holy baptism at st. john’s
a new Life in the Spirit…
HOLY BAPTISM is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. (CCC 1213). Through water and the Holy Spirit, men and women are freed from the power of sin and death and are reborn as sons of God and members of Christ's body, the Church.
Faithful to the command of Christ (St Matthew 28.19), the Church has celebrated Baptism from the very day of Pentecost as St Peter himself declares: “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2.38) Baptism is therefore the sacrament by which men and women, freed from original sin, respond to the Gospel call for conversion and adhere to Christ by an unbreakable bond forged by the Holy Spirit.
In celebrating the sacrament of Baptism, Christians proclaim their Paschal faith in fidelity to the Gospel so that they may be purified of their sins and rise to newness of life in Christ Jesus.
Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark or character of belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. (CCC 1272). Because of this indelible character, Baptism may never lawfully be repeated once it has been validly celebrated, even if by fellow Christians Churches or Ecclesial Communities.
The notes below are intended to help those exploring Baptism at St John’s. Please read the information and contact the Parish Secretary to proceed. [email@example.com]
THE BAPTISM OF ADULTS
Since the beginning of the Church, the Christian initiation of adults responding to the preaching of the Gospel is accomplished in the reception of the sacraments of Holy Baptism, Holy Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist. Through these sacraments, the faithful are made members of the Body of Christ and sharers in the Priesthood of Christ, in Christ's prophetic and royal mission. Indeed, “the communion of the baptised in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Anglicanorum coetibus)
The Personal Ordinariates share in the mission of the whole Church of handing on and nourishing the faith received from the Apostles. Through the continual proclamation of the Gospel by the Church, adults in every age are called by the Holy Spirit to conversion of life and to follow Christ the Lord as his disciples. Through Holy Baptism, adults who are baptised are conformed to Christ in the likeness of his death so as to rise with him to newness of life with all their sins forgiven.
Given the unity of the Sacraments of Initiation, unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, an adult who is baptised is to be confirmed in the same celebration and is to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice also by receiving Holy Communion. (CIC 866).
THE BAPTISM OF INFANTS
“Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God.” (CCC 1250) The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. Infants are baptised into the faith of the Church, a faith which is professed for them by their Parents and Godparents during the sacramental celebration. For the grace imparted in Holy Baptism to unfold, children must be formed in the faith in which they have been baptised. In this way, they gradually learn God's plan for salvation in Christ and ultimately accept for themselves the faith in which they have been immersed.
Adult Baptisms are scheduled as part of a person’s catechetical instruction in the Catholic faith. Preparation for Holy Baptism forms part of the Evangelium course that will need to be followed in its entirety. For Adult Baptisms, an Adult Baptismal, Confirmation and First Communion Registration Form will need to be completed. (All forms can be found below.)
Infant & Child Baptisms (under the age of seven) can be scheduled either within the Sunday 10 am Solemn Mass (for parishioners), or on a Sunday afternoon at 12.30 pm (for non-parishioners). For Infant and Child Baptisms, a Baptismal Registration Form will need to be completed. (All forms can be found below.)
Child Baptisms (over the age of 7) will, in normal circumstances, be followed by the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Baptisms at St John’s are celebrated according to Divine Worship: Occasional Services, the Ordinariate’s official public liturgy. You need to give one month’s notice prior to Infant and Child Baptisms at St John’s. This is to make sure there is enough time to complete all that is required before the day.
Preparation. For Infant and Child Baptisms, a period of preparation with the priest or deacon who will baptise your child is required for both the Parents and Godparents. This is so that the meaning of the sacrament, the obligations attached to it and an overview of the rite may allow the Baptism of your child may take place with understanding. The sessions are held at a time agreeable to yourselves and to the priest preparing your child for Baptism. Once completed, these sessions need not be repeated in the case of further children.
Paperwork. A birth certificate is not required for Infant and Child Baptisms. However, it is recommended if the last name of the child is in question or is not the one of the natural father.
The role of Godparents in Infant Baptism is especially important since their role as guardians of a child’s faith after Baptism is different from the role of Sponsors in Adult Baptism, who serve as guarantors of a candidate’s faith. Consequently, the Church specifics minimum requirements of all Godparents. All Godparents are:
- Specifically designated by the Parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence, by the Parish Priest;
- a member of the Roman Catholic Church;
- usually a minimum of 16 years of age (though a younger age may be approved by the Parish Priest for legitimate reasons in individual cases);
- recipients of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist;
- a Catholic in good standing, whose life is lived according to the Precepts of the Catholic Church: 1. attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, 2. goes to Confession if in the state of serious sin at least once a year, 3. receives Holy Communion at least during the Easter season, 4. observes the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church; and 5. provides for the material needs of the Church according to one's ability;
- in a marriage recognised by the Church as valid, if married; and
- living a life consistent with a single person as defined by the Church, if unmarried.
Parents may not serve as Godparents for their children. There is to be only one male Godparent or one female Godparent or one of each. Unless the Godparents are known to the Parish Priest, a certificate of eligibility must be presented by the Godparents to verify their ability to qualify as Godparents. (All forms can be found below.)Godparents are not obliged to be present for the Baptism and may be represented by a proxy.
THE CHRISTIAN WITNESS
It is permissible to have one baptised person from a non-Catholic Church or Ecclesial Community serve as a Christian Witness, together with a Catholic Godparent. A Christian Witness must be recognised by the Catholic Church as a member of a non-Catholic Church or Ecclesial Community possessing valid Baptism, and must also be a member in good standing in his or her denomination.
Some non-Catholic Churches and Ecclesial Communities that have valid Baptism include: Orthodox, African Methodist Episcopal, Amish, Anglican/Episcopalian, Assembly of God, Baptist, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Church of the Brethren, Church of Christ, Church of God, Church of the Nazarene, Congregational, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical, Evangelical United Brethren, Liberal Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Metropolitan Church of Christ, Old Catholic, Old Roman Catholic, Polish National, Presbyterian, Reformed, United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ, United Reformed, United Church of Australia, Waldensian, Zion.
For those Ecclesial Communities whose Baptism is doubtful, invalid, or non-existent, please contact the Parish Priest.
The parents of a child being presented for Baptism are not required to be married. If they are married they are not required to produce a document verifying their marriage. In normal circumstances, at least one Catholic parent must consent to the Baptism of the infant. A parent who asks for a child’s Baptism and is not a Catholic is asked to give permission for the child's instruction in the faith.
No charge is made for the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at St John’s. A donation is always welcome for the maintenance and upkeep of the church, but this is at your discretion.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOS
Please make sure that this is discreet during the liturgy. Please ask the photographer or videographer to liaise with the Parish Priest prior to the service.