Congratulations on the birth of your child. To bring new life into the world is indeed both a very special gift and a challenge.
Thank you for wanting your child to join the family of the Church through Baptism. You have decided to give your child the chance to grow up in Christ. We want to help you carry out your decision by giving you our wholehearted support.
Naturally, you want the Baptism to be a special family occasion. You will probably be inviting relatives and friends to the ceremony and to the family celebration afterwards. But there is more to it than that.
The reason we make a fuss about it is because it is a family occasion for the parish too. Your child is about to become a child of God and a member of God's family, the Church.
The Rite of Welcome and Celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism
Your child's Baptism is an occasion for the whole parish. It is important for the parish to mark the occasion too. Each month, parents are invited to present your child at the 9.15am Mass, so that the parish can welcome him/her into the Christian family.
The normal times for a Baptism in the parish is at 1.00pm immediately after the mid-day Mass.
The service will normally be conducted by the parish priest.
As there is normally more than one child being baptised, it is essential that everyone is on time at the Church. Otherwise, the priest, members of the Baptism Team, the other family(ies) with their child(ren) will be kept waiting.
The Baptism of older children
Sometimes parents request Baptism of an older child - say three or four years old. The comments concerning Baptism of babies referred to above also apply to the baptism of older children.
If the Baptism is just to get your child into a Catholic school we would ask what your child will contribute to the faith of the school community, as each child should give as well as receive of the benefits of the Catholic ethos of our schools.
However, once a child reaches the age of reason (about the age of seven or eight), we have to make sure the child has been properly instructed before Baptism can take place. It may be worth noting that having a child baptised in the Abbey does not guarantee a place for that child in Abbey Primary School.
Are you ready for your Child's Baptism?
Of course your baby does not know much about it and will not know much about it for several years to come. That is where you come in. When you ask for your child to be baptised it is your faith that is important. At the ceremony, you speak on your child's behalf. You present your child for Baptism and promise to nurture the new life of grace your child receives.
Here at the Abbey you need to attend a Baptismal preparation course, if you have attended a session in preparation for Baptism in the last two years, there is no need to attend.
Choose your child's Godparents with care! They must share your faith and be at least 16 years old. It is customary to have two Godparents though only one is required. Godparents must be Catholic. The reason for this is that they understand and share the responsibility of handing on the faith to your child as (s)he grows up. Non-Catholics can be chosen as witnesses to stand with Godparent(s) during the ceremony.
Baptismal Certificate of Catholic Parent
Please note that the Catholic parent will be asked to present a copy of their own Baptismal Certificate. Failure to do so may result in the deferral of the child's baptism.
If you do not live in the Abbey Parish
Strictly speaking your child should be baptised in the parish where you live. However, you may regard yourself as a member of "the worshipping community" of the Abbey, attending Mass here regularly. Even so, it would be courteous to inform your parish priest and ask for written permission for the baptism to take place here.
Parent/Guardian (or Godparents) sometimes are unsure about what they should give as an offering. It may be helpful to know that a usual donation is £50.
The Baptismal Register
After the Baptism, the Priest will add your baby's name to the Baptismal Register. Your child will be able to receive a Baptismal certificate at any future date. Please make sure, therefore,that the form you receive is filled in correctly.