“Christianity will flourish in the twenty-first century if we grasp that the Church is above all the community of the baptized” (Timothy Radcliffe, Take the Plunge). Through the sacrament of Baptism, we become Christians: Baptism is the gateway to life in the Spirit and to salvation. Baptism opens the door to all the other sacraments. Throughout history, in fact right from the beginning of Christianity, Christians have been baptized. For Christians, Baptism holds a very special significance: “for Christians it was a symbol of salvation and through it they entered into the mystery that Jesus had revealed to them. They entered it socially, for being baptized they joined the community that accepted Jesus as the source of their salvation” (Joseph Martos, Doors to the Sacred).
As Abbot Marmion writes: “Each of us can say in all truth: It is by a special act of love and kindness that God has created and called me by Baptism to Divine adoption, for in His plenitude and infinite riches, God has no need of any creature: ‘He gave us birth by the word of truth’ (James 1:18).” Through Baptism we are all children of God.
Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so “we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).
For those seeking the sacrament of Baptism for their children or for themselves should contact one of the priests or the parish office for a meeting in order that those who are seeking Baptism understand the essentials and the responsibility associated with Baptism, and also to set a date for the baptismal rite. During the liturgy, parents and godparents promise to raise the newly baptized in the Catholic faith. This promise should not be taken lightly, hence the importance of choosing appropriate godparents.
For Catholics, godparents must be practising Catholics. Baptism is the sacrament of faith. A maximum of two godparents is permitted (one godfather, one godmother), both of whom must be 16 years of age or older. If parents or adults undergoing baptism wish a non-Catholic to participate, then there must be one Catholic godparent for the non-Catholic to act as a witness.
At St Thomas’ Parish Church, baptisms generally take place following the 11am Sunday mass.
We are looking for volunteers to help in a program of preparation for Baptism, supporting parents and godparents as they prepare for the Baptism of their child or godchild. If interested, please contact your priests or call in at the presbytery.