Sacred Encounter Spiritual Center
Baptism is a communal ritual; hence, it is done in public. The sacrament of baptism is the rite of initiation into the Christian way of life. Although, a priest presides, every person enters into this sacrament of baptism as One Body of Christ. Baptism is a symbolic action that signifies our spiritual identity. Baptism uses water as a symbolic cleansing that reveals our true identity as children of God. During the ceremony, everyone in the congregation pledges support for the child and his or her parents. Baptism is not a requirement for God’s love; rather, it is an acceptance of God love for us. Baptism is the willingness to live out of our True Self as God's beloved. Baptism is our loving response to all that God freely continues to offer us and to all that God wants to accomplish in and through us in an on-going way. Baptism highlights that we belong to God, our life belongs to God, and we are One with God.
A. THE PROCESS
Step I: Requirements
- Fill-out the on-line Baptismal Request Form
- Parents to make an appointment with Mother Leia to: (a) introduce themselves and to ask any questions/clarifications about the entire process; and (b) to plan and schedule the Baptism ceremony.
- At least one of the parents is baptized in the Christian faith. This is due to the fact that Baptism is mainly observed in the Christian tradition.
- A child may only have one or two godparents (also called sponsors); if two are chosen, they must be male and female. If there are more than 2 godparents, a prior request must be made for approval. A godparent belonging to another faith community, may be admitted only as a “witness” (not a godparent) provided that there is at least one Christian godparent. Again, due to the fact that Baptism is mainly observed by Christians and the ritual is Christ-centered and Trinitarian in nature.
- Parents and godparents to have a relationship with the Triune God, which is demonstrated in their daily Spiritual practice(s) and to believe in the Universal Christ.
- After completing the required Baptism Preparation Materials below, parents and godparents are to meet virtually or in person to discuss among themselves the materials, express their views, verbalize their thoughts, seek clarification, etc., to make sure that they are all in one page.
- In lieu of in person meeting and rehearsal, parents and godparents are to meet virtually with Mother Leia (per prior appointment made) to exchange thoughts regarding the completed materials and to understand their roles during the Baptism ceremony; i.e., what to do and what to say during the ritual.
Step II: Choosing a Godparent
While choosing a godparent, most couples think of someone who is close to the family and follows the same faith and values as themselves. Finding the right godparent for your child is easy. Finding someone who genuinely cares for the child, someone who has a moral and spiritual compass that will enable him/her to be a role model for the child during his/her lifetime, is the primary goal. A godparent also acts on behalf of the child's parents. The godparent steps in when the child's parents are unable to provide religious or spiritual training. Read: "How to Choose a Godparent" and discuss with your spouse.
A. Understanding the Role of a Godparent
The role of a godparent doesn't end with the ceremony. S/He has to be the supportive pillar for the child and must show keenness and interest in the upbringing of the child. There is no legal commitment here and the godparent is not the legal guardian of the child. The godparent is not accountable to the youth financially and is not expected to adopt the child if his/her parents die during the child's upbringing years.
B. Responsibilities of Godparent(s)
Godparenting is an age-old tradition. A godparent is essentially a spiritual guide to the child. At the time of baptism, the child is unable to answer the questions that are asked of him/her; this is the role that the godparent fulfills and in turn assures that s/he will guide this child spiritually throughout his/her life. Godparenting is a great responsibility. The godparent must ensure that the child is well versed in the fundamentals and practices of his/her religion and must be keen in the other aspects of the child's life as well. Those will include birthdays, baptismday, holidays, graduation and any other special event in the life of the child. Godparent and the child might live in different houses or might have great physical distances between them, but the godparent should ensure that s/he allocates some time for the godchild and visits him/her often.
Step III: Baptism Preparation Materials
In lieu of Baptism Preparation Classes, parents and godparents are to prepare for their child's baptism by completing the Required Readings, Podcasts, and Videos below in the comfort of their own homes. The Supplemental Videos and Podcasts are highly recommended for your own edification and for in-depth and wholesome understanding of Christology, Spirituality and Theology, in connection with Science and Metaphysics; so that you may better help your children and godchildren develop a healthier spirituality. These videos and podcasts are being updated regularly and may be accessed anytime at your convenience--if you have any questions and/or wish to suggest other videos/readings/podcasts, please feel free to contact us. After completing the required materials and prior to the final meeting with Mother Leia, parents and godparents are also required to answer the questionnaire below and to submit them to Mother Leia.
A. Required Readings
- A Case to think about Before Baptism
- Heaven and Hell
- Parental Duties to their Baptized Children
- The Spiritual Side of Godparenting
- Your Guide to Being the Best Godparent You Can Be
- Guided Reflections on Our Baptismal Promises
- The Neuroscience of Spiritual Intelligence
- Meditation and the Spiritual Life of Children
B. Required Podcasts
- Podcast: How to Explain Christ to a Child with Fr. Richard Rohr (42.22)
- Podcast: Hell, the Devil, and the Afterlife with Fr. Richard Rohr (18:48)
C. Required Videos
- TEDx Talks: A Scientific Defense of Spiritual and Religious Faith (19:33)
- Fowler's Stages of Faith Development (7:44)
- The Cosmic Christ (12:31)
- Your Image of God Creates You (3:32)
- God is Relationship Itself (3:39)
- Unlearning Our Models of God (2;42)
- The Concept of Original Sin (7:51)
- Love is the Shape of the Universe (3:32)
- Spirituality vs Religion (11:21)
- Water = Life (The Spirituality of Water) (14:27)
- How to Experience Spiritual Intelligence (20:00)
D. Supplemental Videos and Podcasts
- Spirit Science (Part 1): The Spiritual Roots of Science (12:42)
- Spirit Science (Part 2): Is Consciousness The Next Scientific Revolution? (17:45)
- Spirit Science (Part 3): Quantum Flapdoodle (12:46)
- Spirit Science (Part 4): Metaphysical Madness (11:18)
- Spirit Science: Near-Death Experiences (15:08)
- Spirit Science: Everything is Connected and Here's How (10:34)
- Light | How Enlightenment Works (13:20)
- The Universal Christ (58:07)
- The Holy Spirit and How it is Distinct from Jesus Christ and God (4:09)
- What is Contemplative Prayer and Why is it so Needed (9:20)
- TEDx Talks Cambridge: Science and Spirituality by Dr. Jeff Lieberman (14:24)
- Metaphysics and Religion | Global Philosophy of Religion Project (1:09:17)
- Enlightenment (Documentary) (53:10)
- TEDx Talks UCLA: The Most Important Influence on Child Development (8:41)
- The Believing Brain: Evolution, Neuroscience, and the Spiritual Instinct (1:17:46)
- The Spiritual Child: Educating the Head and the Heart (1:00:10)
- The Neuroscience of Spirituality (1:57:56)
- TEDx Talks on Depression and Spiritual Awakening (15:52)
- Podcast: Christ-Soaked World with Fr. Richard Rohr (42:22)
- Other Podcasts by Center for Action and Contemplation with Fr. Richard Rohr (Listen to these podcasts if you want to have a healthier understanding of Christology, Theology, and Spirituality)
E. Baptism Prep Questionnaire
- What have you learned from what you have read and heard?
- What do you agree with and don’t agree with? Why?
- What’s your understanding of heaven, hell and original sin?
- What’s the difference between Jesus and Christ? What does it mean to be a Christian?
- What are your thoughts on the Universal or Cosmic Christ?
- What is/are your image(s) of God? Do you have a relationship with God? Explain.
- How do you nurture your relationship with God now that you are requesting baptism for your child(ren)? What is/are your daily spiritual practice(s) or plan to practice?
- What spiritual practice(s) are you teaching or going to teach your child(ren)?
- What’s the difference between Spirituality and Religion
- What is spiritual intelligence? Are you spiritually intelligent? Explain.
Step IV: The Ceremony
Parents are responsible to bring white Christening gown. It should be loose enough at the neck to allow anointing of the child’s breast. If a hat is worn, it should be removed before the Baptism. The godparent(s) to bring a decorated candle, which will be given to the child after the ceremony, as a reminder of this joyous milestone. The candle can be burned on Baptismal anniversaries and when the child receives other sacraments in the future.
At the ceremony, the godparents are there with the parents, the child and the priest. One of the godparents hands over the child to the mother. The child is not able to talk, understand or respond during baptism. The godparent fulfills the commitments on the child's behalf.
The rite begins with the reception of the child(ren), in which are signified the desire of the parents and godparents and the intention of the Church regarding the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism.
The priest goes with the ministers to the door of the church, or to that part of the church where the parents and godparents are gathered with those to be baptized. The celebrant greets those present, especially the parents and godparents, recalling in a few words the joy with which the parents received their children as a gift from God, who is the source of all life and who now wishes to bestow his own life on them.
Then, the Celebrant asks the question: "What name have you given your child?"--both parents give the child's name. The Celebrant asks the second question: "What do you ask of God's Church for [child's name]?" The parents respond: "Baptism." The Celebrant addresses the parents and asks them that in asking for Baptism, do they understand their parental responsibilities; in which the parents respond: "We do." Then, the Celebrant addresses the godparents and ask them if they are ready to help the parents in their duty; to which the godparents respond: "We are."
These intentions are expressed by first the celebrant signing the child(ren) on the forehead, followed by the parents. The congregation may sing a suitable Psalm or Hymn, if circumstances allow. The reception of the child(ren) with the parents concludes with the Celebrant inviting the family to enter the church and to join in the service.
The sacred celebration of the Word of God is intended to stir up the faith of the parents and godparents and others present, and to encourage them to pray together for the fruits of the Sacrament, before the sacramental action. This celebration of the Liturgy of the Word consists of the reading of one or more passages of Sacred Scripture; a homily, followed by a period of silence; the Prayer of the Faithful, and the concluding prayer, drawn up in the form of an exorcism, which introduces the anointing with the Oil of Catechumens or, if there is no anointing, the laying on of hands.
Step V: The Baptismal Certificate
Following the Baptism, the baptismal certificate will be ready to be handed to the parents; so, please be sure of the accuracy of information and the spelling of names.
B. BAPTISM SYMBOLS AND MEANING
I. The Cross
The cross is Christianity’s universal emblem. Rendering the sign of the cross over a child during the baptism reveals God's oneness with the child and expresses the child's true identity as God's child. The cross is a sign of the crucifixion of Jesus, which is a reminder that God is always there in good times and in bad.
II. White Clothing
White is the color of purity, and wearing a white garment during baptism is a reminder that the person getting baptized is "made in God's image and likeness" -- pure and good, which is our original identity.
III. The Oil
The oil is yet another baptismal sign of the Holy Spirit. It also symbolizes the ‘holy spirit during other sacraments and religious events. The person is anointed with oil during baptism, and oil is many times described in the Bible as a sign of bringing the individual and the Holy Spirit together. Holy oils are used during baptism in order to reinforce the faith of the anointed. They also signify the Holy Spirit’s gifts.
IV. The Water
Water is the Christian emblem of divinity as well as a representation of purity and cleansing from our inherited sin. The exterior sign of baptism is the actual pouring of the water on the head or full immersion, while quoting the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit.”The purification quality of water is deemed something that can cleanse an individual from the outside. The holy water means that God gives life to humans and is a representation of God's grace.
V. The Candle
Light as a sign of baptism is depicted by the passage of a lighted candle from the celebrant to the godparents. The candle reflects a change in Christ from death to life. Light, like water, is necessary for life because, without the light of the sun, nothing on the planet will exist. In addition to it being a sign of the creation and vitality of life, the light is a sign of Christ as the light of the world and the Christian faith.
To request for the Sacrament of Baptism, please complete the on-line form: Baptismal Request Form