Congratulations! On behalf of the staff and parishioners of Saint John the Evangelist & Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, we would like to congratulate you and thank you for bringing your child to be baptized into the Catholic Faith. Your child’s Baptism is definitely a time for celebration and joy not only for your family but also for our parish community! As your child is the best gift to you from God, this is the best gift that you can give to your child, the gift of faith, the life in the spirit.
There seems to be so much to do when caring for young children. Some people think of Baptism as just one more thing to “get done”. That is sad - for Baptism is a birth into the Christian community and is in every way as solemn and
important as birth itself. Your children will inherit your Faith. So this point in your spiritual life is a good time to really look at the role your Faith plays for you.
Baptism preparation class is required for parents and godparents if they belong
to the parish. Parents should register in advance to make arrangements.
Classes are held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month 7:00-8:00 PM at SJE.
After you have selected a date for your child’s Baptism, parents should arrange a meeting with one of the priests. This meeting will be devoted to paperwork, and to discuss the sacrament of Baptism and answer any of your questions. Please bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate and the names of the godparents.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is one of the seven sacraments of the Church and the first of the three initiation sacraments (the other two being the Eucharist and Confirmation). Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door that gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, and become members of His family, the Church. Every person not yet baptized and only such a person can be baptized.
What are the Parents’ responsibilities?
Parents are the first and best teachers of your child. It will be your responsibility to teach your child about God and the Church. Baptism is just the beginning of a person’s faith journey. You plant the seed of faith in your child. Your child needs to continue to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of God’s love to complete their Christian initiation.
Who can be a Godparent?
Church law requires that at least one godparent, male or female, should be a practicing catholic. Generally parents select two godparents, one male and one female. Godparents must be at least 16 years of age and have received the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and should be good role models in living the Catholic faith. A baptized member of a non-catholic church may act as a Christian Witness along with a Catholic Godparent. A sponsor letter stating the eligibility from their parish should be submitted. One should not be selected out of social obligation.
Customarily, the infants are brought to the church dressed in white baptismal gowns or suits. But any clothing is fine as long as the priest has access to the baby’s breastbone so that he can anoint the baby with the Oil of Baptism.
There is no fee for Baptism or any other church service. It is customary, however, for an offering to be made. You may give a good will offering to the priest at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Arriving at the Church
Parents, child, Godparents and family should arrive at the church 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the Mass. Normally baptism is given immediately after Mass.
The Signs and Symbols of Baptism.
Water - symbolizes cleansing and is a sign that our sins are washed away. Baptism cleanses us of original sin. It is also necessary for life and is a sign of the new life of Christ we receive in the waters of
Baptism. Once baptized, we bare the title, Christian.
Sign of the Cross - parents and Godparents will trace the Sign of the Cross on the child’s forehead to show that the baby belongs to Christ, who now offers his help and grace to face and overcome the sufferings of life. It is a symbolic sharing of your faith with your child.
The top of the baby’s chest is anointed with the Oil of Catechumens. In ancient times, soldiers and athletes used to rub themselves with oil to strengthen and prepare themselves for the battle ahead. We use it
symbolically in the Sacrament of Baptism to pray that the soon to be baptized will have the strength they need to lead a good Christian life.
Oil of Chrism is a mixture of Olive Oil and Balsam (sweet-smelling
ointment) and is used to anoint the crown of the head. It is a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The profession of faith, which you make on behalf of your child at baptism, will later be confirmed
personally by your child at the sacrament of confirmation when Oil of Chrism will be used again. These oils are blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday.
White Garment - in keeping with the tradition of the new clothes worn by Christians after Baptism in the first centuries. It is a sign of
innocence and purity.
Candle - symbolize Christ, the Light of the World. The Baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal candle, which is a sign of the risen Christ. The Baptismal candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered the child’s life; and its flame symbolizes the flame of faith that will burn through the life of the child. Let this light of Christ Shine on your child and you.
Your baby’s Baptism will be recorded in the parish Baptismal Register. In years ahead, proof of Baptism may be obtained in the form of a
certificate issued on the basis of this registration. Your child’s
Confirmation, Marriage or Ordination will also be noted alongside this entry in the register
The ceremony begins with a warm welcome to you and your family and friends from the priest on behalf of the whole Church. The priest will
ask what name you have given your baby and whether you accept the
responsibility of bringing up your child in the practice of the faith. The Gospel reading and homily will focus on the Sacrament of Baptism.
Following the homily, we offer our Prayers of Intercession for the child and for all gathered to celebrate this sacrament. Finally, we call upon the saints in heaven to watch over and intercede on behalf of all the baptized.
The priest then prays that your baby may be delivered from every evil. This prayer is reinforced by the anointing with Oil of Baptism. The water is now blessed. The priest will then asks you to renew the vows which were made for you at your own Baptism,. At this time he will once again
reminding you of your duty to bring up your child as a good Christian.
The priest will pour the Baptismal water over your child’s forehead three times, saying: “N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Your baby is now a Christian. Following an ancient custom, your baby is anointed with Oil of Chrism. “Christ” means “anointed one” - for Jesus was given special work to do. He suffered, died and rose again to unite us to his heavenly Father. Your baby has the special work of living as a member of the Church. The offering of thanks and praise to the Father, which begins at Mass, is the beginning of an eternal life of joy.
The clothing in the white garment along with the presentation of the
Baptismal Candle are symbolic of how we, the baptized, are given the
responsibility of bearing witness to Christ in the lives of all we meet. We are called to imitate Christ in always doing the will of the Father, and to bring his light and love into the lives of all we meet.
The ceremony is now over and the Church sends you on your future life
together as a family. Everyone prays together the prayer that Christ taught us, the Our Father. This is followed by special prayers for each parent and all who have joined in this joyful welcoming of a new
Christian into the world.
Your child is the newest member of our parish. Your family is the vital part of our parish family. Saint John the Evangelist and Our Lady of Mount Carmel is your spiritual home. Make yourself at home.
Father Thomas Kallumady, Pastor