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Baptism

The sacrament of baptism ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. It is the foundation for the sacramental life.

At baptism, the presider prays over the water:

Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Holy Spirit give to this water the grace of your Son, so that in the sacrament of baptism all those whom you have created in your likeness may be cleansed from sin and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit. (Christian Initiation of Adults, #222A)

Freed from Sin

Baptism frees us from the bondage of original and actual sin. Water is poured in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today, the sacrament of baptism is often performed on infants, shortly after birth. Adult baptisms take place at the Easter Vigil through the restored Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adults or children who have been baptized in a valid Christian church are not baptized again in the Catholic church. As we say in the Nicene Creed, “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…”

The Catechism teaches:
"The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ" (CCC 1279).

Baptismal Symbols

  • Water – The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.
  • Oil – At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as a reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
  • Light – The baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal or Easter candle that stands in the church as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.
  • White garment – The white garment that is placed upon us at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that we are destined for eternal life.

While in ordinary circumstances, sacraments in the Catholic Church are administered validly by a member of the ordained clergy, in an emergency situation, the sacrament of baptism can be administered by anyone.

In case of necessity, any person can baptize provided that he have the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that he pour water on the candidates head while saying: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (CCC 1284).

 

 

Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)

 

 

 

Who can have a child baptized at St. Joseph Cathedral?

Anyone may request a baptism for their child. If you are not registered in a Catholic parish, you will be encouraged to register at St. Joseph Cathedral or your local parish. Sometimes the child’s parents are members of another parish, but the child’s grandparents or other relatives are members of the Cathedral, and would like the baptism to take place here. In that case the parents must contact the Cathedral directly with their request. It is the responsibility of their home parish to prepare the parents. The parents’ home parish must send a letter of permission to St. Joseph Cathedral.

How old can the child be?

The child to be baptized as “an infant” should be under the age of seven. If the child is older than that they can be prepared for baptism through the Children’s Catechumenate. Contact the parish office to arrange for an older child’s baptism.

What does the Catholic Church require of parents?

Preparation: Every parish is required to prepare parents in some manner before their child is baptized. Here at the Cathedral this process is accomplished by having the parents contact the baptism coordinator, Deacon Bob Potvin, at the parish office (603) 622-6404. He will schedule a training session on the sacrament of Baptism at that time. This needs to be done at least one month before the baptism is to take place in order to get the godparent forms signed and returned from their parishes at least one week before baptism. No baptisms can take place without verification of the godparents.

At the Baptism Rite, parents are addressed:

“You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him/her in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him/her up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?” Parents should already be demonstrating that they have a commitment to their faith and are practicing themselves what they want to pass on to their child.

What does the Catholic Church require of godparents?

Godparents are chosen to support the parents in the commitment the parents are making. Whereas most parents choose two godparents for their child, only one is required. At least one of your chosen godparents must be a fully initiated Catholic (has received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation), and if married be in a valid Catholic marriage. They must be over the age of 16 and active in practicing their faith. If a second godparent doesn’t meet this requirement of a sponsor, they should at least be baptized – a Christian witness. If two godparents are chosen, one is the godfather and one is the godmother.

What is the schedule for baptisms at St. Joseph Cathedral?

With few exceptions t Cathedral schedules Baptism Rites once a month at 12:00 pm, usually in the chapel. Check with the office for the next scheduled Sundays. The process may begin before the baby is born, but you should allow a minimum of six weeks before the baptism is to take place. Only emergency baptisms are allowed during the season of Lent but baptism preparation can be scheduled at any time.

How do I proceed to have my child baptized at St. Joseph Cathedral?

The process begins with either a phone call to the Baptism Coordinator at the parish office: (603) 622-6404 or by filling out the form below. (Learn More) learn more

 

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