- Written by Damien
A Reason to Rejoice!
The birth of a new baby is a great event for you as a parent and for your whole family. The Church wants to rejoice with you at the arrival of a new unique person created in the image and likeness of God. As parents you have the great privilege - and responsibility - of bringing up your child and helping that child to grow to become a mature and independent person.
As parents, you will be concerned that you do everything that is best for your child. You will have spent a long time thinking and talking about the best way to bring that child up, and all that you want to share. One of the most important things you will want to share with your child will be your faith, your own relationship with the loving God who has shown us love in Jesus Christ.
We believe that in Baptism a child is brought into a special relationship with that loving God by becoming Christ-ened, becoming like Christ. Baptism makes a child a member of the Church, someone who belongs to God, and who God nourishes and supports through the graces given through the Church. Baptism is the beginning of that life with God that continues on through all our earthly life and beyond.
A time for preparation.
All the important events in life need preparation, so that we make sure that everything is clear and everything goes as we hope. As the beginning of your child's life with God, Baptism too will need careful preparation.
As parents, and godparents, you will make certain promises in the celebration of Baptism. It is important that before you take on such solemn promises you have been helped to think it all through. During the ceremony, you are asked to profess your own faith in God, the faith that your child will be baptised into. That is something you need to have time to reflect on.
It is common to ask all sorts of friends and relatives to be godparent to your child, and there are all sorts of reasons for this. The godparents however, are really there to represent the whole Church community into which your child is being baptised. They make promises on their own behalf as part of the Church, that they will take seriously their responsibility to help your child grow in the knowledge and love of God. This is an important promise. It makes sense therefore to insist that at least one of your chosen godparents should be a practising Roman Catholic
As Baptism is about becoming part of the whole Church, and especially the local Catholic community some parents ask to have their children baptised during the main Sunday Mass. This can be a great time of celebration, especially when the family are well known in the Parish, and the whole Parish family can join in the celebration.
At other times, when perhaps many of the family and friends of the parents of the child are not involved in the Catholic Church, Baptism is celebrated quietly on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The priest will help you think about which of these might be