We are happy that you want your child to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. We are here to help you prepare for this event.
Preparing for the Baptism of your child gives you an opportunity to examine your own Christian life and your relationship with the rest of the Christian community. The desire for Baptism for a child must be accompanied by the very serious commitment by the parents to rear the child within a faith community and to educate that child in the truths of the Catholic faith.
BAPTISM IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
The Sacrament of Baptism is only a beginning and, later, will be deepened in the Sacrament of Holy Communion and completed in the Sacrament of Confirmation. These three Sacraments are called the “Sacraments of Initiation”.
A SERIOUS COMMITMENT IS REQUIRED ON THE PART OF THE PARENTS
Though only an adult can consciously enter the process of initiation, the Church allows children to do so when the parents ensure that the Christian life given to them at Baptism will be brought to maturity through the example and participation of parents and family.
Since it would be meaningless to baptize a child when there is no sign that the child will be raised in the faith, if the parents are not practicing their Christian faith by regular attendance at Sunday Mass, then a judgment must be made as to whether or not the child should be baptized at this time.
BAPTISM PREPARATION PROGRAM
When you first contact the parish office, you will be asked for all the pertinent information concerning your child, the parents, and the Godparents.
Unless you have done so in the past two years, you and the Godparents (or “sponsors”) will be asked to participate in a Baptismal Preparation Class where we will discuss the meaning of Baptism, the history of the sacrament, and the crucial role of the parents in passing on the faith and participating in the life of the parish. Whatever questions you have about the ceremony will be answered. This class must be completed before the Baptism. If parents or Godparents complete the program in some other parish, they should bring a Certificate of Completion to St. Sebastian's Church for our records.
THE ACTUAL BAPTISM LITURGY
Sometimes, more than one child will be Baptized on a given day; this emphasizes the fact that Baptism brings a person into the larger family of the Church.
WHAT THE CHILD SHOULD WEAR
Parents should dress their child in a white garment, since the ritual makes mention of its symbolism as an outward sign of the child’s Christian dignity.
SPONSORS or GODPARENTS
Though there are usually two Godparents, the Church requires only one sponsor, who must have received all three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation) and be practicing his/her faith, that is, regularly attending Sunday Mass. If there is a second sponsor, that person should also be a practicing Catholic, however, it is permissible for a practicing Christian of another denomination to be the second witness.
FEES / STIPENDS
There is no fee for your child’s Baptism. An offering to the church is proper, however, and you can place whatever donation you’d like in an envelope and give it to the priest or deacon after the ceremony. If you write a check, please make it payable to “St. Sebastian Church”. If you desire to give the priest or deacon a personal stipend, then that gift should be in a separate envelope with his name on it.
July 28, 2016