The Sacrament of Baptism

The sacrament of Baptism is often called “The door of the Church,” because it is the first of the seven sacraments not only in time (since most Catholics receive it as infants) but in priority, since the reception of the other sacraments depends on it.

It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation, the other two being the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.  Once baptized, a person becomes a member of the Church.  Through Baptism, we are cleansed of Original Sin and receive sanctifying grace, the life of God within our souls.  That grace prepares us for the reception of the other sacraments and helps us live our lives as Christians – in other words, to rise above the cardinal virtues, which can be practiced by anyone, to the theological virtues of hope and charity, which can only be practiced through the grace of God.

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.  Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”
Faith and Baptism
Baptism is the sacrament of faith.  However, faith needs the community of believers.  It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe.  The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop.  The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?”  The response is “Faith!”  For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism.  For this reason, the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises.  Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life.  Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.

For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important.  So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized – child or adult – on the road of Christian life.  Their task is a truly ecclesial function.  The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism. 
Baptism and Canon Law
One aspect of law whether civil or religious is to ensure uniformity and a standard among those governed by it. As Catholics, we are subject to certain rules and regulations, which are known as Canon Law.  Canon Law like other law books is broken down into sections, one section of which deals with the sacraments. Within that section is a sub group dealing with Baptism. There are thirty-nine canons dealing with the sacrament and rather than go through all of them, we will focus on those that come up most often as questions.

Canon 851.2 requires that the parents of the child to be baptized be instructed in the sacrament.  Hence, we require that the parents of the child to be baptized be instructed in the sacrament.  Canon 868 insists that there must be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion.  If such hope is lacking the baptism may be deferred.  Simply put, it would seem to mean that the parents must be practicing their faith to provide an example to the child.  Therefore, while we at The Mary, Gate of Heaven Parish would never refuse to baptize a child, we may ask for it to be put off until such an example is present. 
Sponsors for Baptism
According to the Sacramental Guidelines for the Archdiocese of Hartford, "A sponsor is to be chosen who will assist the newly baptized in Christian initiation.  Sponsors have a special role in fostering the faith life of the baptized person. As such, they are to be chosen and prepared accordingly".  Only one sponsor is required, either male or female; but if two are used there must be one male and one female.  If two sponsors are used, at least on must be Catholic in good standing and submit a sponsor certificate from their parish; the other may be a Christian Witness.  A Christian witness is a baptized non-Catholic whose faith recognizes the divinity of Christ. For an example, the requirements that a Catholic sponsor in the Archdiocese of Hartford must attest to are:

1. Must be at least 16 years old
2. Have received the Catholic Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation
3. Attend Mass regularly on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation
4. Must not be the parent of the person being baptized/confirmed
5. Manner of life in in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken
6. If married, marriage is canonically valid and recognized as such by the Catholic Church

Baptism is the beginning of a faith journey that grows and matures over the course of our lives.  The gift of faith we receive allows us to love God without ever having seen him. Our belief in the salvation promised us is what drives us to live in hope and to be witnesses of Christ’s presence among us.  Joy is a sign of that presence.  It is a mark of a Christian.  Love and joy are Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Love and joy also help sustain us through difficult times as we work to attain the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls. 

You may click here to find out information about having your baby baptized at Mary, Gate of Heaven Parish.





Saturday Vigil
4:30 PM (St. Robert)

7:00 AM (St. Mary)
8:30 AM (St. Robert)
9:30 AM (St. Mary)
11:00 AM (St. Mary)

3:30-4:00 PM (St. Robert)

Daily Masses
Monday through Friday:
7:30 AM (St. Mary)

Saturdays & Holidays:
8:30 AM (St. Mary)