Monday, June 18, 2012

Baptism at Blessed Sacrament Part 2

By Danielle Hetzel

This is the second part in a series about Baptism at Blessed Sacrament.
Pre baptism
Photo courtesy of user cvconnell on Flickr

In April, my husband and I attended the Baptism preparation class at Blessed Sacrament.  As mentioned in my last post, this class is required both for the parents of the child and for the godparents.  The attendees were varied - parents-to-be, godparents, even parents with their children.  Everyone receives the same message.

The class included two main sections that focused on two different parts of the sacrament.  In the first part, Fr Killian went through the Rite of Baptism and how things will happen at the ceremony.  We learned not only about the correct responses and order of events, but were also asked some difficult theological questions about the sacrament the child will be receiving.  I will try to summarize some of what we learned, but to get the full class you will just have to attend!

We reviewed the order of the ceremony for the Saturday morning Baptisms, although Sunday Baptisms are similar.  The major difference is fitting everything around the parts of the Mass when a Baptism takes place within Sunday Mass.  There is a lot of moving around to remember, but luckily there will be people to help guide everyone through the process on the actual day.

Throughout this review, Father related the importance of the sacrament.  For example, do you know what a person receives at the moment of Baptism?  As a class, we were able to come up with two of the three.  He/She receives absolution from original sin and entrance into the Church.  You’ll have to attend class to get the third answer.  All of this knowledge helped us remember how Baptism is the start of a lifelong journey for you and your child.

Father also covered some more practical questions that you may be wondering about as well: how to hold your baby for the Baptism, how toddlers are baptized, etc.  Feel free to bring your questions or concerns to class, as you should be able to get an answer.
Baptism Candle
Photo courtesy of user FGPhotography2008 on Flickr
The second section was led by Mary Kate and Justin Sparrow.  They are active members of the parish who have had all four of their sons Baptized at Blessed Sacrament.  This half was about the physical symbols of the sacrament.  In fact, sacrament means: "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." (  Therefore, these are manifestations of the outward signs.  Each one has both a historical and symbolic meaning.

Water – Throughout history, water is used for and is a symbol of cleansing.  In Baptism, it marks the removal of original sin from the baptized, and allows him or her to begin a new, pure life.

Oil - Historically, Roman soldiers rubbed this on their bodies to make it harder for their enemies to grasp them.  In Baptism, we are being strengthened to elude our enemy, sin.  Also, throughout the Church, oil is the symbol of preparation.  It seals us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we receive in Baptism.

These two signs symbolize what is taking place in our child at the time of Baptism.

Baptismal Stole – The stole is white, and therefore a sign of purity, innocence, and how perfect the child’s soul has just become.  As the parents and godparents of the child, our job is to keep their soul pure.  We must use the sacraments for this monumental task!

Candle – The Baptismal candle symbolizes Christ as “Light of the World.”  Without light, we could not see nor be seen.  However, just as the wax of the candle is pliable, so is the child’s soul.  In the sacrament of Baptism, we take responsibility for shaping this soul.

Baptismal Registry – At the time of Baptism, the child is officially announced as being a member of the Church.  Their name is written in the registry, and there it remains as a record of the event. 

The most important message that we learned from the class was that the Baptism is not just an event that happens to the child.  By choosing to get our child Baptized, we are choosing to take on the responsibility of helping them grow in their faith.  We cannot bring them to the Baptismal font and then leave them afterwards without guidance and support.  That would be abandoning the role set out for us by Christ.

Our child's Baptism is scheduled for early August.  Stay tuned for the final installment in this series about Baptism at Blessed Sacrament.