WHAT IS CATHOLIC BAPTISM?
Baptizing means "diving into the water". Baptism was originally intended to purify the soul and wash away sins. This is a very important sacrament for the Catholic Church because it marks the child's entry into the Christian community. Thus, it is the initial rite of the three sacraments of Catholic initiation: baptism, communion or the Eucharist and confirmation. Baptism is preceded by a preparative period to learn the meaning of this sacrament (for parents in the case of a very young child).
A baptism is organized several months in advance. You must first book a date with your parish. The competent parish is that of the parents' home, who may however obtain a derogation if the priest considers that the reason given is admissible. A baptismal file will then have to be completed with documents (family record book, birth certificate of the child, baptism certificate of the godfather and/or godmother...). Meetings to prepare and organize the ceremony will be held with the parish representative.
THE PROCEEDING OF THE CATHOLIC BAPTISM
The celebration begins with the drawing of the sign of the cross on the forehead of the future baptized. Then he enters the church, symbolizing that through his baptism he will enter the Christian community. It continues with the rite of water which constitutes the heart of the sacrament. Three times the priest (or deacon) pours water on the forehead of the baptized (called "catechumen") saying the words: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen". Then, the celebrant affixes the Holy Chrism (a mixture of natural vegetable oil and perfumes intended for anointing) on the forehead of the baptized. Then, the baptized wears a white garment (often a hat, a bra or possibly a christening dress for babies...), a sign of purity. Finally, the celebrant gives the baptized person or his parents a lit candle, which symbolizes the light of Christ. At the end of the ceremony, the godparents and the baptized person (or his or her parents if he or she is too small) sign the "baptismal register" which makes it possible to attest to the sacrament.
THE GODFATHER AND THE GODFATHER
During this ceremony, a godfather and a godmother are attributed to him. They are the witnesses of the ceremony. One of the two in the month must be baptized (for some parishes both must be baptized). Their role is to accompany the baptized person in his learning of the faith. Even if they have no legal role, they also have a privileged mission of education and support in the event of the parents' death. There is no limit to the number of godchildren a sponsor can have. The godfathers and godmothers have for custom to offer a gift to the baptized, traditionally a jewel will have their preference: bracelet, medal of baptism... See the selection of christening gifts >