The sacrament of baptism ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. It is the foundation for the sacramental life.
At baptism, the presider prays over the water:
Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Holy Spirit give to this water the grace of your Son, so that in the sacrament of baptism all those whom you have created in your likeness may be cleansed from sin and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit. (Christian Initiation of Adults, #222A)
Freed from Sin
Baptism frees us from the bondage of original and actual sin. Water is poured in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today, the sacrament of baptism is often performed on infants, shortly after birth.
The Catechism teaches:
“The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ” (CCC 1279).
- Water – The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.
- Oil – At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as are reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
- Light – The baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal or Easter candle that stands in the church as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.
- White garment – The white garment that is placed upon us at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that we are destined for eternal life.
THE BAPTISM PROCESS
- Our process begins with the parent’s initial contact with the parish Faith Formation Director to obtain an overview and begin the registration process.
- The parents are then paired with a couple from our Baptism Ministry Team who arranges an informal meeting with the parents. The couples represent the welcoming presence of the parish community to the parents and their baby.
- During the meeting, the Ministry Team couple provides the parents with additional information, completes the registration form and presents them with a gift from the parish. They discuss and address any questions or concerns the parents may have.
- The parents subsequently attend a Baptism Preparation Session where they learn the theology of the sacrament and review the ritual so that they are adequately prepared.
- Then the baptism takes place on the arranged date.
This process helps the parents to understand and take seriously the promises they make at baptism to raise their child in the faith of the Church, enabling the child to live as a disciple of Christ.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When do baptisms take place? Baptisms for children under the age of seven are celebrated amongst your family and friends at a date and time you select from the options listed on our website. To view date and time options click here. For children seven years or older click here.
Do we need to be registered with the parish? Yes! We want you to know what is happening in your faith community. When you register, you are added to our parish mailing and email lists through which you will periodically receive notices about parish news and events. Also, you will receive the award winning Catholic magazine, Parable, in the mail. If you are not currently registered with the parish, you can download a form from our website. Click here for the parish registration form. Simply drop your completed form in the mail or in the collection basket.
What do we need to do to prepare for the baptism? Parents contact the Faith Formation Director at the parish office (603-436-4555) to fill out the baptism registration form. Parents will then be contacted by a Baptism Ministry Couple, who will set up a time to meet with them for an informal discussion about baptism and their involvement and experience in the Catholic faith. Subsequently, parents will come together for a Baptism Preparation session on the sacrament. Parents, who are actively involved in the life of the parish, do not need to attend the session upon the birth of subsequent children. Parents who are not actively involved in the life of the parish will need to repeat the session when subsequent children are born.
Do godparents need to attend the Baptism Preparation session?
No, they do not.
What documentation has to be completed and submitted?
In addition to the parents registering for the baptism, godparents need to provide a Sponsor Verification Form from their local parish that must be submitted to the office prior to the child’s baptism. The form can be obtained upon request from the church where the person is currently active.
What is required for a person to be eligible to be a godparent? The role of godparent is to support the parents in raising their child in the Catholic faith. Only one godparent is required but in the case of an infant two may be chosen. A child cannot have more than two godparents. A godparent must:
- Be a confirmed Catholic who faithfully participates in the liturgical life of the church.
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Be designated by the parents or legal guardians.
- Not be the father or mother of the one being baptized.
- A person who was baptized in the Catholic Church, who has not received the Sacrament of Confirmation cannot be a Christian Witness or a godparent.
Can a non-Catholic be a godparent? The godparent is someone who will participate in the faith development of the child as he/she matures and enters fully into the life of the Church through the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. Therefore, a non-Catholic cannot be a godparent.
What is a Christian Witness? A Christian Witness is a baptized non-Catholic who can stand as witness to the baptism. This person has no religious responsibility for the child and is not considered a godparent by the Church. A child can never have two Christian Witnesses. They must have at least one confirmed, Catholic godparent.
In the case of two godparents, do they have to be one male and one female or can we have two people of the same gender? Only one male and one female can be godparents. Godparents cannot be the same gender.
Do the godparents have to be present for the baptism? Ideally, the godparents will be present to participate in the baptism ritual. If however, if one or both godparents cannot be present a proxy can stand in for the godparent. The proxy can be any adult the parents choose. The godparents will be recorded as such in the permanent records.
What do I need to do if I plan to have my child baptized in another parish due to family affiliation? Contact the parish where you want to have your child baptized to learn what they require. They may require you to attend a baptism preparation class in this parish and provide verification that you attended. They will require a letter of permission from the pastor of this parish for you to have your child baptized in another parish.
What do I need to do if I am from another parish and want my child baptized at Corpus Christi due to family or historical affiliation? Contact us to begin the registration process. Contact your local parish and arrange to attend a Baptism Preparation session and provide verification that you attended. We require a letter of permission from the pastor of your local parish for you to have your child baptized in this parish.
For an article on “How to be a Great Godparent,” click here.