Time for Celebration and Joy!
We want to help plan and prepare for your child’s baptism so that the occasion adds to the sense of celebration and joy that a new baby brings to a family. Through baptism, your child is a new baby in the family of the parish and the universal Church – the family of God.
Your Faith is Important
Your most important preparation is to look at your own faith. Your baby will be born with your features and will pick up your mannerisms. As he or she gets older your child will grow up, too, with your faith. That is why, when you approach the church about having your child baptised you will be encouraged to think through your own faith and the part it plays in your life. The very fact that you have asked to have your baby baptised shows that you recognise the importance of God in your life. From the earliest days, children too young to answer for themselves have been baptised, usually as they accompanied their parents into the Church. For the church recognises the desire of Christian parents to share the life of Christ with their children. Jesus Christ, like you, wants the best for your child.
Growing in God’s Love
Your efforts will not only help your baby to grow up in the love of God: they will also help you to grow. As you teach your child to pray you yourself will deepen your prayer; as you teach your child to appreciate the Mass your own faith will be enriched. Your baby’s baptism is only the beginning of a new life in which you will grow closer to one another in the family and closer to God. The Church welcomes your child into its midst with love and prayers for the future peace and happiness of your family in the years ahead.
Sign of the Cross
A sign on something shows its origins or ownership. The sign of the cross is the mark of Christians for Jesus Christ died on the cross. parents and god-parents trace it on the child’s forehead to show that the baby belongs to Christ, who now offers his help and grace to face and overcome the sufferings of life.
This is for cleansing and is a sign that our sins are washed away. Baptism cleanses us of original sin with which we are all born and, in the baptism of adults, of every sin committed prior to baptism. Water is also necessary for life and so is a sign, too, that the life of the risen Christ is ours.
Oil of Baptism is olive oil rubbed on the breast of the baby, just as athletes used to rub themselves with oil to strengthen and prepare for the fight ahead. Oil of Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam (sweet-smelling ointment) and is rubbed on the crown of the head. It is a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The profession of faith which you make on behalf of your child at baptism will later be confirmed personally by your child in the sacrament of confirmation when Oil of Chrism will be used again. The oils are blessed by the bishop around the time of Maundy (or Holy) Thursday.
This garment (usually a white shawl) is a relic of the new clothes worn by Christians after baptism in the first centuries. It is a sign of innocence and the new life of resurrection.
These symbolise Christ – the Light of the World. The baptismal candle is lit from the paschal candle, which stands near the altar at Easter as a sign of the risen Christ. The baptismal candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered the child’s life, and its flame symbolises the flame of faith which will burn through the life of your child.
Your baby’s baptism will be recorded in the parish Baptismal Register. In the years ahead proof of baptism may be obtained in form of a certificate issued on the basis of this registration. Your child’s confirmation, marriage or ordination will also be noted alongside this entry in the register.