We have already reported on the Bishop’s policy document concerning the Permanent Diaconate and Confirmation. Today we begin to look at Baptism
The general principle: “Good preparation for Baptism is essential and can also have very positive benefits for the parents of the child being baptised, often being the opportunity to bring them back to a committed practice of their faith. We must seek to provide for the best catechesis and preparation for this sacrament, in all our parishes.”
To ensure this, children must be baptised in the parish in which they live but if for good reason, such as regularly attending Mass elsewhere, parents ask for baptism in another parish, they must obtain a letter of permission from their parish priest.
Each parish is asked to recruit a number of parishioners who will offer a warm welcome to parents when they come along to arrange a baptism, to record their details and share with the family the importance of their commitment to bring their children up in the practice of the faith.
Following the initial welcome, parents will attend a baptism preparation course along with the godparents.
One godparent must be a practising Catholic! The other may be a baptised Christian of another denomination. This is important because the godparents need to be people of living Christian faith so that they may be examples of faith in practice and an encouragement in faith to the child and its parents.
Practice of the faith includes regular attendance at Sunday mass. Catholics are obliged to attend Mass every Sunday, except when prevented for grave reason! Sadly, there are many children in our primary school who would love to come to Mass but are prevented from doing so because their parents will not bring them. The Bishop writes: “As an indication of the parents’ willingness to embrace the call to live as part of the Church, it should be required that they, or at least the Catholic parent, attend Mass for at least six Sundays in preparation for baptism.” However, where there is a willingness to do this but also genuine serious difficulties (work commitments, single parent, illness etc) then the situation can be discussed with the priest.
Other requirements for Baptism will be dealt with next week. Meanwhile if you have difficulties with any of these issues then please do speak with me or Fr Kevin.