Sacramental Life » Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated on the second and fourth Sundays of each month at 12:30 pm. Arrangements must be made in advance. Participation in a baptismal class is essential. Please call the Julie McGuire at the Pastoral Center at 708-453-2555 to register.

Baptism Preparation at St. Celestine Parish:

In the Sacrament of Baptism, water is poured upon a person using the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19). The one baptized is cleansed of all sin incorporated into Christ and made a member of His Body, the Church. Through Baptism one receives sanctifying grace, the virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When parents have a baby they make all efforts to have this new life baptized into the Church.

A Baptismal preparation class is required at St. Celestine Parish for all who would like their infants baptized. This program for parents with infants through age 5 gives support to parents in their child's spiritual life. It consists of discussion questions, films, sharing time, and a prayer service. For first child baptism, the film consists of the baptismal ceremony and thoughts on why you are having your child baptized. For a second or third child the film consists of reasons for baptism, with such thoughts as cleansing, dying and rising to Christ, and belonging to the Church community.

To attend a Baptism Preparation Class, you need to call the Pastoral Center between 9 am and 4 pm. Barbara Kubiniec-Mares will be happy to help in making all the arrangements. All who are in the Baptismal Preparation Ministry are very enthusiastic in supporting parents, and relaying information about Baptism, the sacrament, and the ceremony. Some who had attended a class for their child, were so impressed they now are part of this program. Baptism of older children and adults is arranged by the Pastoral Center or thru the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).

The Baptismal Symbols Explained:

Water - This is for cleansing and is a sign that our sins are washed away. Baptism cleanses us of original sin with which we are all born and, in the baptism of adults, of every sin committed prior to baptism. Water is also necessary for life and so is a sign, too, that the life of the risen Christ is ours.

Sign of the Cross - As the cross is traced upon the child's tiny forehead, Christians remember that Jesus tasted the fullness of human life and will be with this young person through every phase of his or her own life. Together with Jesus, this child will touch and taste all of life's beauties and sorrows. Because Jesus is present, the child will never be alone.

Oils - During the baptismal ceremony your child will be anointed with oil. In ages gone by, oil was a healing remedy and a sign of power. Kings, priests, and prophets were anointed, as were the sick, so that they might be strengthened and healed. Entering the community of faith is an important moment in the life of your child, one that calls for future strength and dedication. By using oil, the church dramatizes its prayer that this child will be strengthened by God and by the prayer of the whole community.

Candles - These symbolize Christ - The Light of the World. The baptismal candle is lit from the Easter candle, which stands near the altar at Easter as a sign of the risen Christ. The baptismal candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered the child's life; and its flame symbolizes the flame of faith which will burn through the life of the child.

White Garment - This garment is a relic of the new clothes worn by Christians after baptism in the first centuries. It is a sign of innocense and the new life or resurrection.

Baptismal Ceremony:

The ceremony begins with a warm welcome to the family beginning in the vestibule or outside the church, weather permitting. The children are signed with the cross and the assembly processes inside to the front of the church where they are seated.

Once inside, the gospel is proclaimed and a brief homily is given. The assembly then processes to the Baptismal Font in the back of the church.

At the font the people are gathered in a circle and the anointing and actual baptism takes place. The white robe is also placed on the baby. The assembly then processes to the altar.

At the altar the assembly gathers with the lighted baptismal candle, we say the Lord's Prayer and receive parental blessing.

This whole process represents our faith journey. This movement of the people thru the church duplicates our movement thru life as we seek to draw closer to God. We come to the church seeking to be received into the Body of Christ. Having been welcomed, we are drawn to the ambo to hear God's word. Strengthened by the Word, we move toward the Living Water of Baptism to die and rise with Christ to new life. At last, united in baptism, we dare to gather around the altar where time and again, throughout our lives, we will encounter the Lord in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Godparents:

The Church requirements for Roman Catholic Godparents are:

A child must have one practicing Roman Catholic godparent in good standing with the Church. This Catholic godparent usually must be at least 16 years old and be mature enough to understand, accept and carry out the duties of a godparent.

  • A godparent must have received the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.
  • A godparent must be living an exemplary life consistent with faith and morals as taught by the Roman Catholic Church.
  • A godparent must be actively practicing the faith.
  • A non-Catholic, baptized Christian may be chosen as a Christian Witness, as long as one godparent is Catholic.