The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism is the beginning and most-important part of a person’s Christian initiation. In this sacrament, a person is claimed by Christ and given the graces they need to walk with him as a member of his Church. Baptism opens for them the doorway of salvation, and they are guided along this path with the help of their family, godparents, and fellow believers. The baptised person strives with confident hope to live a life befitting their Christian dignity, so as to be welcomed by Christ into their heavenly reward.
The central part of the ritual is the immersion or pouring of water (the word “baptism” means “to plunge or immerse”), and this both symbolises and actually brings about the person’s burial with Christ. Having thus died with Christ, they are reborn into new life through the fruits of his Resurrection. In baptism a person becomes a new creature, freed from sin and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. While the immersion or pouring of water is the central part of the baptismal ritual, there are a number of other elements which are included to aid our understanding and to help us enter more fully into the sacred mystery being celebrated.
Mindful that baptism is necessary for salvation, parents are strongly encouraged to have their children baptised shortly after they are born. If you seek to have your child baptised, more information can be found in the baptism forms found here, or by calling the parish office. School-aged children take part in a brief, age-appropriate preparation prior to their baptism.
Adults seeking baptism most commonly receive the sacrament during the Easter Vigil, after a period of preparation known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). At this same celebration the candidate also receives the Sacrament of Confirmation and their first Holy Communion. For more information about our parish’s RCIA program, click here.
While normally only priests and deacons perform baptisms, in an emergency anyone is able to perform a baptism. For information on when this is appropriate and how it is done, click here.