Baptism – the first sacrament or Mystery. Baptism is our personal participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Byzantine tradition, Baptism is administered by total immersion into blessed water in order to emphasize the washing of rebirth that takes place.
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Congratulations on the birth of your child and sincere thanks to God for the gift of a new life! As a parish community we welcome you, and we look forward to being part of the Christian Initiation of your child into God’s Family – the Church. The following is a starting point.
Please note that in the Byzantine tradition, infants and children are fully initiated into the Catholic Church through the Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist. Baptismal Services usually take place on Saturdays or Sundays, with the reception of Holy Communion at the scheduled Divine Liturgy. Baptismal Certificates are presented at the completion of all rites, at the end of the Sunday Liturgy or mailed to the family at a later time. May the Lord bless you and may the light of His face shine upon you!
O Heavenly King, Spirit of Truth, the Giver of life, we thank You for the most precious gift of this new life, which You have created in Your own image and likeness and have brought forth into this world. We ask that You continue to bless this child. Keep him/her in Your loving embrace. Let the light of Your face shine brightly upon this child, allowing him/her to grow strong and healthy, both in wisdom and in stature, in faith and in love. Amen.
In Preparation for Baptism
Almighty God and father, Source of all blessings and Protector of infants, look with favor upon our child, (name), and, when he/she is reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, unite him/her to the flock of Your inheritance, make him/her a virtuous member of Your family, the Church, a consecrated vessel, a child of light and an heir of Your heavenly kingdom. Amen.
We ask you, O God, for the gift of wisdom to be good and faithful parents, to guide our hearts that we may fulfill our vocation on this earth; and so reach our eternal home in Your heavenly kingdom. We do not want the ambition, O God, which leads to prominence or personal satisfaction, but just the wisdom that we need to be good parents.
Grant us the wisdom that brings the common sense to understand that all life belongs to You.
Grant us the wisdom that enkindles in all things the desire to be ever faithful to You, to follow Your holy will, to choose always the right from the wrong, and thus fulfill our solemn baptismal and marriage promises.
We pray to You for guidance, O God, to do the best that we can; and to grow evermore faithful to the teachings of Your holy Church. Grant us the wisdom, the strength and the courage we need to live our family life in peace, in harmony and in love. Amen.
Godparents or Sponsors
Church law requires only one baptismal sponsor (Godparent). Traditionally, however, two baptismal Godparents are chosen for children: a Godfather and a Godmother. If for whatever reason one of the Godparents is not able to be present at the service, he/she may be represented by “proxy.”
The task of choosing sponsors (Godparents) is a very important one. Parents should select sponsors who understand that their primary responsibility is to care for the spiritual growth of the child. As you are considering whom to ask, please keep in mind the following important criteria set by the Church.
The primary sponsor (Godparent) must belong to the Catholic Church, having been fully initiated through the Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist, living a life of faith which befits the role of a Godparent.
It is permitted for a Christian of another Church or denomination to serve as the secondary sponsor (witness), but always at the same time with a Catholic sponsor.
Sponsors must be mature enough to accept the responsibility, not less than sixteen years of age.
Parents cannot become sponsors for their children; also, older siblings cannot become sponsors for their newborn brother/sister.
Sponsors must not be bound by any excommunication, suspension or deposition.
Sponsors are requested to attend the pre-baptismal session with the parents of the child in order to gain a better understanding of Baptism and Chrismation, and the obligations connected with it, so that they may be well prepared for an appropriate celebration of this sacrament.
FAQ on Sponsors
Question 1: “I would like my cousin Peter to be my daughter’s sponsor, but Peter is an atheist (agnostic or non-Christian); is this problematic?”
Answer: Yes, it is. During the service, sponsors are required to make a profession of faith in Christ Jesus on behalf of the child being baptized. Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and God cannot sincerely sponsor someone who is joining himself/herself to Christ. It would be inappropriate, to ask an unbeliever to act contrary to his/her conscience. It would also be unfair to the child being baptized, to have a sponsor who, in reality, denies what is essentially happening at the baptismal service.
Some people may be excellent humanitarians, but that doesn’t make them eligible to be sponsors for a baptism. It makes no sense to have someone who rejects faith in God to sponsor someone into a faith in-God community, the Church.
Question 2: “Mary and John are two of the most devout Christians I have ever met, but they are not Catholic. Can they both be the sponsors for my child?
Answer: Your child will be fully initiated into the Catholic Church through the Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Eucharist. It only makes sense that the primary sponsor be fully initiated into the Catholic Church. It is permissible for a Christian of another denomination to serve as the secondary sponsor (witness), but always together with a Catholic sponsor.
Question 3: “My son was baptized at the hospital by the chaplain. But now that we have returned home, we would like to have our son re-baptized at our parish church in the presence of family and friends.
Answer: No. Baptism is a mystery that can be imparted only once. Under no circumstances should anyone be baptized or chrismated (confirmed) twice. If there is a need for a family gathering and celebration, talk to the priest. He may provide you with some good ideas or suggestions for an appropriate church service and baptismal celebration.
Question 4: “We are Ukrainian Catholic and my daughter is in Grade 8, attending a local Catholic school. The program this year includes confirmation classes. Can my daughter attend those classes and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation together with her classmates?”
Answer: She may attend the classes (this would be a good opportunity to discuss the differences between our Chrismation and the Roman Catholic Confirmation), but she may not be Chrismated (Confirmed) again. The Mystery of Chrismation (Confirmation) may only be received once.
Baptisms follow the ritual and customs of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. A text can be provided for you to become familiar with the service and prayers.
A family member may be asked to read the Epistle during the Baptismal Service.
A white garment or outfit is required for the baptism.
In addition to the white outfit, a Kryzmo, otherwise known as a white receiving blanket, is also required (to be provided by the family). Immediately after Baptism, the newly-baptized child is received and wrapped in the kryzmo by one of the Godparents.
The baptismal candle is provided by the Church.
BAPTISM WITH SUNDAY DIVINE LITURGY
The Baptismal Service may be celebrated on one of the Sunday Divine Liturgies (Saturday at 5:00 pm, Sunday at 9:00 am or 10:45 am). The newly baptized child receives Holy Communion first, together with parents, Godparents and family.
BLESSING OF ITEMS
The blessing of any gift-items (icons, crosses, etc.) may take place at the end of the service.
GIFT TO THE CHURCH
There is no fee or cost associated with Baptism, or any other Sacrament! However, if you wish to make a donation to the Church on the occasion of the Baptism, you are welcome to do so!