Sacrament of Baptism
Congratulations on the birth of your child! The community shares in your joy! Thank you for wanting to have your baby join the family of the Church through Baptism.
Your Faith is important …
Your most important preparation is to look at your own faith. Your baby will be born with your features and will pick up your mannerisms. As he or she gets older your child will grow up, too, with your faith. When you approach the church about having your child baptised you will be encouraged to think through your own faith and the part it plays in your life. The very fact that you have asked to have your baby baptised shows that you recognise the importance of God in your life. From the earliest days children too young to answer for themselves have been baptised, usually as they accompanied their parents into the Church. For the church recognises the desire of Christian parents to share the life of Christ with their children. Jesus Christ, like you, wants the best for your child.
Growing in God’s Love
Your efforts will not only help your baby to grow up in the love of God: they will also help you to grow. As you teach your child to pray you yourself will deepen your prayer; as you teach you child to appreciate the Mass your own faith will be enriched. Your baby’s baptism is only the beginning of a new life in which you will grow closer to one another in the family and closer to God. The Church welcomes your child into its midst with love and prayers for the future peace and happiness of your family in the years ahead.
The signs and symbolism of Baptism
Sign of the Cross
The sign of the cross is the mark of Christians for Jesus Christ died on the cross. Parents and god-parents trace it on the child’s forehead to show that the baby belongs to Christ.
Water is for cleansing and is a sign that our sins are washed away. Baptism cleanses us of original sin with which we are all born and, in the baptism of adults, of every sin committed prior to baptism. Water is also necessary for life and so is a sign, too, that the life of the risen Christ is ours.
Oil of Baptism is olive oil rubbed on the breast of the baby. Oil of Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam (sweet-smelling ointment) and is rubbed on the crown of the head. It is a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The profession of faith which you make on behalf of your child at baptism will later be confirmed personally by your child in the Sacrament of Confirmation when Oil of Chrism will be used again. The oils are blessed by the bishop around the time of Maundy (or Holy) Thursday.