Baptism is the most important spiritual event in a person's life. By Baptism, a child is freed from the vestiges of original sin, filled with the Holy Spirit and becomes a member of the wider Body of Christ, the Church. By this sacrament the child becomes consecrated and holy, belonging to God and now has the right to enjoy the spiritual promises given by Christ to believers, namely, eternal life.
Ordinarily, the parents of the child to be baptized are members of St. Joseph’s Parish. If you are not and live in the area, you are invited to register and become active in our parish family. If you live elsewhere and wish to have your child baptized here, all we need is a letter of permission from your home parish.
If one of the parents is not Catholic, he or she is welcomed to participate in the baptismal ceremony as much as they wish. For other Christians, this often means full participation; for non-baptized persons, they may choose not to do such things as make the sign of the cross or certainly not to renew baptismal promises. We have a large Church and you are invited to invite family members and friends to attend the Mass and stay for the baptism which follows.
Consequently, the conferral of this sacrament upon a child obliges the parents to raise that child to be an educated and committed Catholic. What that means is the following:
- parents must teach children their prayers,
- parents must share the moral and spiritual teachings of the Gospel with their children,
- parents must teach their children about the life, death, & Resurrection of Jesus,
- parents must enroll their children in Religious Education classes when they are in the first grade,
- and most importantly of all, parents must attend Mass weekly with their family and make Sunday Mass attendance a family priority.
You will need to select at least one qualified godparent or sponsor. There are normally two godparents, one man and one woman.
Godparents need to be at least 16 years of age, confirmed and, if currently married, married according to the laws of the Church. They must have an active affiliation with a Catholic church and must obtain a “sponsor’s certificate” from the church they currently are registered with.
It is possible to have one “Catholic Sponsor” and one “Christian Witness”. A Christian witness is a person who is baptized in another Christian denomination.
A close friend or family member who is not baptized does not qualify to be a godparent. This applies also for a Catholic who is not confirmed or one who is currently in a marriage not recognized by the Catholic Church.
There is no fee for a baptism. If you would like to make a donation to the Church, place it in an envelope with the child’s name on it and give it to the priest on the day of the baptism.
The ceremony is a joyous occasion in which children are initiated into the Catholic faith. It begins with a welcoming rite in which the parents publicly name their child and, along with the priest or deacon, trace the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead. This is followed by a reading from scripture, a renunciation of sin and profession of faith by the parents and godparents, the blessing of the water and the actual baptism. The child is anointed with chrism and then clothed in a white garment. Someone from the family (such as parent or godparent) lights the child’s candle from the Easter candle.
SIGNS & SYMBOLS
Sign of the Cross: The sign of the cross is the mark of Christians because Jesus Christ died on the cross. Parents and godparents trace it on the child’s forehead to show that the child belongs to Christ, who now offers his help and grace to face and overcome the sufferings of life.
Water: This 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 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.
Oils: Oil of baptism is olive oil rubbed on the breast of the child to strengthen and prepare for the fight ahead. Oil of chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam 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.
White Garment: This garment is a relic of the new clothes worn by Christians after baptism. It is a sign of innocence and the new life of resurrection.
Candles: These symbolize Christ – the Light of the World. The baptismal candle is lit from the paschal candle, which stands near the altar at Easter as sign of the risen Christ. The baptismal candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered the child’s life; and it’s flame symbolizes the flame of faith which will burn through the life of your child.
Certificate of Baptism: Your child’s baptism will be recorded in the parish Baptismal Register. In the years ahead proof of baptism may be obtained in the form of a certificate issued on the basis of this registration. Your child’s Confirmation, Marriage or Ordination will also be noted alongside this entry in the register.
Scheduling a baptism
To schedule the baptism of your child, please secure the Sponsor Certificates for the godparents/sponsors you have selected. Once you have the sponsor certificates, please contact the parish office to schedule a meeting with Father Jay by registering online. At this meeting, you will discuss your intentions to baptize your child and schedule the baptism date.