The Sacrament of Baptism
Celebrating New Life
Baptism is the gate to the other sacraments. It ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. Baptism has six primary effects. In addition to the removal of guilt for both Original Sin and personal sin, Baptism also removes the remission of all punishment that we owe because of sin, both temporal (in this world and in Purgatory) and eternal (the punishment that we would suffer in hell). Baptism also provides an infusion of grace in the form of sanctifying grace (the life of God within us) and provides the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the three theological virtues. Additionally, Baptism allows us to become a part of the Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ on earth and enables participation in the sacraments, the priesthood of all believers, and the growth in grace. Baptism seals the Christian with an indelible spiritual mark (the "character of Baptism") which sin cannot erase. The Catholic Church recognizes baptisms from other Christian denominations that baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, adults or children who have been baptized in a valid Christian church are not baptized again in the Catholic Church.
The Symbols of Baptism
The symbols employed in the Baptismal rite - water, anointing with oil, the white garment and the Paschal candle - speak to us deeply of our Christian calling and commitment. Water, necessary for life and growth and a memorial to Jesus' own Baptism; the anointing, indicating that someone is special as well as a sign of strengthening; the white garment is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and His glorious resurrection and represents our being clothed in Christ; and the candle lit from the Easter candle, pointing to the light of faith in Christ's promise of new life which is passed on to the newly baptized. These are symbols which come from our human experience and enhance the Baptismal celebration. But most especially, they are signs which work together in celebration and point beyond our mere human action.
Baptisms at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick
Since the earliest of times Baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit. For children and infants age six and under, or in unique cases, baptisms at the Cathedral take place after parents have attended a Baptism preparation class. Children age seven and above need to prepare for full initiation into the church at the Easter Vigil and need to take part in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children. Families of these children will be asked to participate in a program of preparation.
At the Cathedral of Saint Patrick, baptisms are celebrated on the first, second and fourth Sunday of the month following the 12:30 p.m. Mass. Parents must attend a baptismal class prior to the baptism if they have not attended a baptism preparation class at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick within the past three years. Baptismal classes are held the third Sunday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in the Family Life Center. Class registration is not required. Parents must also complete a baptism registration form and submit all the necessary paperwork along with the required Godparent certificate of eligibility at least a month prior to the scheduled baptism.
- Baptism Guidelines & Paperwork
- Baptism Registration Form
- Godparent Requirements
- Godparent Eligibility Form St. Patrick Members
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Charlotte, NC 28203
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