Baptism

 

OLPH baptisms are celebrated on the third and fourth Sunday of each month, (unless otherwise specified) at 12:00 PM. First time parents are required to attend a Baptismal Preparation Session held on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Parish Office.

To make arrangements for a baptism and register for the Session, please call the Parish Office (609) 652-0008.

A WORD ABOUT GODPARENTS (BAPTISM) AND SPONSORS (CONFIRMATION):
Before you ask someone to be a godparent or sponsor, or before accepting this honor, please consider the following: godparents and sponsors are people of faith who so exemplify what it means to be a member of the Church that they inspire (or hope to inspire) the one they are sponsoring and will support that person in his/her journey of faith.

To be considered eligible, certain conditions must be met, which is why the Church insists that a certificate of eligibility, obtained from the prospective godparent/sponsor’s home parish, be provided prior to the celebration of the sacrament. The applicant must be formally registered in a parish. If we don’t know you, how can we testify that you are eligible? Furthermore, the applicant should make his/her own request, since their role as a sponsor is to witness to the child their own personal commitment to Christ and His Church.

Applicants must be:
1. fully initiated (That is, they have received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation)
2. practicing members of the Church (regularly attend Mass and are active in the parish), and
3. at least 16 years of age. (The pastor can dispense from the age minimum, provided that the applicant meets these sacramental requirements.)

Where we run into the most difficulties is if the applicant is married. We cannot issue a certificate of eligibility to a married person if the marriage is not valid in the Catholic Church. For a marriage to be valid, a sanctioned Catholic priest must have performed it or, if celebrated outside the Church, with a formal dispensation granted by the local bishop. Civil marriages or those performed by non-catholic religious officials without a formal dispensation are not valid in the Church. For the applicant in an invalid marriage to receive a certificate of eligibility, the marriage must first be convalidated by a renewal of vows before a sanctioned priest and two witnesses. If either spouse had a prior marriage that ended in a divorce, regardless of where that first marriage took place, the Church must formally annul the prior marriage before a convalidation can be celebrated.

WHAT IS BAPTISM? A CATHOLIC GUIDE TO THE SACRAMENT

“No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5).

In his dialogue with Nicodemus, Jesus taught that Baptism was necessary for salvation. “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5). After his Resurrection, Jesus met with the eleven Apostles and gave them the commission to preach the Gospel and baptize, telling them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16).

The word baptism in its origins is Greek and means “immersion” and “bath.” Immersion in water is a sign of death and emersion out of the water means new life. To bathe in water is also to undergo cleansing. Saint Paul sums up this truth when he says, “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12).

The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify Him; He cleansed the waters. “He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake . . . to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water” (St. Gregory Nazianzen, Liturgy of the Hours, I, 634).

Jesus’ immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God’s will. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father.

By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin—Original and actual—and begin to live a new life with God.

—From the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults