Congratulations on the birth of your baby! The community of St. Peter Parish rejoices with you and your family. We are delighted that you have chosen our parish for your child’s Baptism. This is the first step in your child’s journey of faith. Therefore, we are committed to making the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism very special and meaningful for you and your family.
We are also committed to helping you in every possible way as you raise your child in the faith. The baptism of your child is a very important opportunity for you, the parents, to reaffirm your Catholic faith. By asking for baptism, you are stating and affirming that you will actively participate in the spiritual life and Catholic faith development of your child.
It is for this reason that we invite you to participate in Baptismal preparation at Saint Peter Parish. We, in turn, will pray for God’s richest and choicest blessings for you and your family.
Baptisms are normally held the first Sunday of each month at 1:30 PM. We limit baptisms to eight children at our 1:30 PM Celebration.
Hopefully, you will find the following information helpful in planning for your child’s Baptism. If you have any questions please call Regina Sherman at 508-746-0663 ext. 206.
Importance of Baptism
As you prepare for the sacrament of baptism for your child, you are presented with a unique opportunity to reaffirm your own Christian identity. On the strength of your own faith, you are asking the rest of the Church to welcome your child as a new member of this faith community. In doing so, you are making a promise to God, the Catholic Church and your own child that you will do your very best to help develop the spiritual potential of your child and guide him/her to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus and His Church.
Infant baptism is a right and a privilege for Catholic parents who not only love Jesus above all things but are also committed to living out that faith through, with and in the Church at large.
Baptism is the door and the key to the rest of the sacraments. As such, baptism is also the rite of initiation into the faith community and the beginning of a life-long commitment. It is the parents’ sole responsibility to ensure that their child is given every opportunity to become a follower of Jesus within the faith community.
Therefore, before we proceed with baptism, the Catholic Community of St. Peter Parish requires some indication that you will take seriously the responsibilities found in infant baptism. We need assurance that the spiritual life that God gives your child at baptism will be fully nourished and cared for by you and this faith community of St. Peter Parish.
St. Peter Parish Baptism Program Overview
Our Baptism Program has five parts:
Step One-Initial Contact: We ask you to call the Parish Office at 508-746-0663. Some initial information will be taken. Shortly thereafter, a member of our Baptismal Team will contact you to come in and meet with us. This is an informal discussion that will last about 15 minutes. This discussion provides an opportunity for us to gather information about your newborn, the parents, and your desired baptismal date as well as to share information about our baptismal program.
Step Two-Choosing the Godparents: The selection of godparents is a critical choice in the baptism of your child. The role of the godparents is to help parents raise their child in the Catholic faith. As you prepare for your child’s baptism, you are invited to reflect on the role and selection of the godparents. Prior to inviting a relative or friend to assume the role of godparent, it is important that you understand what our church teaches regarding godparents:
- Ideally, godparents should be a man and a woman who have received all three sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist)
- Godparents should be Catholics in good standing, enthusiastically living their faith and active participants in the life of the church.
- Godparents represent the Church as they promise, on behalf of the Church at large, to help parents in raising the child in our Catholic faith.
- Non-Catholic Christians may not be godparents but they may be “Christian witnesses.” There always must be one baptized and confirmed Catholic as godparent
If a godparent is not able to be present for the baptism, they may be represented by proxy. If you have questions or concerns about selecting a godparent, please call our Deacon or priest(s).
Step Three – Attend the Baptism Preparation Class: On Thursday evening preceding the last Sunday of the month (the Day of the welcoming Mass), a Baptism Preparation Class is held. The class is for both parents and godparents and takes place in our lower church gathering space at 6:30 PM. Our Baptismal Preparation Team, including our Deacon, seeks to prepare parents for their child’s baptism with a one-hour workshop that has the following goals:
- Welcome families to their faith community to share God’s infinite and unconditional love of them and their newborn. Educate parents about the history, meaning, and symbolism of the Sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church
- Acquaint the parents with the rituals of the baptismal ceremony itself.
- Encourage parents and godparents to be actively involved in their faith community
- Involve parents in a reflection of the presence of God in their lives.
Step Four –Welcoming Mass: You and your baby will be invited to come to the 9:30 am Sunday morning Mass. During Mass, there will be a special anointing for all the babies who are preparing for Baptism. This anointing, with the Oil of Catechumens, enables the entire parish community the privilege of asking God to bless and protect you and your child. It also allows our parish to support your decision to baptize your child. This welcoming Mass is usually the last Sunday of the month before the Baptism.
Step Five – Attend the Rite of Baptism: The sacrament of Baptism takes place in the Church on the first Sunday of each month. Everyone is welcome to this joy filled ceremony. The sacred rite takes about 1 hour.
Again, our Baptism Preparation Classes are held in our lower church gathering space at 6:30 pm until approximately 7:30 pm on the Thursday before the last Sunday of the month (the Thursday before the Welcoming Mass).
Our welcoming Mass takes place on the last Sunday of the month preceding the Baptism at our 9:30 AM Family Mass.
Our Baptisms take place on the first Sunday of each month.
Following Baptism, all parents will receive a series of 7 post-Baptism mailings to engage new parents in the faith. Each letter includes an age-appropriate gift from our parish to each child to assist parents in nurturing their child’s spiritual growth. These mailings will start right after Baptism and every 6 months thereafter for three years.
Baptism: What is it?
Baptism, the first and fundamental sacrament is the gate to the other sacraments. Baptism is the purifying and sanctifying sacrament of rebirth and the means by which its recipients are incorporated into the Church in a bond of unity.
Baptism is the first sacrament of Christian initiation. It is the sacrament that frees a person from original sin and makes that person a member of Christ and His Church, thus being the way to a new and spiritual life. It is administered by immersing the recipient in water or by pouring water on the person’s head “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. One must be baptized before sharing in any of the other sacraments. Baptism is the foundation for all ministry and life in the church, and confers a commitment to follow Christ and spread his message throughout the world. Furthermore, in baptism, one is incorporated into the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and thus participates in the gift of resurrection and eternal life with Christ.
Infants can be baptized soon after birth. At the time of baptism, parents vow to practice their faith and provide a Catholic upbringing for the child. Adults who have never been baptized take part in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), and will typically be baptized at the Easter Vigil. The Catholic Church recognizes baptisms from other Christian denominations that baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, a person can only be baptized once.
Questions you may have about Baptism
What is Baptism?
“Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church.) It is the first of three Sacraments of Initiation, the other two being Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. Through Baptism, as with the other six Sacraments, we encounter the Living Christ in his passage from death to new life. By this encounter, we are freed from the power of sin and death, become members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and so rise to new life and to a new way of living.
When should we have our baby baptized?
We encourage parents to present their children for Baptism as soon as is reasonably possible after their birth. Therefore, it is a good idea to contact the parish prior to the baby’s birth so that Baptism can be scheduled in a timely fashion. However, we also realize that situations in life don’t always allow for Baptism to happen shortly after the birth of a child, and we will welcome children or adults of any age who want to be baptized. Baptisms are celebrated on the first Sunday of the month at 2:00 PM for up to 8 children.
Who can be godparents?
Godparents should be faithful people who are baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church. Church law requires that at least one godparent is a full member of the Catholic Church. It is possible for the second godparent to be a member of another Christian Church. Our tradition is one godmother and one godfather. If you have questions regarding godparents, please speak to Deacon Dick Cussen. When choosing godparents, it is important to consider the responsibility of a godparent, namely, people who will support the parents in bringing this child up in the Catholic Faith and who will be a good role model for this child.
The Day of the Baptism
Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the time the service is supposed to begin. 2 pews will be reserved for each family and each will marked with your child’s name. A Baptismal Team member will assist you. Baptisms usually begin promptly at the designated time.
Is a white dress or suit required?
The white garment symbolizes that your child has become a new creation in Christ in the waters of Baptism. A while garment will be provided and given to each child to be baptized.
Is there a fee for Baptism?
There is never a charge to become a member of God’s family. However, it is customary for families to offer a gift to the parish in thanksgiving for their child’s baptism and to honor their child. We are always most grateful for your generosity, no matter what your means allow.
Can we use cameras and videos at Baptism?
Cameras and videos are allowed, discrete and respectful use is requested during any Sacrament. However, the people taking photographs are asked to be courteous and not obscure the view of others.