The Baptism of Children
In having children baptised, we follow the teaching of Christ Our Lord and the ancient practice of the Church. Due to the importance of Baptism, the Church teaches that parents should have their children baptised “within the first few weeks” after their birth.
Baptism is much more than a “naming ceremony,” a blessing for the baby, or the excuse for a party. Baptism is a sacrament founded by Christ Himself. All sacraments are the actions of Jesus Christ in His Church. They are the outward sign of inward grace, bringing us God’s spiritual help we need in order to live our lives as we ought.
- We are forgiven Original Sin. Baptism is the ordinary way of getting to heaven.
- We become members of the Church.
- We are born again as children of God.
At Baptism, the parents promise to bring their child up in the practice of the faith. This means :
- You come to Mass on Sunday.
- You teach your child to pray.
- You teach your child the beliefs of the Catholic faith and how to lead a good Christian life and practise that faith.
There are a number of things you need to do before the Baptism:
- See the priest for a baptism application form and to arrange to attend a baptism preparation session – 1 hour on a weekday evening. You can attend the session before the child is born, if you wish;
- Choose the child’s name(s). At least one of the names must be a “Christian” name, that is, the name of a saint;
- Choose godparents – normally one or two. At least one godparent must be a practising Catholic aged 16 or more.
At St Peter’s, Baptisms usually take place on Sunday afternoons. The service lasts about 35 minutes. The priest will explain the various rites of the Baptism. You need to bring a white shawl. The church will provide the baptismal candle, which is a sign of the resurrection of Jesus. Your family and friends, whether Catholic or not, are very welcome to attend the Baptism.
There is no charge for Baptism in the Catholic Church. However, if you can afford to, it is customary to make an offering to the Church. This can be given in an envelope to the priest on the day of the Baptism.
The Baptism of Adults
See the page Thinking of becoming a Catholic?