Why is Baptism necessary?
Due to the ‘Fall’ when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, all of mankind is tainted with Original Sin. Baptism is essential for salvation and is the means by which Original Sin is washed away from the soul. The form of the sacrament is the words of the priest ‘I baptise thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.’ The matter of the sacrament is the water washing over the skin of the person being baptised. Grace enters the soul for the first time and the person becomes and adopted son or daughter of God- the soul finds its ultimate fulfilment in this relationship with its Heavenly Father through the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity now dwells within the soul.
When should Baptism take place?
Usually babies are baptised as soon as possible after birth but anyone who wishes to become a Catholic and requires baptism can contact a priest to discuss this further. For an adult, the disposition for Baptism is the repentance and sorrow for past sin and the intention of cooperating with the grace of God and growing in faith and fidelity to Him.
What happens during Baptism?
For a child, the Godparents (usually one man and one woman who are faithful Catholics) declare this intention for the child and their commitment to aiding the child to this end. This is a solemn promise before God. A baptismal name is usually added to the person’s full name. This is chosen by the person being baptised or by the family in the case of an infant. The name is usually that of a saint and will serve as a reminder of the call to holiness of which the saint would provide a good example to follow. The baptised should form a special relationship to this saint, learning about their life and faith and asking for their prayers and protection.
“Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5