When the crowd at Pentecost asks Peter what they must do to be saved, he answers, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Baptism is the initial, foundational sacrament in the life of a Catholic.
Planning to have your child baptized at St. Alphonsus? Congratulations! God has blessed you! The St. Alphonsus community rejoices with you as we prepare to welcome a new member.
Through baptism your child becomes part of the body of Christ and you affirm that you will raise your child in the practice of the faith.
Baptisms are held on the second and fourth Sundays at 12:45 p.m. (after the 11:30 a.m. Mass). Click here for information about scheduling a baptism, registering for pre-baptism classes and selecting godparents.
Adults are baptized into the church at the Easter Vigil after completing a process called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adults also receive the Eucharist for the first time and are confirmed during this beautiful ceremony. For information about RCIA, click here.
The ceremony of baptism abounds in symbols. The service includes tracing the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of the baptized, by which the community welcomes them and claims them for Christ. The pouring of water on the head is central in the Rite of Baptism. Baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit brings new birth. It cleanses from sin and gives a share in the death and resurrection of Christ.
The baptized are also anointed with sacred oil. In the Old Testament, solemn anointings were given to priests, prophets and kings. Jesus, in whom the Holy Spirit dwelled, was anointed with that spirit for the same purposes—to be our priest, prophet and king. Now we anoint the newly baptized to share in that same service, to be a priest by living a life of prayer, to be a prophet by announcing the word of God, to be royalty by accepting the role of leader.
A white garment is placed on the newly baptized and a candle lit from the Easter candle is presented. Both are signs that the newly baptized person now shares in the risen life of Christ.
The baptismal ceremony also gives us an opportunity for prayer, word and renewal. Readings from Scripture and a short homily offer insight into the sacrament of baptism and our roles in the lives of those to be baptized. We are also given the opportunity to renew our own baptismal vows where we renounce sin and profess our faith in God. The ceremony concludes with the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer and blessings for the parents, godparents and everyone present.
In baptism, we are united to Christ in His death and resurrection, signified by our going under the water and coming up again. Like all the sacraments, baptism bears a symbolic aspect, yet it is far more than a mere symbol. For in baptism we are “born (again) of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). Our sins are forgiven and we receive eternal life.