Baptism is one of the three sacraments of initiation,
along with Confirmation and Eucharist.
Baptism celebrates belonging to God and being born
and welcomed into the family of God, the Church.
We celebrate the addition of another member to that
family, our own belonging to God and to each other,
and the welcoming work that we do, the welcoming
community that we are challenged to be.
Baptisms often occur in the midst of the
welcoming community during a Sunday liturgy.
The celebration of infant Baptism is a
way of reminding ourselves that our
membership in the Church is, first of all,
It also emphasizes the confident hope
that is characteristic of a community
that welcomes all newcomers.
On the other hand, initiation of adults
is acquiring greater visibility and
importance in today's Church.
A large part of this initiation is a walking
together and a chance to grow in faith
for both the individual and the community.
Adult Baptism lets us see that we are not just adding one more member, but we are accepting into our family somebody with a history that enriches ours, somebody with gifts and graces that we lacked before. We get to know something about God that we didn't know before. Baptism isn't just for the individual; it's a gift to the believing community.
The main special symbol of Baptism, pouring water or better, immersion in water, is not primarily a sign of being washed clean of sin, although original sin and all personal sins are forgiven in Baptism. Rather it tells us about death and new life. Going under the water in Baptism symbolizes dying to the old life and sin. Coming up again is like rising to a new life in God. This doesn't mean that at the moment of Baptism an individual dies to everything that was before and rises to something totally new. Rather, a community celebrates the dying and rising work God's grace has been accomplishing all along.
Easter, the feast of the resurrection, is the appropriate time for welcoming new adult members into the community with the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist in the Easter Vigil liturgy.
The belonging that we celebrate in Baptism, psychologists say, is everyone's goal. Baptism offers the challenge to the Christian families and communities of creating ways to welcome and walk with everyone, including strangers, people of diverse backgrounds, and those whose mistaken sense of their identity leads them to seek belonging through inappropriate or destructive behaviour.
Giving birth is said to be an experience, parenthood a way of life. One passes, the other never ends. It is like that with the sacrament of Baptism - the conferring is an experience for your child, the sacrament never ends. And you are part of the sacrament, the major part. You strengthen them for life.
You are waiting for the Holy Spirit to come to your children.
You also bring the Holy Spirit to them.
You are like Mary with the apostles, waiting in prayer and expectation for the first Pentecost. All because you want your chid to be the best he or she can be! If you could choose, would it be a doctor, teacher, a student or would you go further and ask for 'happy'thoughtful, 'decent' honourable, 'wise' kind, 'thoughtful'?
Is your ultimate desire that he/she be something or a certain kind of person ? This is an occasion for asking questions about your values the things you consider important.