Congratulations on the birth of your child! Rathdrum parish rejoices with you and looks forward to welcoming your child into the local Roman Catholic community.
The sacrament of Baptism is a beautiful and magnificent gift from God. Baptism into the Catholic Christian worldwide community enhances the faith of the family, friends and parish community in which it is celebrated. As such, it is not a private affair, but rather a Catholic community celebration.
In requesting that your child be accepted into the Body of Christ community, you confirm that you will raise your child to be an active part of the community.
To have your child baptised, please do the following:
- Baptism Preparation Meeting – Contact the Parish Office to register for a baptism preparation meeting. These meetings are held regularly throughout the year in the Brockagh Centre in Laragh.
- Select Godparents – (see notes below). The Godparents are also welcome to attend the baptism preparation meeting.
- Select Date for Baptism – There is a schedule of baptism dates throughout the church cluster of Rathdrum (including Greenane and Clara Vale), Glendalough and Roundwood. Please select one of the designated dates for your chosen church when you talk to the Parish Secretary.
- Practical Preparation – Please see notes below regarding necessary documentation, clothing, candles etc.
It is essential that the child’s parents attend a baptism preparation meeting. Godparents are also welcome to attend. The meetings for our cluster of parishes are held at the Brockagh Centre in Laragh. During the meeting, you will be able to discuss the theology of the sacrament of baptism, as well as the practical aspects of the ceremony itself. It is a great opportunity to put any questions you might have. Please contact the Parish Office to register for the next baptism preparation meeting.
Godparents help the parents in the Christian formation of their child, and (more importantly) the godparent must be an example to the child of what a Christian is. At least one godparent must be a confirmed, practising Catholic age 16 or older
What are the requirements for baptism?
For a child to be baptised in the Roman Catholic Church, there must be a basis for hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. In practice, this generally means that at least one parent is a practising Catholic. Each child brought forward for baptism must also have at least one godparent who is a confirmed, practising Catholic age 16 or older.
What are the requirements for godparents?
We hope that parents choose godparents who will take an active role in the faith formation of their child.
It is important that the godparent(s) be present at the rite, so that they can make their commitment publicly and confirm to the church the close bond between the godparent(s) and the family. The godparents must not only be ready to help the parents in the Christian formation of their child, but (more importantly) the godparent must be an example to the child of what a Christian is. Lastly it is good to remember that during the celebration the godparent(s) speak not only for themselves but for the entire church.
So with this in mind:
The church requires at least one godparent who is a practising, confirmed Catholic age 16 or older. That godparent’s name is entered into the parish record book as the “official” godparent or sponsor for baptism.
If you choose more than two godparents, one or two may have their names entered into the book as “official” godparents, and the others can be “honorary” godparents. You don’t have to tell them which is which. All the godparents’ personal relationship to the child and to you as a family is the same whether their names are recorded in the book or not.
If you choose two godparents of the same sex, one can be the “official” godparent for the record book, and the other can be the “honorary” one. (Just as above, you don’t have to tell anyone which is which except us.)
Baptised non-Catholic Christians may not be “official” godparents for the record book, but they may be Christian witnesses for your child.
People who are not baptised Christians cannot be sponsors for baptism, since they themselves are not baptised. However, you may certainly invite non-Christian friends or relatives to attend the celebration and to have a special place in your child’s life, sharing with your child their own faith traditions
What should the baby wear for the baptism?
A white garment is an ancient sign of the newly baptised Christian’s new life in Christ. Your child’s baptismal garment need not be a traditional baptismal or christening gown; it can be any clothing that is mainly white. It might be a gown that has been in your family for generations, or it might be something newly purchased just for this occasion – many chain stores sell appropriate clothing.
The child will be baptised by infusion, that is, by pouring water from the font over the baby’s head, and the child wears the white garment throughout the service. So please bring your child to church dressed in comfortable clothes that will be easy to remove and open, as you will be partially undressing the baby at your seat.
It is a symbol of your child’s “putting on the new life of Christ”, you are asked to bring with you a white garment in which to dress your child after he/she is baptised.
One of the most important symbols of baptism representing the light of Christ, is the baptismal candle. The presider will light this baptism candle from the Easter candle during the ceremony.
Each family must provide a white candle for each child being baptised. We recommend using a large, free standing, pillar type candle so that it can be used again for other sacramental celebrations for that child (communion, confirmation, etc). This type of candle and candle holder can be purchased at any candle shop and most shopping centres.
When will we receive the baptism certificate?
When you book a date for the baptism, the parish secretary will ask you for the details of the godparents and a copy of your child’s birth certificate. These are very important and are needed for a number of reasons including the issuing of the baptism certificate. Shortly after the baptism, we will send you one baptism certificate with the parents’ names, including the mother’s maiden name (as called for by church regulations). If your child ever needs a copy of the baptism certificate later, perhaps for school registration or for marriage, please contact the parish office.
The Rite of Baptism is a sacred event, one in which we celebrate with much joy. We encourage families to record this special event, either with photographs or video, to share with your child as he or she grows. However, we ask that you DO NOT take photographs during the actual service itself out of respect for the sacredness of the sacrament. But you may take as may photos before or afterwards. We would also ask that you be considerate of the other families present.
Thank you for making this a beautiful celebration for your family and all the other families and guests in attendance.