What is the Sacrament of Baptism?
Through Baptism a person is welcomed into the Church community. The person – infant, child or adult – though the waters of Baptism enters more deeply into the life of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He or she is dedicated to God and all that is good. The bond of Baptism binds a person to God forever; the bond is unbreakable and unrepeatable.
What happens during the Baptismal Ceremony?
You’ve been invited to the Church to attend the Baptism of the baby of your friend or relative and you might be wondering what to expect…
The family will gather around the baptismal font – a large bowl, usually made of stone, marble or glass which holds the water used for baptism. The priest or deacon asks the parents what they ask for their child and they reply “Baptism”. Later the parents make the baptismal promises on behalf of their child. These promises are based on the Apostles Creed.
Sign of the Cross
The cross is a reminder of the love that Jesus Christ showed by giving his life for his friends. The tracing of a cross on the forehead of the person being baptised is an invisible “marking” that says “they belong to Jesus”. The priest or deacon will trace the cross on the forehead of the baby and invite the parents and god parents to do the same.
Word of God
Every liturgy is based around the word of God in Scripture. The priest pours water over the baby’s head (or immerses the baby in water) and says “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The water is a sign of cleansing, symbolically washing away all the sin of the person being baptised. It is also a sign of life, because without water nothing can grow. And it is a sing of the new spiritual life into which the baptised person is entering.
Anointing with Oil
The priest anoints the baby on the chest with the Oil of Baptism. After baptism, he then anoints the baby’s forehead with the Oil of Chrism.
The Oil of Baptism (Catechumens) is olive oil which has been specially blessed. It is associated with the days when athletes used to rub oil into their bodies before events to strengthen them and make their skin more supple, and symbolises strengthening for the challenges of life ahead. The Oil of Chrism is a combination of olive oil and balsam, and symbolises the sealing with the Holy Spirit.
The child is clothed in a white garment which is a symbol of purity and innocence. Sometimes families like to use a christening gown or shawl that has been used by previous generations while others will use a white baptismal gown, a stole or a white bib.
A candle will be lit as a sign of this new life. It is usually lit from the Easter Candle which symbolises the light of Christ, and will be held by a parent or godparent.
At the end of the ceremony the parents are given a Baptismal Certificate which they will keep as a record of their child’s initiation into the Church and present at future sacraments.
Why are their several babies baptised at the one ceremony?
Usually there are several babies baptised at the one ceremony to symbolise that each baby is joining the universal Church. In fact, the gathered community is also a symbol of the Church.
Baptisms are held each Saturday at 10.00am except for the 3rd weekend of the month when baptisms are held during the 9.30am Sunday Mass. Please contact the office to confirm dates and times.