Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Baptism is not just a naming ceremony, but a welcoming of each new Christian into our faith community. Please remember that Baptisms are always a parish celebration and not a private event.
Baptism Preparation Meetings
Parents are requested to meet with the parish priest or Pastoral Assistant prior to the Baptism. During the meeting the Sacrament of Baptism as well as practicalities around the ceremony are discussed and outlined. Godparents are very welcome to attend.
Baptism Dates and Arrangements
Baptisms are normally held on the first and third Sunday of each month in St. Patrick’s Church, Aghagallon at 11.45a.m. A maximum of four children will be baptised on any given Sunday. There are times during the year when Baptisms will not take place due to other commitments in the parish such as First Holy Communion.
Booking Your Child’s Ceremony
Baptisms must be booked by a parent or legal guardian and may only be booked in person, with the parish priest after any weekday or Sunday Mass in the sacristy of St. Patrick’s Church, Aghagallon. At least one month’s notice is required. This will allow us to prepare for the Baptism with you and your family and it is also a great opportunity for you to return to practicing your faith regularly if you have not been to Mass for a while.
To book a baptism you must present the child’s long birth certificate. It is also a requirement of the Diocese of Down and Connor that at least one Godparent is a practicing Catholic i.e. regularly attending Church.
Visiting Priests and Deacons
If you have a friend/family member who is a priest or deacon, they are very welcome to Baptise your child in St. Patrick’s. However, they must contact the parish prior to the Baptism to present their celebret (i.e. photographic ID from their Diocese or Religious Order) and complete the mandatory Safeguarding documentation.
Baptisms outside the Parish
If you would like to have your child baptised outside the parish, please call into the sacristy after any Mass with your child’s long birth certificate and collect a courtesy letter for the priest officiating at the Baptism.
Your Baby’s Baptism
Your child’s baptism is a time of celebration and joy. Naturally, you want the best for your child. We want to help you plan and prepare for the Baptism in the best possible way…
An important Question…An important Question…An important Question…
Why have you requested baptism for your child in the Church?
There may be many reasons… Seems to be the thing to do? Someone else in the family wants it? It’s on my “to do” list? I’m afraid something might happen my child? It’s a significant step that starts the faith journey?
How the Church sees Baptism
The Church sees Baptism as the first important step on the Christian journey. On the day your child was born, he/she was welcomed into their family. On the day of baptism they are welcomed into the bigger family of the Lord, the Church. In baptism we enter into a unique and special relationship with the person of Jesus Christ and we try to live out that relationship in and through the people around us. Or put another way … In Baptism we become
- A son/daughter of God the Father
- A brother/sister of Jesus Christ
- A temple of the Holy Spirit
- A member of God’s family, the Church.
The Symbols Used in the Baptism Ceremony…
The Sign of the Cross:
A stamp or imprint on something is a sign of its origin or ownership. The sign of the cross which we make at the beginning of the ceremony on the child’s forehead, claims him/her for Christ.
In the Celebration of Baptism TWO different oils are used;
- The Oil of catechumens – The child is anointed on the chest with this oil as a sign that the Lord is giving them strength for the Christian journey they are beginning.
- The Oil of Chrism – A very sacred oil, which the child is anointed with on the top of the head. Oil is used to anoint kings and monarchs, it sets people aside for a mission. We are set aside for the Christian mission on the day we are baptised.
Profession of Faith:
YOU have requested baptism for your child. In doing this YOU ARE MAKING A COMMITMENT to bringing up your child in the faith. – We promise to live by Christian values and pass on those values to our child. We promise to bring our child to Mass and the Sacraments, for this is what it means to belong to the Christian family. Therefore we profess the faith that we promise, before the community gathered, to pass onto our child. We pray for the grace to live as good Christian witnesses before our child.
Water is essential for life! In Baptism, water symbolises the new life we receive in Christ. Just as we nurture and care for a plant or shrub, in order for it to live a healthy life, we too must nurture and care for our faith in order for it to grow healthy and strong.
The White Robe is a symbol of Christ. After they were baptised, the early Christians used to clothe themselves in white garments to show that they had “put on Christ”. In the same way, the child, during the baptism ceremony, is clothed in the white shawl to show that they are “clothed in Christ” or “wrapped up” in the love of Christ!
The Baptism Candle:
The large Easter Candle (or Pascal Candle) is lit for the Baptism ceremony. This light symbolises Christ, the Risen Lord, who overcame the cross and rose to new life. It is a symbol of hope! A smaller Baptism Candle is lit from the Easter Candle. This light, love and hope of Jesus is being passed on to the new Christian through YOU the parents.
After The Baptism Ceremony…
As your child grows it is important to pray with them, share some bible stories (maybe purchase a Children’s Bible), visit the Church to light a candle for someone who is sick, attend Mass…etc.
We pray God’s Blessing upon you in the challenge ahead of bringing up your child in the faith….
Registration of Baptism
The parish records the baptism of your child in the Baptismal Register of the parish. This record includes the full names of the child, parents and godparents, the child’s date of birth, the date of the baptism and the name of the officiating priest or deacon. A Certificate of Baptism can be issued by the Parish Office as and when required.