Congratulations! We join you in thanking God for the gift of your child. This is indeed a busy and wonderful time in the life of your family! As you might know, membership into the Church is accomplished through the Sacrament of Baptism. Since your child is too young to request this essential Sacrament which opens it up to the life of grace and membership in the Church, it is you, the parents, who are undertaking the great responsibility of bringing your child up in the Faith of the Church, faith in Jesus Christ, which you practice and profess. It is presumed that if you are requesting to have your child baptized, you are actively practicing your Catholic Faith by regular weekly attendance at Sunday Mass at St. Wilfrid's. At least one of the child's parents must be Roman Catholic and will be asked to provide us with a photocopy of his/her Baptism Certificate for your baby to be baptized.
The Baptism process at St. Wilfrid's includes the following.
1. Please read through the whole baptism kit. After prayer and discussion, please return the completed Baptismal Information Form along with a photocopy of the Catholic parent's baptismal certificate to the Parish office. (416- 638-313)
2. You will then be invited to a meeting with a Priest to speak about your baby's Baptism and your responsibility in raising your child in the Catholic Faith.
3. You will then have to attend a baptismal preparation session. Parents and godparents are asked to attend this session, which will last for an hour. We strongly urge parents to make babysitting arrangements for this session, so that everyone will be able to participate more fully.
4. After you have fulfilled the above requirements, a date for the baptism will be set. The celebration of baptism occurs on selected Sunday afternoons. Parents, godparents and family members are asked to attend the 12:00 Noon Mass on the assigned Sunday. Baptism ceremony should follow right after the noon Mass.
5. Godparents need to provide a copy of their Confirmation Certificate. (Pease attach copy of Confirmation Certificate to Baptism Form before submitting)
A WORD ABOUT BAPTISM
The sacraments of initiation are baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. In the early Church the three rites were celebrated together. Over the years this got changed when confirmation and Eucharist were separated from baptism. At the beginning of Christianity the initiation rites were primarily for adults who had decided to renounce the false and artificial values of the pagan world and to follow Jesus Christ into a new life and closer relationship with God. From the first century baptized and practicing Christians have always asked that their children also receive baptism. It is a child's first step into the faith of its parents and of the universal Church. Just like learning to walk, learning to walk by faith requires parental guidance. Neither the parish community nor Catholic schools can nurture your child's faith, as they would wish to do unless parents in the home undertake their primary responsibility. Jesus said, “If anyone places obstacles in the way of these little ones (on their pathway to God) they would be better thrown into the sea with a millstone around their neck.” That is a stem warning to parents, priests, teachers, and all who have the care of a God-given life.
We are glad that you are seeking baptism for your son or daughter. This parish community is ready to do its part throughout the years. Preparation for the baptismal day is also an opportunity to re-think and re-affirm your own faith. It may also be a time for an examination of conscience and the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation before you present your child for the sacrament of Baptism.
A WORD ABOUT GODPARENTS
The following are guidelines to help in choosing godparents.
The role of the Godparent (s) is an often confused and misunderstood one. The godparent is one who assists the parents in the “Spiritual” upbringing of their child. They should have some life-contact with the child and be actively interested in praying for, and being a personal support to the child. Unfortunately, in the choosing of a godparent, sometimes people are chosen for honorary reasons. It is seen as honoring a person by asking them to assume the role of godparent. However, when taken seriously, this role is one that should and must reach far beyond the actual day of baptism. It is a serious and important task that is placed before you as parents to carefully choose suitable candidates who will take their role as described above, seriously. The Church teaches “godparents are to be present (at the actual baptism) in order to represent both the expanded spiritual family of the one to be baptized and the role of the Church as Mother. As occasion offers, godparents help the parents so that the children will come to profess the faith and live up to it. In the actual celebration of baptism, the part of godparents is to testify to the faith, and together with the parents, to profess the Church's faith in which children are baptized.”
In choosing godparents, please consider the following requirements:
The godparent you choose must be a practicing Catholic 16 years of age or older who has been confirmed and has already received the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken. Those in a marriage not recognized by the Church may not be qualified to function as sponsors.
2. The person must be willing to profess his/her faith with the parents immediately prior to the pouring of water and should have no reservations about doing so.
3. The person must be willing to cooperate with the parents in helping to foster and nurture in the child a Catholic way of life.
4. The church states that the child must have at least one Catholic godparent and no more than 2. If there are two, then one man and one woman are to be chosen.
5. If you have one Catholic godparent you are permitted to have one Christian Witness of the opposite sex of the godparent to stand in as a witness to the baptism. If you have two Catholic godparents it is not required to have a Christian witness as well.
6. The requirement for a Christian witness is that the person be a baptized Christian belonging to one of the non-Catholic ecclesial communities (eg United, Anglican etc.). Needs to provide Baptism Certificate from their Christian church.
Finally, what is asked of the godparent is really the mission accepted by all Christians at their baptism; to nurture the faith by living it in their daily lives as Christians.