What happens at Catholic Infant baptism?
Baptism is the introduction of a person into the Church community. Through the waters of Baptism the person enters into the life of God – Father, Son and Spirit. He or she is dedicated to God and all that is good.
The Parent or Sponsor role in the baptismal ceremony
Several questions are asked of the parent during the ceremony:
- What name have you given your child?
- What so you ask of God’s church for (Name of child)?
- The priest then says: ‘You have asked to have your child baptised. In doing so you are accepting responsibility for bringing him/her up in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him/her up to follow Christ’s teaching, by loving God and our neighbour. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?
- You are invited to profess your faith. Sometimes, you do this with the whole community.
- Following this, and immediately prior to the baptism of your child the priest asks you: Is it your will that your child should be baptised in the faith of the Church, which we have all professed with you?
You are invited to participate in the ceremony in other ways. For example, either parent holds the child and is invited to trace the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead.
Either parent or godparent puts a white garment on your child as a sign of being clothed with Christ and as a sign of Christian dignity.
Either parent or godparent lights your child’s baptismal candle from the Paschal Candle.
At the end of the ceremony the celebrant blesses individually the mother and the father of the child.
Why do we have several babies baptised at the one ceremony?
In receiving baptism your child becomes a member of the Church. Therefore, the presence of the believing community represents the action of baptism.
The gathered community is a sign of the Church who welcomes your child. In fact, the celebrant says to your child, calling him or her by name, ‘The Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our saviour by the sign of his cross.’
If possible baptism should be celebrated during the Sunday Eucharist when the community are gathered together to celebrate the Lord’s Day
If it is not possible to have the celebration during the Sunday Eucharist, the gathering of the community of the parents and families of the babies to be baptised are present as the community of the Church.