PREPARATION FOR BAPTISM AT ST TERESA’S PARISH
For parents and godparents to read, ponder and carry out in their Christian life.
If you would like your child to be baptised at St. Teresa’s, please visit the Parish Office to pick up an application pack.
When is the right time to baptise my child?
Ordinarily, once baby has been born and you have settled back at home, you should make contact with the parish to see about Baptism Preparation that includes a meeting with the priest along with the godfather and godmother as well as choosing a date and time for the baptism of your child.
How do I prepare for the Baptism of my child?
We ask that mother, father, and the godparents attend a Baptism Formation Class to explore the meaning of this sacrament which you are requesting for your baby.
It is important, where possible, that the godparents attend this session with you as their role is very important. The Sacrament of Baptism the parents and godparents attend the Baptism Formation Class. These are held once a month in the parish meeting room. Date and time to be confirmed.
When is the Sacrament of Baptism celebrated?
As the Sacrament of Baptism incorporates the person (infant or adult) into the life of the Church, it is fitting to have a Baptism within the Sunday Celebration of the Mass. However, it is also possible to arrange for Baptism to take place at another time.
What do I need for the Baptism?
- One godparent at least needs be present; (see below for details.)
- You can bring a candle. The Parish can supply one or you can arrange to purchase a painted candle from the Catholic shop or order one from www.wordsonwax.co.nz
- You also need a white garment (stole). You can use a shawl if you have one or a stole is available from the Parish.
How do I choose the godparents?
To be a child’s godparent is an honour and a privilege. It means that the parents want this person to be an influence for good on their child; to be a good example; to be a guardian and helper “in the things of the Holy Spirit and of faith”. They support you in the Spiritual upbringing of your child.
For this reason, a godparent should be a Catholic over 16 years of age, who has received the Holy Eucharist and who lives a life of faith. A Christian person who is not Catholic may also be chosen, although they are what is known as a “Christian witness” and not strictly speaking a godparent.
- If you live outside our Parish boundary and do not worship at St Teresa’s Parish, you should have your child baptised in the parish where you live.
- If you were once a parishioner here and are coming back to St Teresa’s Parish (e.g. for Christmas or holidays) and wish to have your child baptised, you should obtain a letter of permission from your parish for the baptism to be celebrated here. This should be forwarded to us in good time before you arrive.
- It is customary to make an offering (called a “stole fee”) after a baptism (as with a marriage or funeral). This is not retained by the Priest personally but goes towards the upkeep of all the priests of the Diocese. People often ask what is appropriate for a Baptism – we suggest $40.00 but this is an offering and is never insisted upon, as we do not “pay” for sacraments. No one is ever refused the sacraments because of a difficulty in making an offering.
Necessary spiritual formation for parents and godparents
- Why does the Church baptise children?
From the very beginning, the Church has always baptised children as well as adults because it was a command from Jesus himself and necessary to obtain Eternal Life and the Beatific Vision.
Indeed, our Lord said: “Unless a person is reborn in water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3). After his Resurrection he sent his first apostles and priests to baptise when he said: “Go forth and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Mt 28, 19). And Jesus added: “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.” (Mk16)
This means that children should not be deprived of baptism. Children are precious to Jesus. He said: “Let the children come to me…” (Mt 19).
- Where is the sacrament of Baptism normally received?
It takes place in the parish Church for it is there that the parish family gathers. It is there that we become incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ more visible during Sunday celebrations.
- What does the word “baptism” means?
It means the washing or cleansing or plunging in water. It comes from the Greek language. In the Church, baptism does not mean just ordinary washing or bathing with water. It has a sacred meaning. Through Baptism, we are “plunged” into the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in. The Sacrament of baptism is the most fundamental of the seven sacraments because without it, the soul is not washed from Original Sin; the child is deprived of the life of the Holy Trinity without Baptism!
- Read the Official teaching of the Catholic Church on Baptism
In case you do not have a copy of the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church), here is a link to the online version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm
When a child is baptised by the Church, Jesus baptises that child. He sends the Holy Spirit into that child. The Holy Spirit makes this child a child of God. No man or woman can do that. Only God can make someone his son or daughter. God does this through the Sacrament of Baptism, and that is why we should ensure that our children are baptised.