Baptism at Saint Paul Parish
The faith community of Saint Paul Parish rejoices with you and your family in the gift of your child. As a community of faith, we are excited that your child will join the faith in the sacrament of Baptism.
The primary meaning of Baptism is that it is a “Sacrament of Initiation” into the life of the church. Baptism is one of many sacraments your child will be encouraged to receive as your child journeys through life.
Parents are the first teachers of the faith to their child. Seeking the sacrament of baptism, presumes that the parents are active participants in the life of the church. However, we realize that this is not always the case. We welcome all to the sacrament understanding that parents maybe on different parts of their faith journey. For this reason, instruction is given to all parents to assist them in their duties as Christian parents.
It is customary today to have the baptism at the Sunday Eucharist because the sacrament is a communal event that gives life not only to the child but to the entire faith community. Baptisms can be scheduled for any Sunday except during Lent (Ash Wednesday until Holy Thursday).
Parents seeking to have their child baptized at Saint Paul Parish can contact the parish office (902-463-5897, ext 3) to arrange for instruction and to set a date for the baptism; or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why We Baptize Children in the Catholic Church
We still baptize infants and children in the Catholic Church for the same reason that existed in the early Church. It is our enthusiasm for our faith.
It is because we believe that the teaching of Jesus Christ is our source for good and wholesome living, our chance for sanctity and fulfillment; that at the time of birth, parents and the whole Christian community rejoice in the opportunity to bring a new person into contact with their creator through their practice of the Catholic faith.
Parents, godparents and the whole Christian community baptize the child under their sponsorship, promising to teach him/her to love God and their neighbor and to train them in the practice of the faith.
The Practice of the Faith
Every Catholic knows that the practice of the faith means the celebration of the sacraments as prescribed by the leaders of the Church. This means regular prayer and especially participation in the celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays.
Because our religion involves a personal relationship with God, we are not authorized to enter into judgment upon one another. We recognize that this personal relationship is unique for each member of the Church and therefore avoid external criteria for determining the correctness of a baptism. Baptism is therefore a choice based upon the parents unique individual experience of faith.
It is usually assumed that parents who present their children for baptism are acting out of good faith and in good will because they want their child to have the opportunity to learn about God and experience His presence in the Church community. It is for this reason that the baptism of every child is a cause of celebration for the whole parish community. Baptism is the sacrament of "entrance" into, not only the Roman Catholic Church, but more importantly, the local parish community. For this reason it is assumed that families are already members of the parish community, if not fully active, registered members, then at least members due to geographical proximity. If this is not the case you will be encouraged to contact the Roman Catholic Church in your area.
Significance of Sponsorship
Sometimes in our modern impersonal society, we forget the communal dimension of the celebration of sacraments, perhaps especially in baptism. When people are baptized as infants or children, the interplay of the role of parents, godparents, and parish helps us to understand the significance of this communal dimension.
The child's parents are the centerpiece of the sponsorship. They are the ones who are the "first teachers or witnesses" of their child in the ways of the faith. Baptism is their choice for their child and it reflects their hopes and their dreams for him/her.
Parents are not alone in rejoicing over the Baptism. They choose sponsors, commonly called "godparents". The godparents are chosen by the parents because they represent their family and friends, and also represent the Christian community. Canon Law states that each child presented for baptism must have at least one sponsor who is a fully initiated Roman Catholic over the age of 16. Non-catholic godparents may be chosen in addition to this and they have a role as "witness" to the celebration.
The Parish is also part of the sponsorship. Within the parish are found the pastors, ministers, and catechists who will assist the parents in helping the young person to learn about God and the potential fulfillment as a human and spiritual person, which is the purpose of the Church.