THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
If you would like your child to be baptised in St Mary's, the first step is to ring the Parish Office (01606 832359) and make an appointment to see Fr Peter. Please note that at least 6 weeks notice is needed. You should not make arrangements for a specific date without talking to Fr Peter first.
A date for the Baptism will be arranged with him, then you will be invited to come to a meeting with other Baptism couples, and watch a DVD on Baptism. At this meeting you can ask any questions or tell us of any concerns you have. Fr Peter will call to see you at home a few days before the baptism. Baptisms are celebrated at 12.00 noon on Sundays, and there are never more than two together.
Any adult wishing to be baptised should contact the Parish Office and make an appointment to see Fr Peter. You will then be invited to join our RCIA group which meets weekly to prepare for Baptism, or, if you are already baptised in a non-catholic church, for reception into full communion with the Catholic Church.
What does the Church Teach?
1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 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."5
1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptise (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."6
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."7
1216 "This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . ."8 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:9
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.10