assisting parents (and godparents) to reflect maturely on their faith. For infant baptism, there must be “a realistic hope that the child will be brought up in the catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is … to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.” (Code of Canon Law 868)
Godparents “must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly-baptised – child or adult – on the road of Christian life.” (Catechism 1255) Only “a catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist and who lives a life of faith befitting the role to be undertaken” (Code 874) (i.e. only a practising catholic) may be admitted as a godparent. The parish priest will advise as to the suitability of a proposed godparent.
A baptised member of a non-catholic community (e.g. Lutheran, Episcopalian, other Christian denomination) may not be a godparent at the baptism of a catholic but may stand as a witness as long as there is a catholic godparent. Note that a catholic may not be godparent to a non-catholic child or adult but may be a witness together with the non-catholic godparent.
“Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.” (Code 867) Any parents expecting a child or who have recently had a new baby born should contact the parish as soon as possible to arrange preparation.
Since Baptism is never a private affair but entry into the family of the Church, your child might well be baptised with other children. Baptisms will normally take place on the second and fourth Sundays at . For a good reason, you may schedule a baptism on a date other than what is scheduled but you must provide your own priest or deacon. If one of our priests or deacons must preside for some reason, it will be open to other families who may request a different date. These extra dates are subject to availability of the church.
During the Baptism there are various ceremonies that the priest will explain. While the child is usually clothed in a white garment, we do provide a white bib for each child. A candle is also given as a sign of the resurrection of Jesus. The Church will provide this.
Everyone is welcome to the Baptism. If you have non-Catholic friends or family you may want to remind them of the sacredness of what is happening and some of our Catholic customs when in church.
There is no fee for the Baptism. However, you should make an offering. You will be provided with an envelope and you can give it to the Baptism Hospitality minister at the ceremony or mail it to the Parish Office. If you cannot afford anything, it does not matter and nobody will be offended.
Some frequently asked questions about Baptism
How soon should I have my child baptised?
Children should be baptised within the first weeks after birth. Arrangements can even be made before the child is born. It is wrong to put off the Baptism simply in order to have a more elaborate celebration party afterwards. It is better to have the Baptism sooner and make the celebrations more simple.
I am not married. Can my child be baptised?
Yes. A child may be baptised so long as there is a well-founded hope that they will be brought up in the practice of the Catholic faith. If you have any questions about marriage in the Catholic Church, please ask the priest because there are often misunderstandings in this area.
I do not live in the parish. Can I have my child baptised at St. Mary’s?
Yes, if you regularly come to Mass here. If you are not coming to Mass, you need to decide which will be the church you are going to start attending. It will usually be more appropriate (and more convenient) for you to start going to Mass at your local parish and to arrange the Baptism there. Regular (weekly) attendance at Sunday Mass (except for illness or other similar reason) on your part is assumed as this is an obligation you will be imposing upon your child in having him/her baptised. For a good reason we do allow those who still have parents residing in the parish or who are alumni of our school to have their child baptised here.
How many Godparents should we have?
The Church’s Canon Law states that there should be one or two Godparents. If there are two, they should be male and female. Two Godparents of the same sex are not allowed.
Who can be Godparents?
Godparents must be Catholics over 16 years of age who themselves regularly come to Mass, and have been Confirmed and received the Blessed Eucharist. They must also be living a life of faith which befits the role to be to be undertaken. The parish priest can advise as to the suitability of individual candidates for the role of godparent.
What about non-Catholics?
Alongside a Catholic Godparent, a non-Catholic who is a baptised Christian may stand as a Christian witness.
Neither I nor my spouse is Catholic. Can our child(ren) be baptised Catholics?
Only if one of the parents decides to become a Catholic themselves. This is a process which involves prayer, instruction and sharing in the life of the Catholic community over several months at least. The most appropriate conclusion to this process is for the family to be baptised together. Please ask the priest for further details