THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
CCC 1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), 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."
1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to "plunge" or "immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature."
1215 This sacrament is also called "the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit," for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one "can enter the kingdom of God."
1216 "This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding
. . . ." Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself:
THE BAPTISM OF INFANTS
The usual church for Baptism is the parish church of the family whose baby is to be baptised.
Contact should be made with the Parish Priest to arrange for the baptismal preparation and a suitable date for the baptism.
Most parishes offer baptismal preparation and the opportunity to meet parishioners and other families with children for baptism. This enables those seeking baptism to feel part of the parish community and heightens the significance of the baptism being celebrated in the local parish community.
Where for some good reason, the family is seeking to celebrate the baptism outside their parish church, the permission of their parish priest needs to be obtained and given to the celebrant of the baptism.
Godparents share in the responsibility with the parents, of introducing to, instructing in, supporting and forming the Catholic faith in their godchildren. For this reason, parents need to take great care in choosing godparents and take into account in their choice the commitment to and practice of the Catholic faith and preparedness of the godparents to be involved in the faith development of the child for whom they are accepting this responsibility. Because of the importance of the godparents’ role as a model and mentor of the Catholic faith they must be Catholics. Provision is made for further support by non-Catholics through the role of Witnesses of Faith who stand with the godparents.
The Baptism of Adults.
SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
CCC 1285 Baptism, the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptised] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."
1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God.<91> He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him "without measure."
1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah's, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people . On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit, a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim "the mighty works of God," and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptised received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn.
1288 "From that time on the apostles, in fulfilment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptised by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognised by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church."