The Catholic Church believes that from the first moment of being each person is in relationship with God in Christ: through him all things come to be, not one thing had its being but through him. His life is life and light for all the world (cf John 1:3-5). From this starting point all life is gift, encounter, discovery and response. God is God-with-us, the pattern for our loving, giving and serving.
Living and sharing faith, then, becomes a job for life. Everyone is qualified for this task, because each one can say I live in Christ and Christ lives in me. Everyone is called: no-one is too young and no-one ever retires. When you ask for your child to be baptised, you undertake to be the first teachers of your child in the ways of the faith. You do not do this alone; the parish community as a whole come together to pass on their faith and the Church’s tradition to our children. Baptism is not a private event. It concerns the whole Church..
Bringing new life into the world is one of the greatest miracles. It brings with it many responsibilities. Over the years, you will have to care for this wonderful new life and help your baby to grow and become a loving and happy person, able to find joy and to bring joy to the world. The love you have for your baby is part of the love that God has for you. Just as you want your baby to find love, happiness and peace, so does God. In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, God shows this love. Through this Sacrament, your child will become, in a very special way, God’s own child and part of the family of the Church.
Baptism is one of the greatest gifts that Christ has given us, and one of the greatest gifts that parents can give to their children. Through Baptism, a person is united to the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; or, to put it another way, what Jesus did for us by dying and rising is applied to the person baptized.
When someone is baptized, the risen life of the Lord Jesus begins to live in that person’s soul. This person begins the adventure of the Christian life, in which he or she is called to become like Jesus Himself. It is our union with the Lord Jesus, which begins with Baptism, that gives us the hope of heaven.
Baptism then is far more than a “naming ceremony” or even just a blessing for a new child. It should be the highest priority of every Christian parent to see that children are baptized very early in their lives. Because of the importance of Baptism, this Sacrament is approached with great reverence and care in the Church.
Baptism is a Sacrament. In our Catholic Faith, the Sacraments have a tremendous importance. We believe that Jesus Christ instituted the seven Sacraments as the means by which He would share His life with us.
The technical term for the divine life of Jesus Christ dwelling in us is “sanctifying grace.” The Sacraments are actions (or “outward signs”) through which we are actually and really united to Jesus Christ, and through which He shares His life with us. Baptism must always be the first Sacrament one receives, and so is the gateway to the whole life of grace.
As great a gift as Baptism is, it is only the first moment of the Christian life. Consider this parallel: a child who has been given the gift of (natural) life must continue to be fed in order to survive. Likewise, a child who has been baptized must be brought up in the practice of the Faith in order for the life of Jesus that has been received to survive and flourish.
Baptism assumes a well-founded hope that you will bring your child up in the practice of the Faith. This means that when you ask to have a child baptized, you should be resolved to:
teach your child to pray
teach your child by word and example to lead a virtuous life
attend Mass on Sundays, making this a part of your child’s life
teach your child the Catholic faith.
At least one parent should be willing to make this commitment. Ideally, of course, both parents would be fully committed to this effort.
Role of a sponsor/godparent
A sponsor/godparent is asked to make a commitment to help the parents raise their child in the practice of the Catholic Faith.
This can best be done by:
giving good example in living the Faith
encouraging the child in virtue and religious practice
praying for the child.
All first-time parents will be expected to attend a preparation class with one of the Parish Clergy. Please contact the Parish Office to make further enquiries.