Sacraments

Baptism

 

 

The gospel of Saint Matthew says, "And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (28: 18-20 NRSV).

 

The law of the Roman Catholic Church says, “Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments, is necessary for salvation, either by actual reception or at least by desire. By it people are freed from sins, are born again as children of God and, made like to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church. It is validly conferred by a washing in real water with the proper form of words.” (The Code of Canon, canon 849) 

 

Child baptisms are scheduled for Sunday afternoons by appointment. Parents and godparents are provided the opportunity of a good understanding of the benefits and responsibilities of the Christian sacrament of Baptism through a meeting held before the baptism date.  

 

Adult baptism is generally provided through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A.) program. This process usually begins in the fall.

For more information or to request a baptism, please contact the parish office via phone, email, or the form found on the "contact" page of this website.

Frequently Asked Questions about Baptism

 

1. May a child be baptized if only one parent requests it?

The consent of at least one of the parents (who has full custody), or the person who lawfully takes their place, is required for the baptism of a child.

 

2. How long after the birth of a child should the Baptism take place?

As soon as possible after the birth: Parents are obliged to see to it that infants are baptized within the first weeks after birth. As soon as possible after the birth or even before it, parents are to go to the parish to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared for it properly (Code of Canon Law 867.1). An infant in danger of death is to be baptized without any delay (Code of Canon Law 867.2).

 

3. Can our child be baptized in a parish if we do not live within the parish boundaries?

Baptism, like all of the sacraments, is a celebration of a living relationship with God and with the local believing community, the parish. The sacraments are celebrations of our Church and, as such, are normally celebrated in the parish where the family resides or is registered and usually worships.

 

4. How do we arrange to have our child baptized in a parish other than the one where we normally worship?

If, for a good reason (for example, so extended family may attend), parents wish to have their child baptized in another parish, they need to approach the Pastor of that parish to ask if he is willing to baptize their child.

 

A letter of permission to have the baby baptized elsewhere must be obtained from the Pastor of the parish where the family usually worships. Normally, Baptism preparation may take place in either of the parishes.

 

5. Must we give our child the name of a saint to be baptized?

A baptismal name that is offensive to Christians is not permitted; a saint's name is encouraged, but not necessary.

 

6. Does my Parish Church keep a record of my Baptism?

Yes. The basic entry includes: name; date and place of birth of the baptized; minister of the sacrament; parents (including mother's maiden name); godparent(s), sponsor(s), and Christian witness(es); date and place of the conferred baptism (Canon 877).

 

7. Can our child be baptized if we're not practicing Catholics?

Baptism is more than a rite of passage for a child or a washing away of original sin. Baptism is a sharing in the life of the risen Christ. Baptism is also the first step of initiation into the Christian community. During the Rite of Baptism, parents promise to raise their child in the practice of the faith. Parents who are not practicing members of the community may be asked to delay the Baptism of their child until they have re-established that connection by participation in Sunday Eucharist.

 

8. Can our child be baptized if we're not married?

Not married in the Church? Your child's Baptism and your marriage are two separate issues. Your marital status may be discussed during your Baptism interview to encourage you to get married (or validate your marriage in the Church) if this is appropriate. However, as long as you are committed to raising your child as a Catholic, he/she may celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism and be welcomed into the Catholic Church.

 

9. Who can be godparents?

Since godparents take on two roles - that of support for the parents in the Catholic upbringing of their child, and that of representing the Christian community into which the child is being initiated - they must be practicing Catholics (fully initiated through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) who are mature enough (usually at least 16 years of age) to undertake this role. (Code of Canon Law, Canon 872). The godparent assumes no legal responsibility for the child.

 

10. What is meant by the term "Christian witness"?

A Christian witness is a baptized Christian and a member of a non-Catholic ecclesial community. (e.g., Anglican, United, Presbyterian, etc.)  A Christian witness is a witness to the Baptism, not a godparent.  Christian witness is allowed only if there is one godparent. If there is a Christian witness, when his/her name is entered in the Baptismal Register the term Christian witness should be included.

 

11. Can a parent serve as a godparent?

A parent may not serve as a godparent because the parent already has a distinct role and relationship with the child. A godparent's role is separate from that of a parent or legal guardian.

 

12. What does a godparent do?

A godparent is called to model what it means to live as a Catholic Christian. The godparent is to assist the child in living a Christian life.

 

13. What if the person I have chosen as godparent is sick or unable to be present at the time of the Baptism?

In exceptional circumstances, it is possible for the godparent to be represented at the Baptism by a 'proxy'. The name of the godparent will be entered in the Baptismal Register. The name of the person who has served as proxy is not entered in the Baptismal Register.

 

14. May a Catholic serve as a godparent at a non-Catholic baptism?

A Catholic may act as witness at a non-Catholic baptism, but not as a sponsor.

 

15. In the future, may I change the Baptismal sponsors?

On occasion, one or both of the people who served as godparents are no longer a part of the child's life or they have moved a great distance and the possibility of an ongoing relationship is compromised. In this type of a situation, parents sometimes ask to change the godparents in the records. Although a new person may now hold a place of prominence in the faith life of the child it is not possible to alter the Baptismal register. The register is a legal record and the original godparents were a witness to the event. It would be untruthful to remove the name of the original witness and replace it with a new name, perhaps someone who was not even present at the Baptism.

 

16. Why is Baptism most often celebrated on a Sunday?

Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the day the Church gathers to celebrate the memorial of Jesus' death and resurrection. Through the waters of Baptism we are immersed into life in Christ and joined to Jesus in his death and rising. Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation; Confirmation and Eucharist are the other two. Baptism leads the newly-baptized person to the Table of the Lord. Gathering to celebrate Baptism on Sunday reminds us that the Church celebrates this sacrament with the uninitiated because she desires to welcome the newly - baptized to full participation in the weekly celebration of Eucharist. We do offer Baptism both during the Sunday masses or outside of masses.

 

17. I no longer want to be Catholic. Can I remove my name from the baptismal register?

Baptismal Registers are records of historical fact. They are not archives of membership enrollment. Accordingly, a person's name can never be removed from a Baptismal Register after he or she has been Baptized. The only changes allowed are those necessary to correct errors originally transposed into the record.

 

GODPARENTS

 

When considering your Godparents for your child, please note the following:

  • A child may have only one or two Godparents at Baptism. If you choose to have two Godparents, one must either be a Godfather and one must be a Godmother.

  • At least one Godparent must be a baptized, practicing Catholic and have received the sacrament of Confirmation. He or she must also be above 16 years of age. You must submit a copy of their Confirmation certificate or an annotated Baptism certificate with their Confirmation date indicated before your child’s baptism date.

  • Your Godparent(s) must be registered members in a Catholic parish.

  • If married, your Godparent(s) must be married in the Roman Catholic Church or in another Church, with permission and a dispensation.

  • A non-Catholic but Christian Godparent is called a witness. The name for this Godparent goes on the Witness line on the registration form. This person accompanies the confirmed, Catholic Godparent in the faith journey of your child. Please indicate on the registration form which faith/church in which the Witness was baptized.

  • The Godparent(s) should be models of your faith, attend Mass, and receive the Sacraments of the Church.

  • Godparents do not need to be married to each other and they can be single.

If you have chosen Godparents who cannot travel to attend the actual Baptism Celebration, you may have a proxy stand in for him/her on your child’s special day.

Reconciliation/Confession/Penance

After his resurrection, Jesus breathed on the apostles and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:22). Jesus also said: “I tell you solemnly, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent” (Lk 15:7). “If we confess our sins to God, He will keep his promise and do what is right: He will forgive us our sins and purify us of our wrongdoings” (1 John 1:9). Christ has reconciled human beings with God the Father through his death and resurrection. By this sacrament we are made one again with God.  

 

Sacramental Confessions are by appointment only.

Marriages

Arrangements should be made at least six months in advance of the expected date of marriage. This time is required for the engaged couple to go through a marriage preparation course to help prepare for their new life together.

 

Please contact the parish office for more information.

Anointing of the Sick

James 5:13-15 says, “Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick, they should call for the elders (priests) of the church and have them pray with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up, and anyone who has committed any sin will be forgiven.”

 

The anointing of the sick can be a matter of urgency. Please contact the parish office if necessary.

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OFFICE HOURS

Saturdays: 5pm

Sundays:  10am

Weekdays: See Bulletin 

Tuesdays & Thursdays - 9am - 12 noon

St. Martin of Tours

166 West St, P.O. Box 74

Smithville, ON L0R 2A0

Phone: 289 956 0221

Email:st.martins@cogeco.ca

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