Sacrament of Baptism
Welcome to God's Family!
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit . . . And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Mt. 28: 19-20).
"From the moment Jesus said (these words), the disciples went out to baptize. And from that time until today, there is a chain in the transmission of the faith through Baptism. And each one of us is a link in that chain!" (Pope Francis, General Audience of January 15, 2014).
Baptism (specifically, Infant Baptism) is a welcoming ritual with a unique opportunity to connect with Catholic families at a very meaningful time in their lives. Formation (preparation) for parents seeking Baptism for their infant (or young child) were mandated by the new Rite of Infant Baptism in 1969 immediately after the Second Vatican Council. The Council highlighted the role of parents as the first and most important teachers of the faith.
The Church stands as a ready partner with parents in the on-going formation of their children, beginning at baptism. Baptism is the first sacrament and the gateway to life in the Spirit. Each of the other sacraments builds on the grace of Baptism. Through Baptism, a person becomes a member of the Church and a disciple of Jesus. Original sin is cleansed and the person gains the promise of eternal life in Christ. Baptism is celebrated only once in a person's lifetime.
Welcoming each new member is the responsibility of all those who have been baptized. Baptism can be celebrated during Sunday Mass, allowing the entire parish community to rejoice in the arrival of new life in the family and in the Church. Baptism can also be celebrated outside of Mass. Baptism connects us ---for life---to the worldwide Christian family.
Godparents have the privileged role of assisting parents to nurture the child's faith from childhood though maturity. According to Canon Law (#872-874) a godparent must be at least sixteen years of age and be fully initiated into the faith (i.e. has received the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). He or she should lead a life of faith in harmony with the duty undertaken. The godparent may not be one of the parents of the child being baptized. One godparent is required for Baptism and a maximum of two can participate in the ritual and be recorded in the baptismal record.
Children aged seven and older are prepared for Baptism through the parish-based Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (with adaptations for children).