Sacrament of Baptism
The Sacrament of Baptism is administered on the first & third Sunday of the month at 1:30 p.m. To schedule a baptism, contact the parish office at 215-357-5720. A priest will then contact you.
Parents who are planning to have a child baptized at St. Bede’s Church are required to attend a Pre-Jordan class. These classes are offered on the second Sunday of every month at 12:15pm. Please call the the Religious Education office at 215-357-2130 to register for the Pre-Jordan class and to arrange for a Baptism. Registration is required.
Requirements for the Sacrament of Baptism include:
- Parental attendance at our Pre-Jordan session.
- Two Catholic Godparents (must be at least sixteen years old, have received the Sacraments of Initiation and obtain a letter of eligibility from his/her respective parish stating that they are practicing Catholics and eligible to be a godparent.
- Or one Catholic Godparent and one Christian witness.
SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION FOR BAPTISM
“The fruits of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sin, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.” (CCC #1279)
The Sacrament of Baptism is the first Sacrament we receive as Catholics and the first Sacrament of Initiation. In Baptism, we are born of water and the Holy Spirit. We are called by name and welcomed into the community of faith. The parents and godparents, on behalf of the baby or child (under seven) being baptized, commit to raise the baby/child in a faith-based environment and to nurture the faith of the baby/child throughout his/her life. This includes attendance at Mass weekly and participation in parish life.
The preparation for this first step in the Sacramental life of your child is important to the faith formation of your family and the entire faith community. Just as Jesus was welcomed and baptized by John in the Jordan River, we want to welcome families who are having a child baptized in our “Jordan River.” This welcome is more than a sign of hospitality but a desire for families to welcome God into their homes all day and every day and to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. This welcome requires a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Baptism.
THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
THE GRACE OF BAPTISM
1262 The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit.
For the forgiveness of sins . . .
1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who havebeen reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.
1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence “is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.”67 Indeed, “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”
“A new creature”
1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,”69 member of Christ and co-heir with him,70 and a temple of the Holy Spirit.
1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
– enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
– giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of theHoly Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
– allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.
“Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ “
1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: “Therefore . . we are members one of another.” Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”
1268 The baptized have become “living stones” to be “built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.” By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.
1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church’s leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.
1270 “Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church” and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God.
“The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians”
1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.”
“An indelible spiritual mark” . . .
1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.
1273 Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful have received the sacramental character that consecrates them for Christian religious worship. The baptismal seal enables and commits
Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.
1274 The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord (“Dominicus character”) “for the day of redemption.” “Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life.” The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life “marked with the sign of faith,” with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of faith – and in the hope of resurrection.
Does it make any difference who you ask to be Godparents for your children? It sure does!
People often want to ask their best friends or favorite relatives to act as Godparents for their children; they usually do this as a way of honoring someone. Of course, we all would like to honor those who are dear to us, but the Baptism of your child may not be the right time to do so.
Would you ask your best friend to perform heart surgery on your child? Of course not, unless he/she were a competent heart surgeon. So, if the role of a Godparent is to help the parents to raise the child in the good practice of the Catholic faith, then it stands to reason that you should ask someone who shows by their own knowledge and practice that they can help someone else follow in their footsteps.
Helping a child to become a good Catholic Christian is an important undertaking; it is therefore, equally important to ask someone who regularly prays with the community at Sunday Mass and, who in other ways practices his/her faith and shows commitment to Christian values.
None of this is to suggest that your dear friends or relatives are not good people. They will surely be with you to help you in many other ways. But, a teacher of mathematics may not be a good teacher of English grammar and a good friend or close relative may not be the best model of Catholic Christian practice.
If you value your faith, you will choose the best teachers to help you pass that faith on to your children.
(Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe)