The Sacrament of Baptism
CCC 1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”
1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”
1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”
1216 “This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding
. . . .” Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself:
Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift….We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship. Read More about the Sacrament of Baptism in the Catechism of the Catholic Church : 1213-1284
The Baptism of Infants
The usual church for Baptism is the parish church of the family whose baby is to be baptised.
Contact should be made with the Parish Priest to arrange for the baptismal preparation and a suitable date for the baptism.
Most parishes offer baptismal preparation and the opportunity to meet parishioners and other families with children for baptism. This enables those seeking baptism to feel part of the parish community and heightens the significance of the baptism being celebrated in the local parish community.
Where for some good reason, the family is seeking to celebrate the baptism outside their parish church, the permission of their parish priest needs to be obtained and given to the celebrant of the baptism.
Godparents share in the responsibility with the parents, of introducing to, instructing in, supporting and forming the Catholic faith in their godchildren. For this reason, parents need to take great care in choosing godparents and take into account in their choice the commitment to and practice of the Catholic faith and preparedness of the godparents to be involved in the faith development of the child for whom they are accepting this responsibility. Because of the importance of the godparents’ role as a model and mentor of the Catholic faith they must be Catholics. Provision is made for further support by non-Catholics through the role of Witnesses of Faith who stand with the godparents.
The Baptism of Adults