Baptism

Communal Celebration of Baptism takes place quarterly on Baptismal Sunday at 1:30 PM in St. Mary's Church. Parents should call the rectory during pregnancy or immediately after birth of their child to make arrangements for the baptism and to register for the Baptism Preparation Program.

 

 

CELEBRATING BAPTISM OF CHILDREN

AT SAINT MARY’S CHURCH

IN WILKES-BARRE

 

 

THEOLOGY OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM:

WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES

Baptism, as described in the New Testament and as focused by the Second Vatican Council, is a sacramental entrance into the People of Christ, the Church.  Baptism is a sacrament of Christian Initiation and as such is received within the baptized community of the local church (parish).  Through Baptism, a person enacts the death and resurrectin of the Lord Jesus Christ:  the newly-baptized person dies to (original/personal) sin and is born again to new life (sanctifying grace) in Christ.  The Christian life, begun in Baptism, is a spiritual journey during which the baptized person puts on Christ (baptismal robe) and undertakes the ongoing process of conversion to the light of the Gospel (baptismal candle) in the baptized community of the Church (parish) which is always ready to assist with its prayer, example, and care.

 PASTORAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM:

WHAT THE CHURCH PRACTICES:

 1.        The primordial feast of Christians is the celebration of the   resurrection of Christ:  Easter.  Baptism, a celebration of this   central  event, is therefore placed during the vigil of Easter.    During Lent, the process of conversion is emphasized and lived   by the entire congregation, and especially by those to be   baptized.  In the case of   children, the parents and the   godparent(s) enter into this conversion.  Besides the vigil of   Easter, the Church also celebrates Baptism in a solemn way on   Sundays throughout the year.

2.        Because God calls each person to salvation through Christ within the   baptized community of the Church, no individual who asks is refused   Baptism.

 3.        When an infant or young child is presented for Baptism, it is the   lived-faith   of the parents that determines entrance into the baptismal process.  It is   presumed that the parents are practicing Catholics or at least willing to   become so through a process of evangelization and on-going conversion to   Christ and His Gospel.  This conversion and the Catholic lifestyle of the   parents constitute the fertile ground in which the seed of the infant’s   Baptism grows as a Catholic Christian.  The canons of the Church generally   mention four marks of a practicing Catholic:  (1) Sunday worship; (2)   personal prayer;  (3) Christian moral living, and (4) works of social justice   and charity.  If parents are found wanting in the lived-faith of a Catholic,   Baptism of a child may be postponed until the parents’ conversion becomes   visible to the baptized community (parish) and in particular to the priests.    This is NOT a denial of Baptism but a postponement, during which the  Church reaches out to assist parents so that their child can grow up in a   home (domestic church) where Christ is known and loved.  In this way   parents become the first teachers of the faith for their   children.

 4.    The celebration of Baptism is always communal.  It takes place within the   baptized community of the Church; and, except in the case of danger of   death, is never received in private.

 5.  The process of initiation into the Christian life, begun in Baptism, is   sustained through the reception/celebration of the other sacraments,   especially Eucharist and Confirmation; in fact, full initiation into the   Church is attained only with the reception of the three sacraments of   initiation:  Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  Besides the celebration/  reception of these sacraments, and also the sacrament of Reconciliation/  Penance, the process of on-going conversion, integral to Christian life, is   sustained through participation in the life of the Church:  Sunday worship   (Mass), personal prayer, Christian moral living, and works of social justice   and charity.  The family into which the infant is born must see to it that this   Catholic Christian life-style is obvious each day, for without it the infant’s   Baptism is a mere ritual.

6.  The local Church (parish) assists the newly baptized and the family of the   newly baptized through its prayer, example, and care — most especially as   these are expressed each Sunday at worship (Mass) and in gestures of   charity when individual or family is in need.

 7.  Godparents, who represent the local Church, should be Catholic, fully   initiated into the Church themselves (having received Baptism, Confirmation   and Eucharist) and be at least 16 years of age.  A baptized member of a   separated Christian community (Orthodox or Protestant), may act as a   “Christian witness” provided the other godparent is Catholic.

 8.  Each person is given a name (biblical/Christian saint) at Baptism, which   unfolds or symbolizes Christian life and provides a model for Christian   living.

 9.  The sacrament of Baptism is celebrated according to the Rite of the Catholic   Church as revised by the Second Vatican Council:

  —  Reception and naming/signing of children.

  —  Celebration of God’s Word.

  —  Celebration of the Sacrament including blessing of baptismal   water, renunciation of sin/profession of faith, Baptism,  anointing   with chrism, clothing with white garment, presentation of lighted candle.

  —  Conclusion of the Rite.

 10.  The Baptism is recorded in the Parish Baptismal Register.

CELEBRATING

BAPTISM OF CHILDREN

AT SAINT MARY’S CHURCH

IN WILKES-BARRE

 1.  Every person who is presented for Baptism in our Parish Community will be   baptized upon the completion of the Baptism Preparation Program. 

 2.  Preferably during pregnancy or immediately after the birth, the parents of   an infant to be baptized should phone the rectory to make an appointment   with the pastor to discuss the Baptism.  The priest may request that the   Baptism be delayed until the parents of the infant-to-be-baptized are   sufficiently evangelized.

 3.  Parents and godparents participate in the Baptism Preparation Program   which consists of one two-hour session prior to the Baptism.  The sacrament   of Baptism and its implications for parents and godparents are presented   during the session.

 4.  At. St. Mary’s Church, Baptism is celebrated on selected “Baptismal   Sundays” throughout the liturgical year.  The Rite for the Baptism of   Several Children takes place in a communal celebration at 1:30PM in St.   Mary’s Church; on Easter Sunday it takes place during the 12:10PM Mass.

 5.  The godparent(s), if not from our parish, must obtain a letter from their   parish which attests that they are practicing Catholics and thus capable of   fulfilling this role.  This letter must be presented to our Pastor or Deacon at   the Baptismal Preparation Program.

 6.  Our parish community, especially through our pastoral staff, supports the   newly baptized person in the following ways:

  —  Our Pastoral Staff prays for the newly baptized.

  —  Through our Human Services/Social Concerns Commission, we    endeavor to reach out to the family when in need.

  —  Each Sunday we gather for Family Mass-with-Children at 10:00AM at  St. Mary’s Church.

  —  Special holy days and holidays present times for thanking God for His   special blessings and celebrating these blessings with a party.

  —  Most importantly, each year we gather together on Pentecost Sunday,   known as “New Parishioner’s Sunday”, to honor all of our newly-  baptized in addition to those families who have joined our Parish   Community during the past year.

 7.  An offering on behalf of the baptized person by the family or the godparent(s)   is presented to the celebrant of the Baptism for the upkeep of the church and   its charitable works.