Parish Infant Baptism Information

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BAPTISMAL INFORMATION

The Parish of St James, Brighton
73 North Road
Brighton  Vic  3186


Phone:  (03)9596 1334, (03)9596 7041
Fax:  (03)9596 8493

INTRODUCTION

You  have asked to have your child Baptised into the Body of Christ, the Church, according to the Catholic tradition.  Baptism is always an occasion of great joy for the family, the godparents and the parish family, in whose church the Baptism takes place.

 

CHURCH BOOKING

1.    Contact the Parish to make a booking for the Baptism.  This ought be done at least six months before the Baptism date and preferably longer to secure the booking of your choice as there are usually only two (2) Baptisms at a time.  The booking may be made on a "to be confirmed" basis.  

2.    Baptisms are usually celebrated in the Parish where the family lives. It is pastorally recommended that you have the Sacrament celebrated locally; (Canon 857 §2. As a rule an adult is to be baptised in his or her parish church and an infant in the parish church of the parents).  

This will help you to become acquainted with your local Catholic Parish Community and become involved. One practical way is by being committed to the Parish Thanksgiving Program, which is a way the members of the local Church support their parish especially financially. Now would be a good time to make these arrangements with the Parish Office. Your child’s Baptism Record will be kept in the Parish where the Baptism takes place.  


THE BAPTISM

God calls us to him in love and to be holy.  Baptism gives us the strength and holiness of Christ to deliver us from the darkness of sin so as to walk as children of the light.  

This celebration includes 5 parts:

1.    The welcome into the Church
2.    The word of God
3.    The Baptism
4.    Anointing with Chrism, White garment, Candle and Ephphetha
5.    Final prayers at the Altar

SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM PRESENTATION & RITE OF WELCOME:

The Church welcomes your child with love and joy.

It is an ancient tradition that children be given the name of a saint whom later they should come to know, to love, and to venerate. The Catechism of the Catholic Church still encourages this: The sacrament of Baptism is conferred "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." 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." (no. 2156)

On the First Sunday of the month at the Rite of Reception and Welcome the Priest will speak to you, very simply.  This is how the rite begins.  You will say what name you have chosen for your child.  You will also state what you ask for your child from the Church, which is Baptism.  Then, in a few words, the Priest will remind you of the seriousness of Baptism and of its requirements.

The child is going to become a Christian forever and will be marked with the sign of Christians: the Sign of the Cross, the sign of Christ who died on the cross and rose again.  After the Priest you will make that sign on your child’s forehead.  Then the godfather and the godmother will do the same.  Later on you will teach your child to make the sign of the cross as a reminder of their Baptism and belonging to Christ, and the Church.


THE CELEBRATION OF BAPTISM

On the day of Baptism, you will go to the Church with your child, the sponsors, family and friends.  Some other children will be Baptised at the same time.  The Baptism will then be a real community celebration.  Since 1969, it is celebrated according to a new rite, simpler, more expressive and easier to understand.


YOUR PART AS PARENTS

This new rite gives to parents their proper role.  It is you who gave life to your child and it is you who present them for Baptism so that you can carry out fully your faith responsibility as parents and share with your child the priveleges of the Christian faith.

A recent Parish innovation is the opportunity for Parish Parents now to participate in a Baptism Preparation Night before the Baptism of their Child/ren. As the Parish offers similar opportunities to Parish Parents for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation, it is time now to do the same for the Sacrament of Baptism with the able assistance of Denise Arnel. Denise is the person who works with the Parish Parents and their children during their preparation for the other Sacraments of Initiation – (First Eucharist and Confirmation). 


THE WORD OF GOD

God has made himself known to us.  He has spoken to us.  He calls us.  His Word is active now; it is addressed to us today.  It is normal then, that this Baptism would have no meaning without faith in Jesus, Lord and Saviour, who leads us to God.  You will express that, as sincerely as possible, by rejecting sin ("I do") and by affirming your faith ("I do").  The whole assembly will then join in this profession of faith, for this faith is the faith of the entire Church.  And the Church will be there later to help you to encourage this faith to grow in your child.

You first listen to that Word.  We do not pretend that the child can understand; the Word is addressed to you, the parents, who are the first teachers in the ways of the faith for your child.

The Word of God inspires prayer in our hearts.  After listening to the Word, all pray together for the child or children who are going to be Baptised, for their parents and godparents.  We pray to the saints, those who have lived true Christian lives, especially to those who have the same name as the children.


Now the Baptism takes place, at the baptistry.  The Priest blesses the water of new life, water which purifies, washes, frees and enlivens.  This Baptism would have no meaning without faith in Jesus, Just as your child was surrounded in their mother’s womb by fluids that gave them shape and form as a human being so too do the Waters of Baptism provide for your child that which they need to become a Christian. From this point of view we could call the Baptimal font – the womb of the Church.

The Priest will ask you if you wish your child to be Baptised in the faith of the Church.  Both parents are asked this question and hopefully respond with the words "I do".  Then he will pour the baptismal water over the child's head and say,  "I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".

Anointing with Chrism - The anointing with the holy oil called Chrism (Chrism = Christ) indicates the definitive belonging of your child to Christ, as an authentic member of the People of God, consecrated to God like Christ.

Clothing with White Garment - The splendor of the devine life within the Baptised person is symbolised by the placing of the white garment.  The sponsors and parents will hold, near the child, a candle lit from the Paschal Candle is presented to the parents and the godparents as a sign of the risen Christ who will illumine the life of your child.

Ephphetha  - or prayer of opening over Ears and Mouth.

Lord’s Prayer - The whole assembly then recites the Lord's Prayer; as a child of God by baptism, your child will be able to say to God:
"Our Father".  

Blessing - To complete the ceremony, the Priest will bless the Parents of the newly Baptised, and, finally, the whole assembly.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN REQUIREMENTS?

One parent must be Catholic.  The Catholic parent(s) should have some clear commitment to Catholic faith and practice and a strong desire that the child will grow in their understanding of the faith.  Two godparents are usual and one, at least, must be a practicing Catholic.  This is because the godparents undertake to help the parents bring up the child in the Catholic faith and this would be difficult if the godparent is not a Catholic.  A person Baptised in another Christian tradition is a Christian witness and can certainly be involved in providing a good influence in the life of their godchild.

ARE NON-CATHOLICS WELCOME TO TAKE PART?

Of course they are!  And they are made very welcome.  There is the one Lord Jesus into whose life the Baptised person is plunged.  Baptism, therefore, makes all the Baptised sisters and brothers in Christ and children of the one Father, even though we may belong to different denominations.

WHAT TO BRING FOR BAPTISM

1.    A Baptismal Candle
2.    A Baptismal white garment
3.    Baptismal Offering Envelope

White garments & Candles  may be purchased from:-

•    Southern Cross Church Supplies, Hawthorn - Tel: (03)9818 5166
•    Central Catholic Bookshop, Melbourne - Tel:  (03)9639 0844
•    Carnelite Monastery, Kew -  Tel:  (03)9853 2402
•    From any Catholic Store which supplies Church and Religious Requisites.


WHAT DOES IT ALL COST?  (Parishioner Baptisms)

A stipend to the Priest officiating at your child’s Baptism is usually made.  As a suggestion, a stipend of between $200 - $400 is customary.  This stipend is paid directly to him and a “Baptism Offering Envelope” can be collected from the Parish Office or the pamphlet rack in the north porch of our Parish Church.


COMMITMENT

In terms of commitment parents and godparents are asked to maintain an ongoing concern for the spiritual and general well-being of their child and over the years this will demand time, effort and, often, sacrifice.  Parents are the first teachers of their child/ren in the ways of the faith and their prime teaching method is example - be it in the handing on of the truth of God's love in Jesus Christ and/or in the Church's gifts at Pentecost such as wisdom and understanding, right judgement and courage, knowledge and reverence, wonder and awe through religious celebrations as prayer and worship. (Especially the celebration of Confirmation, the Eucharist & the Sacraments).  When parents do  give the example of their faith in action then their child is better able to appreciate what it means to be a child of God, what it means to be a Christian. Godparents too, are called to give strong example of their faith in God by the service they offer the parents and their neighbour.