“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:19-20
The sacrament of Baptism marks the beginning of our life of faith. In Baptism, we are welcomed into God’s family and begin the journey of getting to know and understand the meaning of God’s love. At St. Mary’s, there are two programmes of preparation for the sacrament of Baptism depending on the age of the person wanting to be baptised.
Baptism of a Child
For a baby to be baptised there needs to be ‘a well founded hope’ that the child will be nourished in the knowledge and practice of the faith. Parents might ask themselves about the ‘dream’ they have for their children and how faith is going to be nurtured in their child’s life.
At St. Mary’s, the baptismal preparation programme for a child is in three parts:
1. Participation in a Baptism Preparation Programme. Please contact the Parish Office to book into the preparation course. This is essential. Please note that the Baptismal Preparation Programme runs every two months.
2. Presentation of your child to the Christian community of St Mary’s at one of the Sunday Masses. The presentation is a simple ritual within the Mass that involves presenting your child, the naming and the usual anointing with the Oil of Catechumens (no special clothing is required and godparents are not required to be present, but are most welcome).
3. The Celebration of Baptism then takes place the following Saturday. Due to the large number of requests for Baptism at St Mary’s, the Rite of Baptism is celebrated communally. Individual Baptisms do occur at St Mary’s, however, you will need to provide your own priest, and discuss the appropriate Baptismal preparation with him.
If this is not your first child to be baptised and you have already completed a preparation programme, you are not required to participate in another programme. You will only need to take part in the Presentation and Baptism steps as outlined above. Please book directly with the parish office and send in the completed form so that we can prepare the Certificate.
We would ask that you make a donation of $50 which would help us cover expenses. Please enclose this with your booking form. (If for any reason this causes hardship please do not hesitate to speak to the Pastoral Coordinator). If you are already taking part in the Parish planned giving programme then the donation is optional.
If St Mary’s is not your usual place of worship, we recommend you contact your local parish (look under “C” for “Catholic” in the white pages of the ‘business’ telephone book) or online. Baptism is an important way of making a connection with your local parish and priest, and the future support your local community offers. This is especially important if you will be looking to send your child to a local Catholic school. If you already belong to another parish, then the baptism should take place there. If you are requesting Baptism for your child so that they can attend a Catholic school, then please contact the parish office for further information.
Baptism of an Adult
The majority of Catholics are baptised into membership of the Church as a baby or child and grow up in an environment where the Church is always part of their lives.
Some people, however, are moved by the Holy Spirit to consciously and freely seek Baptism later in their life journey.
During the first centuries, the growth of the Church grew largely through the Baptism of adults. In recent years, the Church has returned to many of these first-century ceremonies for welcoming adults who seek baptism into the life of Christ.
This journey of faith, this period of reflection and discovery, and the ceremonies that accompany it have been brought together in a programme the Church calls ‘The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults’ or ‘RCIA’. Becoming Catholic.
The Celebration of Baptism
Those who are being baptised, their families, friends and the church community gather together.
Words of welcome are exchanged. The names that have been chosen for Baptism are announced and the parent’s desire to have their child baptised is expressed.
Everyone present listens to the Word of God (Readings from Sacred Scripture)
Oil of Catechumens
To prepare for Baptism, the candidate is anointed with the Oil of Catechumens as a sign of Christ’s protective power.
All present renew their own baptismal vows. Therefore, all godparents need to be Christian with at least one of them baptised, practising catholic.
The Baptism takes place as the priest pours holy water over the forehead three times as he says the words of Baptism.
Oil of Chrism
The newly baptised are then anointed with Sacred Chrism as a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Like Christ, the one baptised is now an “anointed one”.
As a sign of being a new creation clothed in Christ, the one who has been baptised is now covered with a white cloth.
As a sign of the light of Christ now present in the newly baptised, a candle is presented and lit from the paschal or Easter candle.
Final prayers and a blessing are given so that all present may love and serve the Lord in peace and goodwill.