Baptism at St Patrick's Akaroa

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”     Matthew 28:19-20

The sacrament of Baptism marks the beginning of our life of faith in Christ and the Church.

In Baptism, we are welcomed into God’s family and begin the journey of getting to know and understand the meaning of God’s love made visible in Christ Jesus.

Here at  St. Patrick’s, there are two procedures of preparation for the sacrament of Baptism depending on the age of the person wanting to be baptised.

Baptism of a Child

Baptism AkaroaFor a baby to be baptised there needs to be ‘a well founded hope’ that the child will be nourished in the knowledge and practice of the faith. Parents might ask themselves about the ‘dream’ they have for their children and how faith is going to be nurtured in their child’s life.
As circumstances permit in this rural parish the baptismal preparation programme  for a child is in three parts:

1. Some preparation is offered by the parish priest or if coming from a city parish it is desirable to take part in a local parent preparation course.

2. Presentation of your child to the Christian community of St Patrick’s at our Sunday 9-30 am Mass if possible.
The presentation is a simple ritual within the Mass that involves presenting your child, the naming and the usual anointing with the Oil of Catechumens (no special clothing is required and godparents are not required to be present but are most welcome). The celebrant will guide you through this part of the Mass.

3. The Celebration of Baptism then takes place the following Saturday or Sunday as best suits everyone. If this is not your first child to be baptised and you have already completed a preparation programme, you are not required to participate in another programme. You will need only to take part in the Presentation and Baptism steps as out lined above. Please book directly with the Cathedral Secretary and send in the completed form so that she can prepare the Certificate.

Akaroa BaptismIf Akaroa is not your usual place of worship, we recommend you contact your local parish. Baptism is an opportunity  of making a connection with Catholics in your area and your serving Parish priest. This will help you receive  future support that your local community offers.

This is especially important if you will be looking to send your child to the local Catholic school.

Do not be put off by all these steps. We want to share in this happy and important decision. If you have any concerns please ring (03) 304-7083 and have a chat about them. There is no charge for the ceremony but most make an appropriate  offering.

A Parent’s Prayer

Heavenly Father
Giver of life and all the gifts we share,
look with love and tenderness on us.
Bless our lives, and help us to reflect the love Christ has for us.
Fill us with your love, and let us bring your light into our family.
Help us to nurture love in our child’s life, and offer guidance on his/her journey of faith.
Bless us, Father, in our own journey, as we give you praise and glory.
We ask this grace through Christ our Lord, in the love of your Spirit,
now and forever. Amen.

Baptism of an Adult

The majority of Catholics are baptised into membership of the Church as a baby or child and grow up in an environment where the Church is always part of their lives.

Some people, however, are moved by the Holy Spirit to consciously and freely seek Baptism later in their life journey.

During the first centuries, the growth of the Church came very largely through the Baptism of adults. In recent years, the Church has returned to many of these first-century ceremonies for welcoming adults who seek baptism into the life of Christ.

This journey of faith, this period of reflection and discovery, and the ceremonies that accompany it have been brought together in a programme the Church calls ‘The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults’ or ‘RCIA’.

Speak to us on what can be offered or arranged for you if you are considering this step.

The Celebration of Baptism –The Ceremony in Outline.

Gathering – those who are being baptised, their families, friends and the church community gather together at the entrance or in the Church.

Welcome – words of welcome are exchanged. The names that have been chosen for Baptism are announced and the parents desire to have their child baptised is expressed.

The Word – everyone present listens to the Word of God (Readings from Sacred Scripture)

Prayers – prayers are offered to those who are to be baptised, for their families, friends and all who are present.

Oil of Catechumens – to prepare for Baptism, the candidate is anointed with Oil of Catechumens as a sign of Christ’s protective power.

Vows – all present renew their own baptismal vows. Therefore all God-parents need to be Christian with at least one a baptized  practicing catholic who can support the growing child.

Water – the Baptism takes place as the priest pours holy water over the forehead three times as he says the words of Baptism.

Oil of Chrism – the newly baptised are then anointed with Sacred Chrism as a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Like Christ, the one baptised in now an “anointed one”.

White clothing – as a sign of being a new creation clothed in Christ, the one who has been baptised is now covered with a white cloth.

Candle – as a sign of the light of Christ now present in the newly baptised, a candle is presented and lit from the paschal or Easter candle.

Blessing – final prayers and a blessing are given that all present may love and serve the Lord in peace and goodwill.  All this takes about 30 minutes; more if some singing is arranged.