Baptisms are held at 11:30 on the first Sunday of each month except January. There is also the option of celebrating Baptisms within the usual weekend Mass. If you would like your child to be baptised at St Columba’s, please read the following information and then contact the parish office to arrange a time to meet with Fr Peter.
By Baptism, a child is brought into the Christian community, is incorporated into Christ’s Body, and begins to live with the very life of Christ. The full wonder of Baptism cannot be expressed here, but to help all in our parish to understand something of it the following guidelines will be followed.
The Rite of Baptism states:
If possible, Baptism should take place on Sunday, the day in which the Church celebrates the paschal mystery. It should be conferred in a communal celebration for all the recently born children, and in the presence of the faithful, or at least of relatives, friends and neighbours, who are all to take an active part in the rite. (No. 32)
The community aspect of Baptism is often stressed in the Rite. The local community welcomes the child into its midst with great joy, while realising the important part it has to play in supporting the parents in fulfilling their responsibility and pledge to be a channel for the grace of God. Infant Baptism is but a seed to be nurtured by the parents — something often stressed in the Rite.
The priest reminds parents that they are to be the “first and best teachers in the ways of faith”. There is a problem to be faced when parents do not hold much promise of being good teachers in the areas of faith. Perhaps they seldom participate in Mass, pray hardly at all, and have little or no knowledge of or interest in the faith. The Rite of Baptism says that in these cases the parish priest may defer the Baptism for a while. The Code of Canon Law states that “for an infant to be baptised lawfully it is required that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Religion.” (Canon 868 No. 2) Pope John Paul II said in 1980 that if the assurances of an upbringing in the faith cannot be honestly ascertained, then “there can be grounds for delaying the sacrament; and if they are certainly non-existent, the sacrament should even be refused”.
Naturally, given the nature of the sacrament as welcoming a child into our Catholic family, it is appropriate that Baptism be celebrated in the parish where the family attends Mass. Thus we do not baptise unless the family worships at St. Columba’s.
To quote the Rite of Baptism again:
It is the duty of the priest to prepare families for the Baptism of their children and to help them in the task of Christian formation which they have undertaken.
Parents wishing to have their child baptised will be required to sign the BAPTISM REQUEST FORM, which states as follows:
We the parents request that our child receive the Sacrament of Baptism.
We understand that Baptism establishes a bond between our child and God and thereby links our child with all others who are His followers.
We understand that Baptism initiates our child into the community of believers who follow Jesus Christ and that community on the local level is the Parish Church Community.
Our request for lawful Baptism implies that we as parents wish our child to be raised believing and living the values of that Christian community called the Catholic Church which says, “It is required that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.”
As members of that church we believe all that Christ taught, and we wish to pass on to our child the faith that is ours, and so we will try to set an example of true Catholic living.
We know that the church encourages parents to promote prayer at home and obliges them to attend Mass on Sundays as an integral part of their Catholic lifestyle.
We understand that the Baptism of our child is the first step in a lifetime of faith and that in due time our child will mature through the reception of other Sacraments – Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.