THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
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. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as daughters and sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”
Baptism is not a small thing. It gives us a new identity, connects us to a new community of believers, initiates us into a new way of living, and provides a clear mission in life. Baptism has meaning on many levels.
Within weeks of Jesus’ Resurrection, the apostles were preaching the Gospel to people by the thousands, baptizing them in Jesus’ name. Since then, Baptism has been the ordinary means of becoming a member of the Church.
Baptism is a sacrament of initiation, cleansing, strengthening, and welcoming. Baptism welcomes us into the community of Christian believers. It offers us a new life in which we become the adopted children of God, followers of Christ, and temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells. Baptism leaves a permanent spiritual mark on our soul that makes us holy and opens us to salvation and eternal life with God.
Like any sacrament, Baptism makes visible an invisible reality. In other words, we use physical signs and rituals to express our experience of God and his grace in our lives. The symbols you see at a Baptism ceremony include the following:
The Sign of the Cross is traced on the forehead of the one being baptized. This ritual action expresses that the mystery of the cross is at the heart of our faith.
The immersion in water (or pouring on of water) of the one being baptized reminds us that we die with Jesus to conquer sin and rise with him so we might enter into new life. In this action we are reminded of how Moses led the Hebrews on their escape from Egypt and how he parted the waters of the Red Sea as the gateway to liberation, away from slavery and into the Promised Land. We also recall Jesus’ death and Resurrection, which free us from sin and bring us into a new way of living.
The words of Baptism, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” are spoken while the water is poured or the one to be baptized is immersed. These words reveal that God in the Trinity is both the source of life and our life’s goal.
A white garment reflects that in Baptism we “put on Christ,” taking our new and truest identity as a son or daughter of God.
A baptismal candle, lit from the Easter candle, represents the one true light of Christ, a light to guide the new believer throughout his or her life.
To arrange a baptism please contact the parish office Monday to Friday 9.30am to 12.30pm Telephone 028 – 30861235