You are preparing for a ‘blessed event’ in your family, and now it is time to consider your child’s participation in the community of faith we call Church. Before your child is Baptized participation in a Baptismal Preparation Program is required. It may begin prior to the birth of your baby.
Please contact the parish office: 443-0725; email email@example.com at least three months before the requested date of Baptism.
A Celebration of New Life
When parents experience the birth of their new child, it is natural for them to want their family and friends to join in the celebration of new life. Many also want the christian community to share their joy and so they think about Baptism.
The Christian community shares this view and wishes to welcome the children of its members into membership in the church. This membership, it is hoped, will give the child the opportunity to come to know the Lord and live a life based on wholesome Gospel values.
Sacrament of Initiation
Baptism is a Sacrament of Initiation. Along with Confirmation and Eucharist, this Sacrament initiates (integrates) a person into the community of the Church.
Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation, which a Christian celebrates. In the time of the Apostles and the early years of the Church, Baptism was administered only to adults. An adult who had converted to the Christian faith and received instruction was taken to a river or lake for this celebration. In the presence of the Bishop, the deacons would take the candidate for Baptism into the water and immerse them. This immersing was a sign of dying to the old way of life, and emerging from the water was a sign of entering into a new way of life.
Upon emerging from the waters, the candidate then came forward and professed his/her faith in the presence of the Bishop and was anointed by the Bishop and priests. As the practice of Baptism grew in the early church, the tradition of immersion in water came to be replaced with the pouring of water over the Baptized. Although the total immersion of the person Baptized is considered the fullest sign of the Sacrament, nonetheless, for practical and cultural reasons, Baptism is now most commonly celebrated by pouring water over the head of the Baptized.
As time went on, the enthusiasm for conversion to Christianity grew and parents began to present their children for Baptism as well. Because the children, especially infants, were not making a conversion and could not speak for themselves, they were Baptized under the sponsorship of their parents, guardians and the christian community itself. As the practice of infant Baptism spread, a
special Sacrament emerged to affirm the actions taken under sponsorship at childhood. This Sacrament came to be known as Confirmation.
Why We Baptize Children in the Catholic Church
We still baptize infants and children in the Catholic Church for the same reason that existed in the early Church. It is our enthusiasm for our faith. It is because we believe that the teaching of Jesus Christ is our source for good and wholesome living, and our chance for sanctity and fulfillment, that, at the time of birth, parents and the whole Christian community rejoice in the opportunity
to bring a new person into contact with their creator through their practice of the Catholic faith. And so, parents, godparents (sponsors), and the whole christian community Baptize the child under their sponsorship, promising to teach him/her to love God and their neighbor and to train them in the practice of the faith. As every Catholic knows, the practice of the faith means the celebration of the Sacraments as prescribed by the leaders of the Church. This means regular prayer, and especially participation in the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday.
Preparing for the Baptism of Your Child
Some members of our parishes have responded to their call to ministry by helping those who are preparing for the Baptism of their child. These parishioners will work closely with the pastoral team to prepare the parents for the baptism of their children. Thus they will show their common faith and express their joy as the newly baptized are received into the Church.
After parents call their church requesting Baptism for their child, information about this Sacrament will be sent to you by mail. Members of our Baptismal Preparation Team will call and visit your home. This visit is to gather information necessary for the Baptism and to give information to the parents about the preparation required before the Baptism of the child.
Following your home visit you will be invited to attend a preparation session at Saint Lawrence Parish Centre. During this session, parents and godparents will be given some teachings about the sacrament of Baptism, which should stimulate reflections about their own Christian faith journey. They will be informed of their respective responsibilities and expectations as Christian parents. You
will be notified of the date of the next baptismal preparation.
Even those who have had a child baptized previously are required to come and share with the group the experience of their child’s Baptism. Their presence greatly enriches the discussions and they are valuable resources for the newcomers. The session will shed new light on our own Baptism and journey in faith and bring us in contact with new members of the worshipping community.
Baptisms usually take place on Sunday although some exceptions can be made for circumstances that would warrant a celebration on another suitable day. The date and time is arranged between the family and their parish. Every effort is made to select a date and time that is convenient for the family. The ceremony is presided over by a priest or a deacon. On a number of Sundays during the year, a child or children may be Baptized during a Sunday Mass. This provides a teaching opportunity for the entire community by reacquainting them with the Rite of Baptism.
Baptisms are always celebrated in the church except in the event of an emergency where they can take place wherever and whenever it might be necessary. During the season of Lent, there are no scheduled Baptisms. Lent is a time to focus on our journey of faith and specifically on our baptismal promises, which we will be called to renew at Easter. If for some extenuating circumstance a request is
made for a child to be baptized during this time, appropriate arrangements can be made with a member of the clergy at the church.