Your child has a right to be incorporated into the Church family at the very beginning of life. The best time to have your child baptized is now. Why not make your plans at once?
Why baptize children?
Simply being born, your child becomes a member of your family, taking on the family name and a first, or Christian, name, you give him or her. They haven’t a clue who they are. Yet, as they grow they learn who they are in relationship to family and to others.
When the child is brought into the Church through the sacrament of baptism, he hasn’t a clue who he is as a Christian. But as he grows in the knowledge of the Lord and of the faith, he begins to know who he is in relation to God and to the Christian family.
What arrangements are necessary?
Contact St. Raphael’s Old Catholic Church (604) 325-9193 or (604) 760-7923 and talk to a Priest for details.
Do not be concerned if you do not have a parish. Any Old Catholic Priest will be happy to speak with you. Many couples are looking for a Church home, or a way back to Church if they have not been consistent in practicing the faith. For many, having a child and desiring to have him or her baptized is an important route back into the Church. All that is required on your part is a sincere desire and intention to maintain your Catholic faith in resuming your rightful place in the Church family. It is important for you to select godparents for your child who will be faithful to the promises and vows they will make on his behalf. Godparents act as sponsors for your child and, together with you, promise that as the child grows he will be taught the Catholic faith and helped to grow into a mature Catholic life.
The best godparents are person who are confirmed members of our Church and are actively involved in its life. The best godparents are those you would trust your child’s very life with, those who will love your child as if he or she were their own. People who have little or no religious interest are not suitable, even though they may be your closest friends. Your child needs godparents who are accessible to them, role models in faith, and not just gift-givers at the milestone moments of their life.
Baptism is intended to be administered publicly during corporate worship. In accordance with church teaching, baptism best takes place at the chief liturgy on a Sunday or a Feast Day. Baptism is a sacrament of the Church through which God freely gives us his grace.
What is the meaning of baptism?
Your baby is unaware of the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. A baby knows little of the world and nothing about God. Because your child is human, however, he has within him the seed of self-importance. At present he may well be incapable of showing this self-interest in anything more serious than crying for attention. He expects the world to revolve around him.
The early Church called this self-serving, rebellious aspect of human nature Original Sin. Theologians have debated the doctrine’s meaning no end. Let simply be said the Church acknowledges every human being is born with the capacity to be sinful, selfish and willful. As Christians we acknowledge, “all fall short” of the glory God intends for us. Given free will by a Divine Creator, humanity’s potential to sin and cause harm is powerful.
This sinful nature needs to be overcome. Unchecked, it can grow into destructive acts of hatred, dishonestly, fear and selfishness, things we do not hesitate to call “sins”. Catholics believe this self-interest can be overcome by a life of faith that begins with Holy Baptism. That is why Baptism is called “the washing away of sin” and why water is used for this spiritual cleansing. We believe your child’s best chance of a full, meaningful life is in being a member of the Church. In the Church he will learn about Christ and worship him; here he will know the meaning of humility, repentance, and forgiveness; and here belong to a large family, which looks to God as “our Father.” Only by such an experience can your child conquer the self-interest and the sin we have been talking about. Baptism initiates your child into the family of God. The child is considered “reborn,” regenerated in Christ Jesus. In Baptism the sign of the cross is put on your child’s forehead and is thereby sealed by the Holy Spirit and “marked as Christ’s own forever.”
How important is baptism?
Some argue religion does not depend on performing rites and belonging to institutions. Those who speak so are not talking about Christianity, for ours is a sacramental religion, counting it important that spiritual life be expressed in visible forms.
Baptism is not a rite of passage, an occasion to gather family and friends to celebrate a child’s birth. It is not to be “done” simply to please grandparents, or because it is expected. Baptism has ultimate value. It requires promises and vows made sincerely and intentionally with God.