Baptism is a communal ritual; hence, it is done in public. The sacrament of baptism is the single rite of initiation into the Christian community, the church. Although, a priest presides, every person enters into this sacrament of baptism as One Body of Christ. Baptism is a symbolic action that signifies the new life God gives us as we join the church community. Baptism uses water as a symbolic cleansing that signifies the acceptance of new life within the church family. We believe the gift of God’s love doesn’t depend on our ability to understand it, so we baptize people as infants right up through adulthood. 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. We believe people who die without baptism are in no way condemned, lost, or damned. Baptism highlights a truth that is applicable to all of us at all stages of our spiritual development, namely that the on-going life of each of us is meant to be one of 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 the truth that becoming a Christian is totally a gift from God.
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.
At the ceremony, the godparent is there with the parents, the child and the priest. The godparent hands over the child to the mother. The godparent attends mass for the first three Sundays along with the child and the family ensuring to be a part of the child's spiritual upbringing. The child is not able to talk, understand or respond during baptism. The godparent fulfills the commitments on the child's behalf.
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.
Godparenting is an age-old tradition. A godparent is essentially a spiritual guide to the child. More often than not, the godparent is someone outside the immediate family who follows the same faith. 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.
Additional Reading to Share and Discuss with your Chosen Godparent(s)
To request for the Sacrament of Baptism, please complete the on-line form: Baptismal Request Form