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.

Baptisms are celebrated at St. Thomas More six times a year during the Saturday evening and Sunday morning Masses.  Parents are encouraged to be registered and active members of the parish for at least six months.  They are expected to take a 4 hour class before the baptism, which will help them understand the rituals of the sacrament, and help them to plan how they will raise their precious child in the Catholic Faith. 

Godparents should be chosen for their ability to share their faith with their godchild and to be an example of Christian living to them.  At least one official godparent must be a practicing Catholic, be Confirmed and must also take the baptism preparation class, here or in his own parish. Some families also choose Non-Catholic Christians to be part of their child's life in this special way.  They are called sponsors. 

Baptisms for 2019-2020 are planned for the weekends listed below:

      Celebration                                Class
August 24th-25th, 2019           Sunday, August 18, 2019
October 19th-20th, 2019          Sunday, October 13, 2019
February 22nd-23rd, 2020        Tuesday, February 4, 2020
April 25th-26th, 2020               Sunday, April 19, 2020
June 27th-28th, 2020               Tuesday, June 23, 2020 

For more information or to make an appointment to plan for your child's baptism please call Sharon G. at 743-2929 ext. 114, or email her at sharong@stmp.org. Click on the link for the St. Thomas More Baptism brochure. Baptism Brochure

WHY DO WE BAPTIZE DURING MASS

Before the 1960's Catholic baptisms were quick, private, and some may say cold; the smallest amount of water and oil possible were used, and there was no baptismal candle. Today, Catholic baptisms are different.

Early Christians were baptized in a river, and later in baptismal pools that they would walk down steps so deep they would disappear from view, sink into water, and then walk up the other side, signifying dying and rising again in Christ.  Since the reforms of Vatican II we again use lots of water, dipping the infant or pouring water over those old enough to stand or kneel.  They are anointed with fragrant oil to strengthen them, and given a beautiful candle.  Then they are dressed in a white garment. This process utilizes four of the five symbols of baptism-water, oil, light and a white garment.  

However, there is another symbol of baptism, the community gathered.  We are there to witness to the baptism, to pray for the child being baptized and for the parents and godparents.  And we are to take seriously being the community responsible for raising this child in the Faith.  We must provide for the child's upbringing in the church, offering to be a catechist, pledging money to purchase materials, being an example of Christian 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)

THE ROLE OF THE GODPARENT

The mother is holding the baby wrapped white, her husband standing nervously beside her.  The priest asks them if they fully understand what they are doing as they bring this child for baptism.
Next the priest turns to the godparents who are pleased at the honor of being singled out as special in the parents lives, and asks them "Godparents, are you ready to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents?"
 So, being a godparent is more than an honor, it is an obligation.  
God parents are the official witnesses to this momentous event.  Now and then we find a candidate for a later sacrament who doesn't know where they were baptized.  Mom is gone, dad doesn't remember, the pictures are inconclusive.  We call the godparents, who tell us where, and maybe when, the baptism took place.  The required records are found.

Godparents help and support the parents as they raise the child in the faith.  Some godparents make sure the child has a manger scene at Christmas, a  child's bible, a prayer book.  Godparents have been called on to accompany their godchild to the First Communion Retreat when the parent can't be there.  If the parents can't bring the child to Faith Formation classes they may step in to assure the child's religious education.
 When the day comes for the young person to be Confirmed in the Faith it is hoped that the godparent is the person the candidate turns to to be a sponsor.  Has the godparent been a faithful Catholic?  Has the godparent kept a dialogue about our faith through the growing up years?  Is the godparent a model of Christian discipleship?
 Being a godparent is more than an honor.  It is a marvelous opportunity