Congratulations on the birth of your child, the Parish Community shares in your joy. Baptism is celebrated in each of our Churches and you are invited to contact the Parish Office to arrange a date for your child’s Baptism. To help prepare for Baptism parents will meet with members of The Parish Baptism Team. At this meeting the signs, symbols and wording are discussed and the practicalities of the day are also addressed. In having your child Baptised you are thanking God for his gift to you and making a commitment to bring up your child in the Christian Faith. The Parish Community will help by giving you our wholehearted support.
How the Church sees Baptism
The Church sees Baptism as the first important step on the Christian journey. On the day your child was born, he/she was welcomed into your family. On the day of Baptism he/she is ritually welcomed into the bigger family of the Lord, the Church. In Baptism we enter into a unique and special relationship with the person of Jesus Christ and we try to live out that relationship in and through the people around us. Or put another way…
In Baptism we become
- A son/daughter of God the Father
- A brother/sister of Jesus Christ
- A temple of the Holy Spirit
- A member of God’s family, the Church.
The Symbols Used in the Baptism Ceremony
- The Sign of the Cross:
A stamp or imprint on something is a sign of its origin or ownership. The sign of the Cross which we make at the beginning of the ceremony on the person’s forehead, claims him/her for Christ.
In the Celebration of Baptism TWO different oils are used:
- The Oil of Catechumens – The person is anointed on the chest with this oil as a sign that the Lord is giving him/her strength for the Christian journey of life.
- The Oil of Chrism – Sacred oil with which the person is anointed on the top of the head. Oil is used to anoint kings and monarchs; it sets people aside for a mission. We are set aside for the Christian mission on the day we are baptised.
- Profession of Faith:
In Ireland people are generally baptised as babies or young children. Parents request Baptism for their child. In doing this sincerely parents are making a commitment to bring up their child in the faith. Parents promise to live by Christian values and to pass on these values to their child. They promise to bring their child to Mass and the Sacraments, for this is what it means to belong to the Christian family. Therefore, we profess the faith that we promise, before the community gathered, to pass onto our child. We pray for the grace to live as good Christian witnesses before our child.
Water is essential for life! In Baptism, water symbolises the new life we receive in Christ. Just as we nurture and care for a plant or shrub, in order for it to live a healthy life, we too must nurture and care for our faith in order for it to grow healthy and strong.
- Baptism Robe/Shawl:
The White Robe is a symbol of Christ. After they were baptised, the Early Christians used to cloth themselves in white garments to show that they had “put on Christ”. In the same way, the person, during the Baptism ceremony is clothed in the white shawl to show that he/she is “clothed in Christ” or “wrapped up” in the love of Christ!
- The Baptism Candle:
The large Easter Candle (or Pascal Candle) is lit for the Baptism ceremony. The light symbolises Christ, the Risen Lord, who overcame the Cross and rose to new life. It is a symbol of hope! A smaller Baptism Candle is lit from the Easter Candle. This light, love and hope of Jesus is gradually passed on to the new Christian through the parents and godparents.
After The Baptism Ceremony
As your children grow it is important to pray with them, share some bible stories (maybe purchase a Children’s Bible), visit the Church to light a candle for someone who is sick, attend Mass…etc.
We pray God’s Blessing upon you in the challenge ahead of bringing up your child in the faith…..
Registration of Baptism
The parish records the Baptism of your child in the Baptismal Register of the parish. This record includes the full names of the child, parents and godparents, the child’s date of birth, the date of the Baptism and the name of the officiating priest or deacon. A Certificate of Baptism can be issued by the Parish Office on request.
In recent years some people from other lands and traditions have made enquiries about becoming Catholics and being baptised. There is a diocesan programme of preparation for adults seeking Baptism. If you wish to explore the possibility of becoming a member of the Catholic Church please contact the Parish Office.