Sacrament of Baptism
Contact your Parish Office to arrange for necessary instruction and preparation.
What is Baptism? Baptism is the first of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. We believe that it is a sign of grace instituted by Christ that was given to us, the Church. In simplest form, after a profession of faith, it is the pouring of water (or immersing in water) over or around the individual to be baptized while pronouncing the words I Baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The person being baptized then responds Amen. Just as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River to mark the beginning of His ministry, Christians are also baptized to mark the beginning of their lives as members of the Body of Christ. In the Catholic faith, this is traditionally done within days of a baby s birth. In this instance, the Church calls on a Sponsor or Godparent to speak on behalf of the baptized.
Why is Baptism so Important to Catholics? The Catholic Church teaches that Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God and are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word. We believe that, through the unique graces imparted in this sacrament, in the waters of Baptism, the original sin we all inherited from Adam and Eve is washed away. When we are baptized as Christians, we are reborn into the freedom of God the Father and become members of the mystical Body of Christ.
Who must be Baptized? It is important to note that the Catholic Church does not require anyone who has already been validly baptized in another Christian denomination to be baptized again as a part of the RCIA process. Anyone of catechetical age seeking to complete their initiation in full communion with the Catholic Church, who has already been baptized in another Christian tradition, is known as a Candidate. They only need to complete preparation and participation in the other Sacraments of Initiation of the Church. People who have never been baptized and are seeking full union with the Catholic Church are first known as Catechumens in the RCIA process.
How Does Baptism Change Us? In addition to removing the stain of sin from our soul, we believe that in Baptism, God bestows on us supernatural grace, gifts and virtues. By being baptized, we also inherit His promise for salvation that comes through our faith in Jesus Christ and a life dedicated to His will. Baptism is the first and most critical step to take in coming into full communion with the Catholic Church.
What are the signs and symbols of Baptism? - Catholic Baptism is marked by specific signs and symbols that have a particular meaning for us. These signs and symbols are: Water signifying the sanctifying washing away of sin and the fostering of the birth of a new life in Christ; Oil of Baptism which is rubbed on the chest to give us strength; Oil of Chrism, (also used at Confirmation) which is rubbed on the crown or forehead signifying that we are sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit; the Sign of the Cross is the mark of Christians signifying the grace of the redemption Christ won for us on the cross; the Baptismal Candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered our lives and the flame symbolizes the flame of faith which should burn throughout our lives. The White Garment signifies that the newly baptized has put on Christ and has risen with Christ. The Baptismal Certificate is the Church's official record of the receipt of the Sacrament.
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