Baptism is the first sacrament of the Church. Through Baptism we become members of the Church. The usual celebrant or minister for Baptism is a priest or a deacon. Baptism begins at the entrance of the church where parents and godparents are waiting with those to be baptised. The celebrant welcomes those being baptised and asks three questions of the parents and godparents. “What name have you given your child?” “Jasper James.” “What do you ask of God’s church for Jasper James?” “Baptism.” “So I ask you godparents – are you ready to help these parents in their duty as Christian mothers and fathers?” “We are.” The celebrant, with the parents and godparents greet the child with the Sign of the Cross. The Sign of the Cross symbolises that this child will be baptised in the name of the Father who created us, the Son who saved us through his death and resurrection, and the Spirit who fills us with life and is always in us. After being welcomed to the church, families and the community process into the church to hear the scripture. In the proclamation of the Word, Jesus is present amongst us and is calling us to be disciples within our community. Within the Gospel, Jesus speaks of the new life which Baptism brings. The celebrant expands on this with his homily. “The Sacrament of Baptism is a beginning.” “Beginning of our long journey of faith.” “It is not something to be done and over.” “It is an everyday journey.” “As children we are dependent on our parents.” “So too, we are dependent on our God.” Prayers of the faithful are offered for the child and their family. Each prayer ends with, ‘Lord Hear Us’. “By the mystery of your death and resurrection, bathe these children in light” “give them the new life of Baptism and welcome them into your Holy Church.” “Lord hear our prayer.” The community present asks for the guidance of the saints in heaven so that the Baptism becomes a gathering of the whole family of the Church. “Holy Mary Mother of God.” “Pray for us.” “Saint John the Baptist.” “Pray for us.” “Saint Joseph.” “Pray for us.” “Saint Peter and Saint Paul.” “Pray for us.” The celebrant prays a prayer of exorcism over those wanting Baptism. This is prayed that they will be protected from all the expressions of evil in their lives. The child is anointed on the chest with the Oil of Catechumens. This oil signifies the strengthening and healing that Christ brings through Baptism. The Baptism water is blessed by the celebrant, asking God for the divine life from the water to be transferred to the baptised children. Parents and godparents are asked to renew the promises which were made at their own Baptism. “Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?” “I do.” The celebrant asks the parents and godparents if it is their will that the child be baptised in the church. “So Sean and Elizabeth and your godparents, is it your will that Emily Patricia should be baptised in the faith of the church which we have professed with you?” “Yes.” The celebrant pours the baptismal water over the child’s head three times, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. “Jasper I baptise you. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The baptised are anointed on their crown with Oil of Chrism. Anointing with the Oil of Chrism is a sign that the baptised are set apart to live a certain way of life. It Is used at Baptism to symbolise the baptised life with Christ. The baptised are clothed in white as a sign of dignity and the new life of the resurrection. The baptismal candles are lit from the Paschal candle. This symbolises the light of Christ which will shine on, and through the baptised for life. The celebrant blesses the baptised child’s ears and lips, their ears so that they will listen to the teachings of Christ and their lips to be able to proclaim and praise the Glory of God. As a community, all pray the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The celebrant says a blessing for the parents and all who have joined in this joyful welcoming of a new Christian into the Church.