Baptism, along with Confirmation, and Eucharist, constitute the Sacraments of Initiation. Through the celebration of these Sacraments a person is introduced to the Christian life. The following quotes present important points about baptism:
"Baptism, the door to life and to the kingdom of God, is the first sacrament of the New Law, which Christ offered to all, that they might have eternal life... Baptism is therefore, above all, the sacrament of that faith by which, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we respond to the Gospel of Christ." (Christian Initiation, General Instruction no. 3)
“Further, baptism is the sacrament by which its recipients are incorporated into the Church and are built up together in the Spirit into a house where God lives, into a holy nation and a royal priesthood. Baptism is a sacramental bond of unity linking all who have been signed by it." (Christian Initiation, General Introduction no. 4)
"Catechesis for Baptism is directed primarily to adults, that is catechumens -including children who have reached the age of reason- as well as parents and godparents of infants who are to be baptized" (National Directory for Catechesis, p. 120) "The term 'children' or 'infants' refers to those who have not yet reached the age of discernment and therefore cannot profess personal faith." (Rite of Baptism for Children no.1)
For many parents, the decision to baptize their child is a turning point in their faith journey. The Church rejoices in the parents' decision. Dioceses and Parishes strive to provide a baptismal preparation process that facilitates the formation in the faith, so that it might lead to a transformation in the lives of those participating in the formational offerings. "To fulfill the true meaning of the sacrament, children must later be formed in the faith in which they have been baptized... Christian formation, which is their due, seeks to lead them gradually to learn God's plan in Christ..." (Rite of Baptism for Children no. 3)
According to the National Directory for Catechesis, p. 121“Dioceses and parishes should present baptismal catechesis that
*Teaches that Baptism:
- Is the foundation of the Christian life because it is the journey into Christ’s death and Resurrection, which is the foundation of our hope;
- Gives sanctifying grace, that is, God’s life;
- Gives them a new birth in which they become children of God, members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit;
- Cleanses people from original sin and from all personal sins;
- Incorporates them into the life, practices, and mission of the Church; and
- Imprints on their souls an indelible character that consecrates them for Christian worship and is necessary for salvation in the case of all those who have heard the Gospel and have been able to ask for this sacrament.
The entire community gathers with the parents, promises assistance as the parents lovingly care for their child and open their lives to the grace of God. Likewise, following the celebration of Baptism, the parish offers ongoing catechesis of parents and affirms and supports the domestic Church.
Looking for Resources?
Follow this link: Infant Baptism Preparation Resources