By Baptism we become members of the Church, the Body of Christ.

 

Dear Parents!

Congratulations on the Birth of your Child! Thank you for taking responsibility as Christian parents to baptize your child.

Before scheduling, please read the requirements for the Sacrament of Baptism.

• All families must complete a registration form, and provide an original copy of the birth certificate (a copy will be taken and we will return the original to you).

• Parents are required to attend a Baptismal Preparation class prior to baptizing a child. If you attended a class previously at another Parish, please bring a confirmation letter from that Parish. Both parents are to attend and Godparents are encouraged to attend.

• A $100 donation for the Baptism is requested and should be made no later than 2 weeks prior to the Baptism.

• The ceremony follows the 11:00 a.m. Mass on 2nd and 4th Sundays of the Month. There may be multiple Baptisms celebrated on the same day. Occasionally there is a Baptism in a different language, and in that case the other Baptism will follow (20-30 minutes later). (OVER) Godparents The Canon Law of the Church, defines the rules for Godparents. They are as follows:

• There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each. • The sponsor must be a minimum of 16 years of age.

• The sponsor must be Catholic, confirmed and leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on; and not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared, and not be the Father or the Mother of the child to be Baptized.

• A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community can participate only as a Christian Witness if the Catholic Godparent is present.

• Please provide the legal names of Parents and Godparents, and if any, their maiden names.

Please invite as many people as you would like to attend! Pictures can be taken during and after the Baptism.

For adults who have not yet been baptized, the RCIA has three major liturgical rites: Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens; Election or Enrollment of Names, and Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation. The celebration of initiation is followed by a postbaptismal catechesis, or Mystagogy. (For those already baptized, there are rites appropriate for their journey into full communion in the Catholic Church. These are sometimes celebrated separately from the catechumens, and sometimes in a combined rite with the catechumens.)

The process begins with the Precatechumenate, in which the person shows initial faith in Jesus Christ and the Church. This is a time for inquiry and the exploration of the beginnings of faith. After the person has been given a fundamental understanding of the Gospel and has decided to take the first step to become a member of the Church, the person is brought into the Catechumenate at the Rite of Acceptance.

The period of the Catechumenate is a time for exploring the teachings of the faith in a deeper and more systematic manner within the context of worship and prayer. At Sunday Mass, the catechumens with their catechists are often dismissed after the homily for further, prayerful study of the Scripture readings for the day.

This period concludes with the Rite of Election or Enrollment of Names, which takes place on the First Sunday of Lent. This rite is celebrated by the bishop or his delegate, usually at the cathedral of the diocese. The catechumens’ suitability and resolve to be initiated into the sacramental life of the Church is supported by the testimony of their sponsors and catechists. After this, the catechumens become known as the Elect.

The Elect enter the stage of Purification and Enlightenment that occurs during the season of Lent. They prepare themselves for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation by prayerful reflection. On the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, the Scrutinies are celebrated. These rites, which take place during Mass, offer opportunities for the Elect to reflect on the full meaning of the step they are preparing to take. They are meant to bring God’s illuminating Word to the Elect so that whatever is weak or sinful in their hearts can be healed and so that whatever is good in them can be strengthened. The parish community joins them by examining their own lives and interceding with God for the Elect. This period concludes at the Easter Vigil, when the Elect receive the Sacraments of Initiation and become full members of the Church and are called neophytes.

From Easter to Pentecost, there is a period of postbaptismal catechesis, or Mystagogy. This is a time for the neophytes, or newly initiated, along with the members of the parish to come closer together as a faith community to examine more deeply the Gospel, to share in the Eucharist, and to do works of charity. During this joyful time, the neophytes’ enthusiasm can inspire the faithful of the parish, who in turn can share their experiences of the faith with them.

The meaning and grace of the sacrament of Baptism are clearly seen in the rites of its celebration. —CCC, no. 1234

The eight major elements in the baptismal ceremony teach us the meaning of this Sacrament of Initiation and help us appreciate our life in Christ. Signs and symbols have their own capacity to communicate their meaning. Of course, the Sacrament is more than an instructive symbol; it accomplishes what it signifies.

The Sign of the Cross

At the beginning of the celebration, the celebrant traces the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of the one being baptized. This recalls Christ’s saving death and the redemption it brought. Baptism is a Sacrament of salvation.

Readings from Scripture

Proclaiming the Word of God in the midst of the community sheds divine light on the celebration and is meant to build the faith of all the participants. One of the traditional names for Baptism is “Illumination.” The Holy Spirit fills the heart and mind with the light of revealed truth and enables the response of faith.

Exorcism and Anointing

Baptism liberates us from sin. An exorcism prayer is recited over the one being baptized, preparing the person to renounce sin and be released from evil. The celebrant anoints the person to be baptized with the Oil of Catechumens (an oil that has been blessed by the bishop for the candidates for Baptism) or imposes hands on the person. In this way, the person is being called to renounce sin and to leave behind the domination of the power of evil.

Blessing the Baptismal Water

Baptismal water is blessed at the Easter Vigil. Outside the Easter Season, the water used for Baptism can also be blessed at each celebration of the Sacrament. The blessing prayer asks the Father “that through his Son the power of the Holy Spirit may be sent upon the water, so that those who will be baptized may be ‘born of water and the Spirit’” (CCC, no. 1238).

Renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith

Those being baptized are asked to reject sin and Satan, and to profess their faith in the Triune God. In the case of infants, parents, godparents, and the entire community present for the liturgy do this on behalf of those who cannot yet speak for themselves.

The Essential Rite of the Sacrament

The bishop, priest, or deacon either pours water three times on the person’s head or immerses the candidate in water three times. In the Latin Church, he accompanies the act with the words, “[Name], I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The celebrant matches each pouring or immersion with the invocation of each of the Divine Persons. The ritual of immersion or washing helps us understand that our sins are buried and washed away as we die with Jesus, and we are filled with divine light and life as we rise from immersion in the water or are cleansed by the pouring. In the Eastern liturgies the catechumen turns toward the East and the priest says: “The servant of God, [Name], is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At the invocation of each person of the Most Holy Trinity, the priest immerses the candidate in the water and raises him up again. (CCC, no. 1240)

“Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist” (CCC, no. 1233). After the completion of initiation, the neophytes or new members begin the period of continued learning and formation in Christian life called Mystagogy.

With regard to infants, in the Latin Church, the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist are received at a later time after Baptism. This is partly because of the emphasis on the bishop as the ordinary minister of Confirmation. Though the bishop cannot baptize everyone, he has a role in everyone’s initiation into the Church by confirming them. In the Eastern Churches, the Baptism of infants is followed in the same ceremony by Confirmation (Chrismation) and Eucharist.

The Anointing with Sacred Chrism

The celebrant anoints the newly baptized with the sacred Chrism (a perfumed oil signifying the gift of the Holy Spirit), so that united with God’s people the person may remain forever a member of Christ, who is Priest, Prophet, and King. In the liturgy of the Eastern Churches, this anointing is the Chrismation, or the Sacrament of Confirmation, and is done immediately after Baptism. At the initiation of adults into the Church at the Easter Vigil, Confirmation follows Baptism.

Reception of the White Garment and the Candle

Following the Anointing with Chrism, the minister of Baptism presents the newly baptized with a white garment and a candle. The white garment shows that the newly baptized have put on Christ and have risen with him. To be clothed in the baptismal white garment is to be clothed in Christ’s protective love. Included in this ceremony is the admonition to keep the garment unstained by sin. The Book of Revelation describes the significance of the white robe: “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14).

The candle is lit from the Paschal Candle, which represents the Risen Christ. The lighted candle reminds the newly baptized of the light of Christ they have received. It also reminds us that all those baptized in Christ are to be lights for the world. These two symbols used at Baptism appear again in the Latin Church’s funeral liturgy in the forms of the white pall covering the casket and the lighted Paschal Candle, which ordinarily stands near the casket. This is to remind us that the salvation and new life promised at Baptism can now be experienced fully by the one who has gone to God.