Baptism

St Patrick’s Catholic Parish welcomes your baptism enquiry for your child, and invites you to read the following information which may answer many of your questions:

 

Baptism is the sacrament which begins our Christian life, and generally takes place relatively quickly after the baby is born, though it is not uncommon for a child to be older. It is the first sacrament of initiation and as such, takes place in front of a community - during the Mass for example, or with other families who are also baptising their children.

Baptisms take place at St Patrick’s Parish on the 1st, 3rd & 5th Sundays of the month at 10.30am, and outside of Mass. Variances to this schedule may take place at Christmas time, or when special events require that they take place on one of the predicted Sundays.

Under ‘News & Events’ on the parish website you will find copies of our Sunday Bulletin which provide the dates at least six months in advance.

If this is the baptism of your first child, or your first to be baptised at St Patrick’s, you will be asked to attend a brief [less than one hour] Baptism Preparation course which takes place on the 4th Saturday of each month, and, all parents are asked to present their baby for a pre-baptism blessing at a nominated Mass relevant to the date of the baptism.

Of course, Baptism is only the beginning of the journey and in time it is hoped that you will guide your child on to the next sacrament which is Confirmation and is available when your child is seven years of age. Following that your child is eligible to make his or her 1st Reconciliation at eight, and in our parish, receive the 1st Eucharist the same year. You may be interested in going to these pages at this site to find out more.

To arrange your child’s baptism, please phone the Parish Office on (02) 4325 1042.

 

Baptism: Your Questions Answered

What if my child is no longer a baby?

Baptism for a child under 7 years of age is a straightforward matter. If a child is over 7 years then there is an expectation that the child, accompanied by his or her parent/s, would undergo instruction as the child is now old enough to be able to understand what is happening and what baptism means for him or her. This will be discussed with you at the time of booking, and following an interview with our Parish Priest.

What if we, the parents, aren’t Catholic?

It is not uncommon for parents who aren’t baptised Catholic themselves to want this for their child.  An interview with our Parish Priest would be required before the baptism were to proceed, but please do not feel intimidated as it is merely the platform for you to express your desire for a Catholic upbringing for your child.

What if I am raising my child on my own?

In the case of a parent, mum or dad, who has been left to raise their child, or even in some instances those who have not had involvement with the child’s mother or father since conception or birth, this parish simply asks that either permission is sought from the other parent, or a statement is given by the parent who requests the baptism that it is their choice alone to have the child baptised. 

What is the role of a ‘Godparent’?

The role of the godparent or sponsor at the baptism of a child is to join with the parents in presenting the child, and to be a help and support to the child in growing in faith and living the Christian life.

The question that is asked of godparents explains this: 'Are you willing to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents?' They stand with the parents and proclaim their faith on behalf of the child.

How many Godparents may I have, and are there any qualifications?

Only one godparent is required and he or she ought also to live out those same Christian values and way of life that the ceremony implies. For this reason the Church requires that the godparent be a confirmed Catholic who has received the Eucharist, who is at least 16 years of age, and lives out the life of faith required by the role.

It is more common though that parents would like to have two godparents, and in some cultures it is a common and legitimate custom to allow a greater number. Usually in Australia there are two to four.

As long as one godparent is Catholic, it is permissible for a non-Catholic to act as witness to a child's baptism. Nothing is noted on the baptismal certificate about the religion of the parents and all have an equal role in the baptism ceremony. 

What does each of the Symbols of Baptism mean?

Water

The priest pours water over the head of your baby and says "I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." 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 the baptism of 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. It is also a sign of life. Without water nothing can grow. It is a sign of the new spiritual life into which the baptised person is entering.

Oil

Oil of Baptism (Chrism) is olive oil used to place the sign of the cross on the baby’s forehead. Just as athletes used to rub themselves with oil to strengthen and prepare for the fight ahead, it symbolises strengthening for the struggles of life ahead. 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.

Baptismal Candle

As a sign of the new life a baptismal candle will be lit using the flame from the Easter Candle which symbolises the light of Christ - the Light of the World. This is the light that darkness cannot overcome. Light warms and encourages, it gives safety and illuminates the way ahead. It can burn and test substances. The baptised child, who has opened his or her eyes to the light of creation, is now awakened by the flame of faith. The child is called to see all things through the eyes of Jesus Christ.

White Garment

Clothing in a white garment is part of the ceremony to symbolise your child’s new life in Christ. The colour white speaks of life, purity, newness and innocence. It is also a sign of the new life of resurrection.