Who can be baptised?
Anyone who has not already been baptised can receive the sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is available to any person who has received the Gospel and believes that Jesus Christ is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Baptism is available to the children of believing parents who wish to raise their child in the faith.
What does Baptism achieve?
When we are baptised we become children of God, a new creation and we are welcomed into the family of the Church. Baptism frees us from the influence of all sin and the power of death.
What if one of the parents presenting their child for Baptism is not a Catholic?
During a Baptism ceremony, parents renew their own commitment to the faith by making a Profession of Faith. If one parent is not a Catholic and/or has no religious belief, they must give permission for the child to be instructed in the Catholic faith.
Do there need to be godparents?
Yes. Godparents support the family in nurturing the faith of the child and act as representatives for the Church Community.
Who can be a godparent?
A godparent must be at least 16 years of age, and must have received the three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist). At a Catholic Baptism godparents agree to assist and support the parents and the child in their faith journeys, on behalf of the Catholic community into which the child is being baptised. For this reason godparents must be Catholic for a child to be baptised into the Catholic faith.
What if the people I want as Godparents are not Catholic?
Catholics believe that Baptism using water and invoking the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit makes all these people brothers and sisters in Christ, whether they are Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox. Therefore a person who has been baptised in another Christian faith using the Trinitarian formula may act as a Christian witness at a Catholic baptism.
Who can baptise?
Normally it is a bishop, priest or deacon who baptises. In an emergency, any Catholic or in fact any person may baptise provided they have the intention of doing what the Church does.
How is baptism administered?
Baptism is administered by pouring water over the head of the baptismal candidate while saying the Trinitarian formula for Baptism: “I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
How do I find out about adult Baptism?
For adults seeking Baptism into the Catholic Church there is a process called “The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)”. This initiation process is designed for adults who consciously and freely seek to enter the way of faith and conversion in the Catholic community. This process reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Contact your diocese to find out about Baptism programmes in your area.
What happens in a Baptism ceremony?
Those who are being baptised, their families, friends and the church community gather together. Words of welcome are exchanged and then names that have been chosen for the child are announced. All present unite in the opening prayers, which are followed by the daily scripture reading. More prayers are offered for those who are to be baptised, for their families, friends and all who are present. The baptismal candidate is anointed with Oil of Catechumens as a sign of Christ's power in overcoming evil. All present renew their own baptismal vows. The priest then pours holy water over the forehead of the baptismal candidate three times as he says the words of baptism. The newly baptised is then anointed with Oil of Chrism as a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Like Christ, the one baptised in now an “anointed one”. He or she is then covered with a white cloth as a sign of being a new creation clothed in Christ. A candle is lit from the paschal or Easter candle to symbolise the light of Christ now present in the newly baptised. There are final prayers and a blessing that all present may love and serve the Lord in peace and goodwill.