Understanding the Sacrament of 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 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.
During the ceremony of Baptism, we use many symbols which are explained here:
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.
Oils: In the Celebration of Baptism there are two oils used to anoint your child:
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: is made by Parents who requested baptism for your child – this is a promise and a a Commitment to bring your child on a journey of faith as they grow. ‘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: 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, 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.