THE BAPTISM OF YOUR BABY
This is a joyful time, a time for planning and celebration. There are so many things to do when your baby arrives, it is possible that the Sacrament of Baptism will be just "another thing to get done". It is hoped that this information will help you to reflect upon the fact that Baptism is a new birth into the Family of God, as solemn and important as the birth of the baby itself.
One very important thing to look at as a preparation for your baby's Baptism is your own faith and how it is expressed in your life as members of the Church. The child born to you will have some of your features and expressions, some of your mannerisms and will follow your example in Faith. That is why the priest will need to be assured that your faith is precious to you.
The new baby in your home will change your life in many ways. Your timetable will definitely change, the expression of your love for each other and your baby and even your faith. From now on, as you teach your child the ways of God by word and example, your prayer together will deepen your relationship with the Father, as you teach the love of Christ, you will grow in His love, and as you bring this infant to Mass each week, your own faith will be enriched. This is one way the Father gifts those who love and serve Him.
The Church welcomes your infant child into its midst with love. In the name of the Parish Family, we pray that the future will bring you much happiness and peace. The Catholic Community here will be much enriched by this new little addition to the worshipping People of God.
Parents show love for their children in many different ways: by gestures such as hugging, holding, smiling. These are signs of your love. Our heavenly Father shows His love too, by signs and gestures. Perhaps not the same as we use, but nevertheless, real signs. The Ceremony of Baptism is filled with these signs. The most important of these of course is the Water poured and the Words spoken. So, participating in the Sacrament of Baptism with your baby, God-parents and Priest is a faith experience and all of us must be prepared to journey through it and gain from it.
THE DAY OF BAPTISM
The Liturgy of Baptism speaks most powerfully of the Father's love and through our participation we are drawn into that love. The ceremony begins with a warm welcome by the priest, then, you and the God-parents will be asked formally if you are willing and prepared to accept the responsibility of bringing your child to maturity in the practice of the Faith. The priest will then greet your child with the Sign of the Cross which he traces upon the forehead, asking you and the God-parents to do the same.
THE FIRST ANOINTING
The baby is now anointed
with the Oil of the Saints. The Sacred Oils used in the administration
of the Sacraments are blessed by the Bishop during Holy Week at the
Cathedral. These are then brought to the local parishes. The first anointing
signifies strength. Just as the people of old used oil to heal and strengthen
their bodies, so the Sacrament of Baptism heals the soul of Original
Sin and strengthens the Spirit for the struggles of this life.
The priest will ask you
and the God-parents to publicly renew your own Baptismal Vows as a reminder
of your duty to lead this child to grow in the Faith.
THE WATER OF BAPTISM
The priest will explain water as a sign of life to the ancient desert people and as Christ's sign of life for us, born into the Family of God.
THE SECOND ANOINTING
The name "Christ" means " Anointed One." Your baby is anointed with Sacred Chrism, the same Oil used at Confirmation and in the ordination of a priest by the bishop. This child will be called to do special work in God's family. What that work is to be is now hidden from our eyes, but the answer to that call lies mainly with you, the parents, as your word and example guide and shape the future life of your child.
Your baby has now been given the Spirit of life. The white Baptismal garments show that this child is a new creation, clothed in Christ. The lighted candle held by the Godfather symbolizes the light of Christ which will shine on and through your child for life. "You are the Light of the World."
If you are both Christians, perhaps you could try to introduce a little shared prayer into your life together. You might feel a little shy about this at first, but a short scriptural reading will help you get started. There is no doubt that, if your baby grows up in a prayerful and God-loving atmosphere, there will be a real unity in your family that will carry over into talking with each other of your innermost feelings, your hopes and your fears. Such ties cemented by love will surely bring your family through any storm. Your baby's Baptism is the birth of your family alive with faith in Jesus Christ. There will never be another family quite like yours with all its strengths and, at times, weaknesses. Take time for yourselves and your faith; they are irreplaceable.
I AM NOT A CATHOLIC
If you are a member of another denomination and a practising Christian, you will realize from the teachings of your own Church, how very important is the Sacrament of Baptism. Your baby's Baptism is the first step you will take as a parent in the faith-life of your child. It is important that you share this special time together. We want you to feel welcome to participate as much as you wish. Your Catholic spouse will greatly appreciate and be helped by your support and encouragement at this time.
I REALLY DON'T BELIEVE
Perhaps your own faith experience has not led you to any Church, and you are not familiar with the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church. As a parent of the infant to be baptized. you are surely respectful of the faith and wishes of your Catholic spouse as to the place and importance of God in your child's life. So please feel welcome to participate in the Ceremony to the extent that you are comfortable.
COMMON QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK
Q. My husband's family
is not Catholic but he would like his sister to be our baby's God- mother.
Can this be done?
A. The role of the God-parent goes back to early Christian times when Baptism was given only to Adult converts and, in many cases, parents were deceased. A member of the Christian community would then represent the parents and make the promise to help in the person's growth in the faith. Today, this task is mainly the responsibility of the parents themselves, so the Church asks that at least one of the God-parents be a PRACTISING Catholic and able to understand and accept the role of God-parent.
Q. My wife belongs to another Church and would like her minister to participate in the ceremony. Is this possible?
A. Your wife's minister may take part in the Scripture readings and prayers of the Baptismal liturgy. This must be arranged well beforehand so that a shared liturgy can be planned by the Minister and the Priest.
Q. How much does a Baptism cost?
A. The priest does not charge for his services to the people at Baptism. Sometimes a voluntary offering is made to the priest, but this is left entirely to your own discretion.
Q. How soon should the Baptism take place?
A. Usually within four to eight weeks after the birth, depending on the health of mother and baby.
Q. I don't go to Church regularly. Can the priest refuse to Baptize my child?
A. The priest will never refuse Baptism. However, if your Faith is at a level where you do not want to be part of the worshipping community, then the Baptism would have to be deferred until such time as you are prepared to accept your Christian responsibility. Therefore, the answer to your question is: "it's up to the parents to make the decision which will permit the priest to baptize your child."
Q. Will an unmarried mother be refused Baptism for her baby?
A. No. Not for this reason.
BAPTISM SCHEDULE AT HOLY ROSARY PARISH
Baptisms are held on the
last Sunday of the each month (excluding the month of Easter and December).
Should a holiday weekend occur, Baptisms will be arranged on an alternative
A Baptism Preparation and Information evening is held for Parents and God-parents, usually during the week preceding the Sunday of Baptism. If the God-parents are not available, this is not a problem. Parents are obliged to attend this preparation evening, which usually takes between one to one and one half hours. If for some reason you cannot attend, you will be asked to postpone the Baptism until the following month.
To arrange Baptism, please call the parish office to register your child. If you are a non-registered parishioner, you will be required to complete a Parish Registration Form which will be mailed to you along with the Baptism information. Should you live in another parish area and are not a registered parishioner of Holy Rosary, you must contact that parish to arrange Baptism.
A NEW BABY
New Lease of Life
Edward Borland Ramsay
Copyright © 2007 - 2012 - Holy Rosary Parish, Guelph, ON
Updated April 16, 2012