Baptism Preparation for Infants

WHAT IS BAPTISM?

The pouring of the water at baptism symbolises everyone’s need to be ‘washed’. Sin separates us from God, and so we do not automatically have the relationship with God that we need. Our sins need to be washed away, and each day we need to be forgiven, renewed, cleansed. This relationship is made possible through

Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross and resurrection offer atonement for our sin. By trusting in Jesus, and living in the way that he calls us to live, we are restored with God. We bring our children for baptism because we believe that we are sinful people who need to be cleansed or forgiven by God.

In seeking the sign of baptism, we are asking God to wash us and forgive us every day of our lives ? not just on the day of our baptism. Baptism is the beginning of a life long spiritual journey, of continued trust in God and the salvation He offers to us through Jesus. Through daily prayer, reading the Bible and worshipping with our fellow Christians, we find forgiveness and the encouragement to live lives which are pleasing to God.

Baptism links our lives with the death of Christ, the one who gave up his own life for us, for our failures and sins, so that we might be cleansed, washed or forgiven.

BAPTISM IS A SACRAMENT

What does that mean? It means that the outward act of the pouring of water is a sign of what God does for us -- saving us from punishment for our sin. It is the outward sign of an inward spiritual grace. What do we have to do to receive this grace? Nothing other than to believe in Jesus.

WHY BAPTISE?

There are many reasons why parents want to have their children baptised. For some, it’s a family tradition , for others it might be a superstitious belief that it will protect their children from evil. For others, baptism is seen as an important start in the Christian life of their child. Asking for baptism is a sign of your love for your child. We bring our children to God because we believe that as our child experiences God’s love, he or she enters into maturity as a person. True maturity involves our relationship with God, our spiritual life, as well as our relationship with others. Baptism is the first step in this lifelong journey.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Christian baptism is not a passing out parade. In the Catholic tradition, where babies are baptised, it is the first part of a process that is completed by Confirmation. After baptism, as your child grows and learns, it is important that they also grow and learn in their Christian life. Christian nurture, through parental encouragement and example, and involvement in the local Church, is an important way to support your child in their Christian formation.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

  • Pray with your child regularly. Praying with your baby / child shows them your love for them, and for God.
  • Teach your child simple prayers, encouraging them to give thanks to God for everyday things. Eg. Teach your child to say Grace before meals.
  • Read the Bible to your child. Many child friendly versions of the Bible are now available. Godparents should regularly pray for their godchildren, and encourage them in their faith.
  • Celebrate the anniversary of your child’s baptism, lighting the baptismal candle.
  • Worship together: bring your child to Church with you.
  • Involve your child in the parish’s teaching programme through the Sacramental Programme, Kid’s Church, the parish Youth Group, and other church-based groups.

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