What is Baptism
Baptism is not simply a “naming ceremony” or even just a blessing for a new baby. It is the beginning of the Christian life and the gateway to eternal life. Because of this, the sacrament of Baptism is taken very seriously in the Church.
These pages deal predominantley with the Baptism of children. If you are an adult wishing to join the church, please see our Becoming a Catholic page. For find out about Baptism classes, see our Parish Groups page.
We believe that Baptism is a sacrament, an action of Jesus Christ in his Church. A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, instituted by Jesus Christ. By the carrying out of the sacramental rite, grace is given to the soul of the person who received the sacrament.
In this sacrament, Jesus Christ
- forgives original sin and opens the gates of heaven for us
- welcomes us into his Church
- makes us the sons and daughters of God
The ceremony of Baptism assumes a well-founded hope that you will bring your child up in the practice of the faith. This means
- you teach your child to pray
- you teach your child to lead a good Christian life
- you come to Mass on Sundays
- you teach your child the Catholic faith
During the Baptism there are various ceremonies that the priest will explain. If you have a white shawl, this will be used as a part of the ceremonies. A candle is also given as a sign of the resurrection of Jesus. The Church will provide this.
Everyone is welcome to the Mass and the Baptism. If you have non-Catholic friends or family who may not wish to be there for the whole Mass, they can come after Mass for the Baptism.
In the Catholic Church in England, there is no fee for the Baptism. If you can afford to do so, you should make an offering. You can give this in an envelope to the priest or deacon at the time of the Baptism. If you cannot afford anything, it does not matter and nobody will be offended.