The Sacrament of 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. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, and we are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
…The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.
Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.
The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.
Faith and Baptism
Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” The response is: “Faith!”
For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.
For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized – child or adult on the road of Christian life. Their task is a truly ecclesial function (officium). The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism.
WHO CAN BAPTIZE?
The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and deacon. In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize , by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.
THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM
The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
Baptism ~ Infants (Children under 7 years of age)
Baptisms for infants are celebrated on the First, Second and Third Saturday of each month, following the 9:00am Mass (10:00am) and are limited in size to four baptisms per Saturday.
We require that the parents be registered at St. Mary at least 90 days prior to the baptism. For information on how to register visit Join St. Mary.
Parents must attend a Baptism Class. The classes are held the 1st Saturday of each month at 10:00am in the Courtyard Meeting Room. Please call the parish office to register 540-373-6491.
Bautismo ~ en Español (para niños menores de siete años)
St. Mary celebra Bautismos en Español, el cuarto Sábado del mes a las 10am (en Español).
Para informaćion de como inscribirse, visite Join St. Mary.
St. Mary requiere que los padres y padrinos atiendan una clase especial de Bautismo. La clase se ofrece el primer Sábado del mes a las 12:00 p.m. en la Courtyard Meeting Room. Si tienen alguna pregunta, por favor, llamen a la oficina de la parroquia al 540-373-6491.
Baptism ~ Children Age 8-16
Children and youth ages 8-16 who wish to be baptized attend the RCIC Program (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children). This is a two year program offered by the Religious Education Program of the parish.
Preparation for the sacraments of initiation (in this case, children receive all three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) begins with classes in the fall and are completed with the reception of sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass.
To register for this program or for more information, please call the Religious Education Office at 540-373-6491.
Children who are already validly baptized who wish to be received into the Church may join the regular cycle of religious education to receive First Holy Communion or, if they are older than other students studying for sacraments, they may be enrolled in a special sacraments class offered by the Religious Education Program. By receiving Communion their profession of Faith in the Church is validly received.
If students who seek reception into the Church through the sacraments are uncatechized, it is recommended that they be enrolled in the RCIC program to provide a broader base for their knowledge of the faith.
Baptism ~ Adults
Adults interested in learning more about the Catholic faith and moving toward Baptism or Reception into the Catholic Church (already validly baptized) are welcome to join our RCIA Program (The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). This series of meetings/classes begin in September and meet weekly Monday’s 7:30-9:15pm. Some special trips and liturgical participation included throughout the year.
The program culminates with the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil Mass: Baptism (if necessary), Confirmation and Eucharist.
For information about the Program, please contact the parish office 540-373-6491.