Congratulations on your new baby
Congratulations on the birth of your child! The Parish Community shares in your joy. Thank you for wanting to have your baby join the family of the Church through Baptism.
To allow for preparation for your child’s baptism, parents are asked to give one months notice to the Parish Office.
Since Baptism is not merely a naming ceremony for your child, but rather a welcoming of each new Christian into our parish community, these are very much community celebrations. We have a team of Baptism Friends who visit each family in their own home to help them to prepare for the big day. They will help your family to become familiar with the ceremony itself, with what is expected of you; they will explain the practicalities of the day, and answer any questions that might arise. They will also be present at the Baptism, welcoming each child on behalf of the parish community.
Time for celebration and Joy!
Your baby’s baptism is a time for celebration and joy. And, naturally, you want the best for your baby. We want to help you plan and prepare for the baptism in the best possible way.
Much to do
It’s likely that at the moment you are concerned about he birth of your baby. Either it’s an event you are waiting for; or you are still recovering form it. Before the baby arrives there is so much to think about; where will the baby sleep, baby’s cothes, will the baby be completely healthy, perhaps even the prospect of twins? Then, all of a sudden, there is chaos. The baby finally arrives and their is no time to think. There is so much to get done. Some people think of baptism simply as something else to “get done”. They speak of baptism as having the baby “done”. That’s very sad. For baptism is a birth into the Christian community and is in every way as solemn and important as birth itself. It’s an event that needs to be prepared for.
Your faith is important
Your most important preparation is to look at your own faith. Your baby will be born with your features and will pick up your mannerisms. As he or she gets older your child wil grow up, too, with your faith. That is why, when you approach the church about having your child baptised you will be encouraged to think through your own faith and the part it plays in your life. The very fact that you have asked to have your baby baptised shows that you recognise the importance of God in your life. From the earliest days children too young to answer for themselves have been baptised, usually as they accompanied their parents into the Church. For the church recognises the desire of Christian parents to share the life of Christ with their children. Jesus Christ, like you, wants the best for your child.
Growing in God’s Love
Your efforts will not only help your baby to grow up in the love of God: they will also help you to grow. As you teach your child to pray you yourself will deepen your prayer; as you teach you child to appreciate the Mass your own faith will be enriched. Your baby’s baptism is only the beginning of a new life in which you will grow closer to one another in the family and closer to God. The Church welcomes your child into its midst with love and prayers for the future peace and happiness of your family in the years ahead.
The signs and symbolism of Baptism
Sign of the Cross
A sign on something shows its origins or ownership. The sign of the cross is the mark of Christians for Jesus Christ died on the cross. parents and god-parents trace it on the child’s forehead to show that the baby belongs to Christ, who now offers his help and grace to face and overcome the sufferings of life.
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.
Oil of Baptism is olive oil rubbed on the breast of the baby, just as athletes used to rub themselves with oil to strengthen and prepare for the fight ahead. Oil of Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam (sweet-smelling ointment) and is rubbed on the crown of the head. It is a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The profession of faith which you make on behalf of your child at baptism will later be confirmed personally by your child in the sacrament of confirmation when Oil of Chrism will be used again. The oils are blessed by the bishop around the time of Maundy (or Holy) Thursday.
This garment (usually a white shawl) is a relic of the new clothes worn by Christians after baptism in the first centuries. It is a sign of innocence and the new life of resurrection.
These symbolise Christ – the Light of the World. The baptismal candle is lit formt eh paschal 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 symbolises the flame of faith which will burn through the life of your child.
Your baby’s baptism will be recorded in the parish Baptismal Register. In the years ahead proof of baptism may be obtained in form of a certificate issued on the basis of this registration. Your child’s confirmation, marriage or ordination will also be noted alongside this entry in the register.
Confirmation in the faith.
Confirmation celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2, verses 1 to 13, we read of the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. They had been hiding after Jesus’ death, afraid and uncertain. The coming of the Holy Spirit with his gifts inspired them and enabled them to take the step of preaching the good news.
We are made members of God’s family at Baptism. At Confirmation, our Baptism is completed or “sealed” by the Holy Spirit and we are called to be Christian witnesses, just like the apostles. The whole of our Christian living and the life of the Church, too, are sustained by the same Spirit.
Who Can Receive?
Any baptised Catholic wishing to advance on the path of developing their faith. For young people, this is usually part of the 5th/6th class primary school programme.
For adults who were not confirmed as children, it means taking part in the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
A sponsor stands behind the candidate for Confirmation at the Confirmation ceremony and places their hand on the shoulder of the candidate as a sign that they will support them in living out their baptismal promises. However, the role of the sponsor is not just for one day. The sponsor undertakes to assist the confirmed person in growing in the fullness of their faith and in their membership of the Catholic Church.
A person qualifies as a sponsor by being a reasonably mature adult, who is at least 16 years old, and has already received the Sacraments of Initiation, (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) themselves. The Confirmation sponsor may be one of the people who was a sponsor at Baptism (subject to the notes here).
Choosing a sponsor
(Ref. Code of Canon Law §874) To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
- be appointed by the candidate, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
- be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;
- be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
- not labor under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;
- not be either the father or the mother of the candidate.
The tradition of taking a new name at Confirmation emphasises the new identity of a Christian being called to witness to their faith. People are encouraged to take the name of a saint or a person from the Bible who inspires them in some way.
The oil used is called the Oil of Chrism. It is olive oil mixed with balsam that is blessed by the bishop and priests of the diocese in the Cathedral at the ‘Chrism Mass’ on Holy Thursday. The Sacrament is conferred with the anointing with this ‘Oil of Chrism’ on the forehead as the Bishop says ‘Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit’.
Eucharist – First Holy Communion
Preparation for First Holy Communion.
Not only is it an important year in the life of your child, it is also an important year for their class, their teachers, and also for you the parents/guardians. It is also a special time too for the parish community. Your child’s faith journey began the day you brought your child to the Church to be baptised. And what a special day that was for you and the family. Now, that child has grown, they are about to take another step in their faith journey, as they prepare for First Holy Communion. And we all have a part to play.
While the Home is the primary learning place, each parent/guardian will be asked to take on a special role over the next few months, to journey with your child as they prepare to receive the sacraments, as there is only so much that can be taught in school. Our teachers do a wonderful job in preparing the children for their special day, but ‘home is where the heart is’. And the home is the domestic Church, where our children are influenced by what they see and learn.
As part of our preparation for First Penance and First Holy Communion, we run in tandem a parish based programme, ‘Do this in Memory’. This programme is a continuous programme, connecting the classroom with the home and the parish. As part of the programme, there is an Information Night, (where we meet the parents), an Enrolment Ceremony for you and your child, and there are four Sundays set aside where you and your child will have some participation in the Sunday Mass. It is also hoped that you and your child will frequent mass regularly as your child prepares for this special day.
Congratulations on your decision to get married. It’s an exciting time with lots of wedding planning ahead!
While you need only give three months notice of your intention to marry it is common practice for a couple to book the church a long time in advance. So it is important to contact the Parish Office to make sure that the church is available on the day you require. You will also need to look at participating in a marriage preparation course which is a lovely way for you as a couple to take a look at your own relationship. The Civil Authorities also have state requirements which must be fulfilled.
The following information may be helpful
- Go to a priest in the parish of the bride at least THREE MONTHS before the date on which you plan to marry. The meetings of the couple with their priest are a key part of the preparation process. These meetings have taken on a new significance in recent times, because it can no longer be assumed that seeking a Church wedding is an expression of Christian faith on the part of one or both partners. These meetings are an opportunity for a couple to reflect on what Christian marriage asks of them.
- The priest will also begin the process of filling out Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Forms and advise you about the various documents that you need to collect. You will need to get a Certificate of Baptism from the parish in which you were baptised and a Certificate of Confirmation from the parish in which you were confirmed. These documents should be issued no less than six months prior to the date of marriage.
- If you have lived somewhere else, other than your present parish, since you were sixteen, then you will need to get a Letter of Freedom from each parish in which you lived for more than six months to state that you did not get married while you lived there. Any priest from the parish (or parishes) where you lived will supply you with this document.
- The bishop’s permission is required for a Church marriage involving someone under 18. Christian marriage requires the capability for a mature commitment and therefore such permissions are only granted in exceptional circumstances
- Freedom to marry: The rules governing freedom to marry in the Catholic church can be complicated. The best advice when one party has been married previously (either in a civil or religious ceremony) is not to make arrangements until the diocesan office has been consulted.
- Mixed Marriages: Special permissions are required for full church recognition of marriages between a Roman Catholic and a baptised non-RC or someone unbaptised. Applications are handled by the diocesan office once the priest of the catholic party has forwarded the standard paperwork.
- It is recommended that all couples who are getting married should attend a Pre-Marriage Course . You can get an application form from a priest in your parish. It is better to attend the Course well before the date of the Marriage.
- The marriage ceremony should normally take place in a church in the bride’s parish. If the couple have a good reason for getting married elsewhere, the bride should inform a priest in the parish where she is now living to give her the necessary Letter of Permission to get married outside the parish. Obviously, in this case, the couple will need to make arrangements for the use of the church in the parish where they intend to get married.
- Normally a priest from the bride’s parish officiates at the marriage ceremony, assuming that the ceremony takes place in the bride’s parish. If you wish to have some other priest (e.g. a relative or friend) officiate, inform the priest in the parish where the ceremony is to take place and he will give the necessary authorisation. In Civil Law, it is now a legal requirement for the Officiant (the priest who officiates at the marriage) to be on the ‘List of Officiants’ submitted by each local Bishop to the Registrar-General.
- Ask the priest who is to officiate at your wedding to help you with the task of creating your marriage ceremony. There are a variety of prayers, blessings, readings, etc. Read through these together and choose the ones you prefer. Choose the person(s) who will read at Mass, person(s) to read the Prayers of the Faithful and the people to bring up the gifts at the Offertory. Rehearse the ceremony in church with the priest before the wedding day.
- To celebrate the sacrament of Marriage does not require the celebration of Eucharist (Mass). While it has been generally the custom, it may not always be appropriate for example in a “mixed” marriage or when a couple are not regularly practising. Some couples today find the celebration of Marriage without the Eucharist, to be more appropriate for them.
If you have any further queries regarding your Church Ceremony, please contact the Parish Office. You may also find the following links helpful www.together.ie and http://www.gettingmarried.ie/.
Priesthood / Diaconate
If you have an interest in finding out more about the path to priesthood or the permanent diaconate in this diocese, you are very welcome to contact our Diocesan Vocations Director.
What Is The Sacrament of Reconciliation?
The Sacrament of Penance is also known as the ‘Sacrament of Reconciliation’ or traditionally called ‘Confession’. It is the rite by which sins are confessed and forgiven. Sin is failure to recognise and love God in the way we think or act. Sin is also not just a failure to love God directly but also a failure to love one another. This is referred to as “the community sense of sin”.
In this sacrament people are forgiven their sins by the words and actions of the priest. We call this ‘Absolution’. The priest represents God and the community who is affected by sin and the priest ministers forgiveness on behalf of God and the community.
Forms Of Celebration
The sacrament can be celebrated in a one-to-one encounter with a priest: this is known as ‘individual confession’. Many parishes also organise ‘Penitential Services’ at special times; e.g. Advent, Lent and Parish Missions. In this form of celebration, which is communal, people prepare as a community and many priests hear the confessions individually and people receive absolution individually.
Penance is a sign of sorrow and a commitment to try to make amends. It is also a sign of our sincerity to change our lives. This is what is meant by conversion. When the Sacrament is a communal celebration, the penance is said as a community, once all have had the opportunity to confess. When celebrated in the traditional one-to-one form, a penance is given and the person takes on that penance privately.
Any person who has been baptised and prepared appropriately can celebrate this sacrament.
What Is the Sacrament of the sick
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is exactly what it says. It is a prayerful celebration for someone or for a group of people who are ill and are blessed by the priest with Holy Oil. It is not a sign that someone is dying as it was perceived in olden times. It is not a magical ritual; the person doesn’t automatically get better immediately after an anointing. God’s healing and loving presence are called upon that the sick person might be raised up and restored to health.
The words of blessing over the oil say it all. It is “oil intended to ease the sufferings of your people”. Oil soothes and heals. Oil blessed for the sick is a sign of the Anointed One (Messiah) of God. The person so anointed receives the healing, saving power of the One who saves (Messiah).
The oil that is used is Olive Oil. The Bishop and priests bless it at the ‘Chrism Mass’ on Holy Thursday in the Cathedral.The holy oils are then taken each year to each parish and hospital for use throughoout the year in the Sacrament of the Sick.
A person is anointed on the forehead and the palms of the hands while the priest says: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you by the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who heals you, save you and raise you up.”
Who Can Be Anointed?
Anyone in ‘serious illness’, those who are infirm, in advanced years, or anyone prior to surgery. (It is not only for when a person is in ‘danger of death’.)