Catholic Baptism Traditions

Catholic Baptism Traditions

You are blessed with a new baby and now it is time to plan the Baptism, welcoming your child into the Catholic faith.  During the sacrament of Baptism, your child will become a disciple of Christ and receive the grace of the Holy Spirit.  As the parents, you will promise to raise your child in the Catholic Church, to grow in the faith of God, and rejoice in the community of faithful.

The Catholic Baptism tradition dictates that an infant should be baptized within the first couple of months after birth.  The reason for this Catholic tradition is to remove Original Sin, which every human being is born with because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.  Members of the Catholic religion believe that if an infant dies before Baptism, he or she cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  This is the reason the Sacrament of Baptism is so important to a Catholic baby.

For a child seven years of age or older, known as catechetical age, the Baptismal ritual differs from a child Baptized in infancy.  A child of this age celebrates Baptism through the Christian Initiation of Children.  The children are taught the basics of Catholic education, helping them understand the concept of the Eucharist, the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation.  Depending on the age of the child, all three sacraments are sometimes received at the same time during the Easter Vigil Mass.

Most parishes require Catholic parents to attend a Baptism preparation class.  Although some parents find the class a burden, it is very informative for preparing for Baptism.  The parents meet the other parents of babies who will be baptized on the same day, making the ritual more of a personal, parish community celebration.

One of the most important duties of the parent before the Baptism is to choose the Godparents for the infant.  The Godparents are required to be at least sixteen years old, have received the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation, be practicing Catholics, must not be the child’s parents, and must be willing to accept the responsibility of raising the baptized child in the Catholic faith if the parents are unable to do so.

The Catholic Baptism Ceremony for Infants:

The Baptism ceremony has many symbols dealing with faith, life, the family, and God:

  • The celebrant traces the Sign of the Cross on the infant’s forehead claiming the baby for Jesus Christ.
  • The most important ritual of a Catholic Baptism is pouring holy water on the infant’s head, baptizing the child in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  This symbolizes the child being reborn as sin is washed away.
  • The baptized infant is now a true member of the Catholic faith and the celebrant places a white garment on the baby.
  • A candle is given to the parents and it is lit from the Baptismal candle.  The candles symbolize the infant taking part in the resurrection of Christ.
  • The celebrant reads a scripture passage and gives an appropriate homily, detailing the roles of the parents and godparents in the Catholic life of the newly baptized infant.
  • The parents and godparents renew their baptismal vows, renouncing Satan and professing their faith in God.
  • The celebrant gives a blessing to those participating in the Baptism ritual and all the relatives and friends who attended the Baptism.
  • The Baptism ceremony finishes with the congregation reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

 

Now that the Baptism ceremony is complete, it is time to celebrate with the relatives, and friends who welcomed your new baby into the Catholic life.  Most of the guests will give the baptized baby a baptismal gift and as parents of the new member of the Catholic community, it is traditional to give baptismal gifts to the godparents.

Catholic Baptism Gift Ideas:

  • The Holy Family medal is a perfect gift for a Catholic Baptism.  It is a timeless reminder to the parents and the Baptized child of the day they committed their family to a life with Christ.
  • A St. Joseph medal is also an ideal Catholic Baptism present.  St. Joseph committed himself to raising Jesus as God directed, protecting Mary, and Jesus throughout his life. 
  • The Catholic Baptism Cross is traditional as a Catholic Baptismal gift.  It often features the words, “"I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".
  • Patron Saint medals are available for almost all the saints.  Choose a medal with the baby’s name for a baptismal gift that can be worn throughout life.

 

These are just a few of the many gifts for celebrating Catholic Baptisms.   The most important thing to give the baby is your prayers and a commitment to help the newly baptized infant realize the importance of a life with Christ.

 

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