Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ's disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on our journey towards everlasting life.
Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters 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 and the Holy Spirit.
At the Baptism Service itself, the priest reminds you that in having your child baptised you are ‘accepting the responsibility of training them in the practice of the Catholic faith’. In other words, you are making a commitment in nurturing, guiding, teaching, encouraging and supporting your child in the development and growth of the faith; you are to help them make the values and principles of our faith their own. The words “responsibility”, “training” and “commitment” indicate that this is not a ‘light’ undertaking! On the contrary, it will require an investment from yourself in terms of time, effort and an active engagement with your faith.
Baptism is also about belonging to and sharing in the life of the church community where we celebrate God’s gift of love, a love that blesses and supports us in our journey through life.
In St George's parish we take preparation for the sacraments very seriously. Baptism, or Christening, is much more than a naming ceremony and a reason for a family party. The parents, and if feasible, (although not essential) the godparents, must attend a short course on the meaning of the sacrament, before a date can be booked with the parish office.
This short course of approx. an hour and half takes place at 8pm on the first Wednesday of the month in the sacristy at the back of the church. Conducted by Tony Castle, a very experienced catechist, it is very relaxed and informal with plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion. A certificate of attendance will be issued by the catechist.
Baptisms usually take place on a Sunday at 12:30pm (after the 10.45am Mass). Occasionally parents ask for the Baptism to take place during the 10.45am Mass. This is recommended by the Church - because it involves the whole Catholic community, which the child is joining- but is not always convenient or appropriate to families.
A note about Godparents
The role of the Godparents is to help support the parents in handing on the Catholic Faith to their child; they also represent the community at the Baptism itself. Please note: -
• A Godparent can’t be a parent of the child who is being baptised.
• A Godparent must be over 16yrs of age.
• A Godparent must be a baptised practising Catholic and have received their First Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation.
• You must have at least one Catholic Godparent who fits the above criteria.
• A person from another Christian denomination (i.e. Church of England, Baptist, Methodist etc.), is welcome but can’t be a ‘registered’ Godparent in the ‘Catholic’ sense. However, they can be admitted as a ‘Christian Witness’ and take the Godparent role at the Baptism Service.
• Maximum number of Godparents/Christian Witnesses is 4.
• A non-Christian (I.e. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Atheist etc.) is not permitted to be a Godparent.
Live outside the Parish?
If you live outside this Parish and you would like your child to be baptised here, you will need to get your Parish Priest’s permission. This can either be in writing or via email to the parish office.
Parish Office 01702 292726 Email: Fr Brett Adams
Tony Castle 01702 218660 Email: Tony Castle
If you are planning on having your child baptised it is a requirement that you attend a Baptism Course. This is a one-off session, with the next one being Wednesday 5th December, 7.45 for 8pm in St. George's Church. Please telephone or email the office to reserve your place on 01702 292726. The booklet 'Through Water' is necessary for the Course and will be made available on the evening at £4.50.