About Baptism

The birth of a child is a wonderful gift from God and to be cherished above all things. It is only natural that you should want to share your faith with your child. We are delighted you wish your child to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. This is an opportunity for your family and friends to celebrate the gift of your
child. This is also a celebration for the Church as we receive a new member into the Family of God. This leaflet will provide you with some information to help you to prepare for this important day. The focus of attention will be, of course, on your child.

However, your role as parents, and the role of the godparents you choose for your child, are very much part of the celebration. Try to find godparents who will be examples of faith for your child – they should be Catholics who are practising their faith and will have received all the sacraments of initiation
(Baptism, Holy Communion & Confirmation).

Now, let’s think about what we are celebrating. We call to mind the day when Jesus was baptised. He heard the words of his Heavenly Father, ’You are my Beloved Son, my favour rests on you.’ From this day forward, Our Lord leaves his home and begins the work which his Father has given him to do the work of proclaiming God’s Kingdom. This work was not easy. Jesus did not always meet with acceptance and faith! Eventually, his journey took him to the Cross. He died in obedience to the Father’s will so that we might have eternal life in Heaven. We believe that Jesus rose again on Easter Day. This was the moment when those words spoken by the Father at the River Jordan became even more meaningful. It was part of God’s plan that Jesus should die and rise again for our salvation. The baptismal font is the place where your child will receive the new life that Christ Jesus has won for us in his dying and rising. Baptism is the gateway to new life in God’s Kingdom. In the waters of the font, original sin is destroyed and your child will rise again to a new life. It is through faith that we take hold of this new life. The best gift you can give your child this day is the witness and example of faith your child needs to begin their own journey of faith.

The Sacraments mark the stages of our journey in Faith. The Sacrament of Baptism is the first of three sacraments of initiation into the life of God’s Family, the Church. Later, your child will receive Jesus in Holy Communion. Then, your child will be Confirmed with the power of the Holy Spirit.. In the meantime, your joyful faith is crucial. As first teacher of your child you begin this journey together. This privileged task, which God has given to you, calls you to new responsibilities, including:

    • Being an active member of the parish
    • Sending your child to a Catholic School
    • Raising your child in the Catholic Faith
    • Preparing your child for the Sacraments

Symbols of Baptism

The symbols of baptism are water, a white garment, oil and light.

Water, which gives and well as takes life is a symbol of both life and death. When we
are baptised into the death of Jesus, we die with him upon the cross. When Jesus dies
so does all sin and death. Our baptism does not end in death but continues with life. As
Jesus is raised from the dead by the Father and given new life, so are we through the
waters of baptism, raised to life in Jesus Christ. The waters of Baptism wash away
Original Sin and make us a new creation in Christ.

Once we have been claimed for Christ through the water of life we are clothed in a
white garment. This white garment, the Church, tells us is an outward sign of our
Christian dignity. Once we have put on Christ, we are to always walk as His followers.
The Archbishop, joined by the priests of the diocese, gather at St Chad’s to celebrate
the Chrism Mass in Holy Week. Here the Archbishop blesses three oils the Oil of
Catechumens, the Oil of the Infirm, and Holy Chrism which will be used in the
administration of the sacraments.

The oil of catechumens is used during the Baptism and for removing original sin and
asking for wellbeing. The child is anointed on the breast with the oil.
The oil of Chrism is used to anoint the crown of the head of the person being baptised.
In ancient times men and women were anointed to be proclaimers of God’s message to
the world. We are anointed to bring the good news to others by the way that we live
our lives. We are anointed priest, prophet and king just as Christ was.
The Light of Christ is passed on to us in the form of a lit candle, which was lit from the
Paschal Candle that was blessed at the Easter Vigil. We are called to be the light of
Christ in the world and we are asked to keep that light burning brightly.

There are a few important things to remember

  • At least one parent of the child must be a baptised Catholic.
  • Only the names of two Godparents will be entered into the Baptism Register and on
    the Baptism Certificate, so think about who they will be. You may have others sponsors
    alongside them on the day. Try and choose Godparents who you think will provide a
    good role model of faith. They should be practising Catholics (if possible).
  • It is important that your child is given a Saint’s name for their baptism, (if they haven’t
    already got one in their registered name). This has always been the Church’s tradition
    and the idea is that the Saint may act as Role Model for your child.
  • On the day of baptism please bring along a White garment to put on your child, usually
    a shawl.