Baptism

What We Offer

Baptism

  1. Baptism of Infants

If you would like your child baptised, please make contact with the Parish Priest after Mass, by phone (284 4048) or by e mail.

Alternatively, leave your details with Deacon Bill to pass on to the Parish Priest (bill.burleigh1@btinternet.com).

 

Baptism includes the giving, by God, of new life and new relationship with him and his community the Church.  The new life that is given at Baptism needs to be nurtured through the practice of faith by the parents and family.  A child’s Baptism cannot take root and be lived out in Christian life unless there is faith and faithfulness to the community of the Church experienced through the parents. 

 

For this reason, a parish priest is not able to baptise a child where there is no sign of Catholic faith in at least one of the parents.  A Baptism is much more than a pleasant service for the family; it involves the undertaking of a new relationship with God.   That relationship , for the child, is not possible without the faith and Christian living within the family.

 

Baptisms at St. Mary’s usually take place on a Sunday as a service outside of Mass.  To arrange a date which the priest can manage and that suits the family too, please make contact early and before arranging any family gathering or party that relies on the Baptism being on the same day.

 

The Parish Priest will arrange to meet you to prepare you for the Baptism.  It is essential that parents understand what they are undertaking when they have their child baptised.  He will also help you choose readings and prayers for the Baptism.

 

The role of godparents is to support the parents of the child in bringing up the child as an active Christian.  They will be asked formally to state their agreement to this during the service.  For this reason, at least one of the godparents must be a practicing Catholic.  All godparents must be over 16 years old.  The parish priest may be able to help in finding a godparent is difficult.

 

Every baptism is recorded in formal registers in the parish.  Baptism certificates are not normally given at the time of the Baptism but can be obtained from the parish at any time, even years later, when they are needed to prove a baptism (for example, for a school application or for a later sacrament in another parish).  Recent copies of the entry in the Baptism Register will always be asked for, an old certificate from the date of the Baptism is insufficient – that is why a certificate is not normally given at the time of the baptism.

 

The parish community will be informed of the Baptism is the weekly newsletter and people will pray for your child and your family.

 

2, Baptism of Adults

Becoming a Catholic

  1.  What if I’ve never been baptised/christened?

If you have never been baptised into any Christian community and want to become a Catholic, the first step is to pray about this, to come to Mass for a period of time to experience the community at prayer and only then to approach either the parish priest, the deacon or one of the parish sisters to let them know of your sense of wanting to become a Catholic.

Each year, starting around September, weekly evenings take place at which both prayer and aspects of Catholic faith are explored in a way and at a depth that feels comfortable for those taking part.  These evenings are set within the context of prayer and different ways of praying are gradually also explored. These evenings are usually with Deacon Bill at his family home. 

           

There is no set timetable and no hurry towards Baptism.  Each person takes as long as they feel is right – sometimes dropping in for some evenings over a period of years.  The important things is not learning about faith but deepening the reality of faith and a relationship with God that already exists and may be drawing you to begin the journey towards joining the Catholic Church.

 

At some stage during your journey towards being baptised and becoming a Catholic, you will be welcomed into the community of the parish as a Catechumen – an ancient name for those preparing for Baptism.  This step is about the community supporting you and recognising God at work in your journey.

 

The Baptism of an adult (sometimes with their children) usually takes place within a parish Sunday Mass and often around Easter time.  When an adult is baptized they are also confirmed into the Church at the same Mass and then receive their first Holy Communion.  In this way adults receive all three sacraments of initiation celebrated together, a practice dating from the Early Church.

 

After their Baptism, the support of the evenings continues until the new Catholic feels they are ready to continue the practice of their faith without this support.

 

  1. 2.    “But I am already baptised into another Christian denomination...”

Again, the first step is to get to experience something of the parish and the Mass. The Mass is the community’s central act of prayer and worship.  After you have come to Mass for a period of time you may want to approach Fr. Martin by phone, e mail or after Mass to introduce yourself and ask about becoming a Catholic.  Alternatively, approach Deacon Bill or one of the parish sisters by phone, e mail or after Mass.

It is important to know that the Catholic Church recognises your Baptism as the same as ours if it was, as Jesus taught, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  Your journey towards becoming a Catholic is from an already existing relationship with God as a Christian.  Through weekly evenings over a period of some months, and without any pressure or expectation that you will choose to become a Catholic, you will be able to discover and explore aspects of Catholic faith, many of which you may already be familiar with and which you may have long already believed.

If, after a period of reflection, you decide that God is calling you into the fullness of Catholic faith, you will be helped to prepare for the Sacraments of Confirmation, Reconciliation and Holy Communion.

During your Confirmation Mass, at which you will be able to receive Holy Communion for the first time within the Catholic Church, you will be Confirmed into the Catholic Church, having declared that you believe “all that the Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God”.

Support for you as a new Catholic within the parish will continue as long as you feel you need it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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