Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments – CCC 1213
Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism
For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Baptism is the first sacrament of Christian initiation. Through Baptism we are freed from sin, we become adopted sons and daughters of God and are embraced into the family of the Church.
The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. . . . Jesus did not need to be baptised because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptise all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin – Original and actual – and begin to live a new life with God.
Baptism transforms us. It marks our soul for life and eternity. In baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ’s call to holiness. In baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love.
Although we Catholics believe that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God, it is through baptism we become sons and daughters of God and are brought into that most mysterious communion with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Rite of Baptism
Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the Sacrament of regeneration through water in the Word.’’ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213
The Rite of Baptism involves immersing the candidate in water or pouring it over his/her head, while invoking the Name of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (CCC 1278).
If you are not Catholic but have received Baptism as described above, we consider your baptism valid. So, you will not be baptised again if you choose to join the Catholic Church. Rather, you will be initiated into full communion with us through the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
Want to receive the Sacrament of Baptism?
Baptism is a Sacrament of faith, and the Church asks for a serious and loving commitment by the parents and godparents of a child to live the life of the Sacraments. The baptism ceremony for adults and teens is similar to baptism of children except that you make the baptismal promises yourself. Instead of godparents, adults have sponsors whose role is to encourage you in the Catholic Faith.
For children aged 6 and below:
- At least one parent should be a practising Catholic
- Parent(s) to attend Infant Baptism preparation sessions at the parish
- Either one godparent, or two (one male and one female), who is a confirmed Catholic over the age of 16
Contact your parish for more information and assistance in your preparations. If you are seeking baptism in a parish other than the one in which you live, you ought to contact your own parish priest in the first instance.
For children aged 7 to 18:
- Contact your parish priest for more information
If you would like to be baptised as an adult you will need to participate in some instruction, individually or through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Traditionally adult baptisms take place during the ceremony of the Easter Vigil. In some parishes, therefore, you might be asked to wait for Easter for Baptism.