About Church Life

Baptism

I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.The words of baptism

Picture of baptism

The sacrament of baptism initiates us as members of the Christian community and is the gateway to the other sacraments.

[By] the sacrament of Baptism… a person is truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ, and is reborn to a sharing of the divine life.Decree on Ecumenism, Vatican II

Symbols at Baptism

Water

The water used at baptism recalls Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan and symbolises cleansing and renewal. As we begin a new life as a Christian, we are washed clean of sin.

Oil of Catechumens

Bless this oil and give wisdom and strength to all who are anointed with it in preparation for their baptism.From the blessing of the oil of catechumens

The blessed oil is used to anoint the person being prepared for baptism (known as the catechumen). As an ancient symbol of power, the oil of catechumens strengthens the person for their life as a Christian.

Oil of Chrism

When they are anointed with this holy oil, make them temples of your glory, radiant with the goodness of life that has its source in you…
As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.From the blessing of the chrism

Through the centuries, oil has been used as a sign of God’s favour. In the Old Testament, those called for a specific task were anointed with sacred oil. The newly baptised are anointed on the head with chrism to symbolise our calling into Christian life, where we are called to be priest by living a life of prayer, to be prophet by announcing the Word of God and to be king by leading with integrity.

Light

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.Jesus Christ, Gospel of John, chapter 8 verse 12

At Easter, the Paschal candle is lit as a sign of the risen life of Christ. This life is stronger than death. It cannot be put out but shines brightly in the world as a sign of hope, strength and love.

At baptism, a small candle is lit from the Paschal candle for each of those baptised. Handing the candle over, the priest says, Receive the light of Christ. For the baptism of children, parents are then instructed to keep the light burning brightly and the flame of faith alive in their child’s heart.

White Garment

You have become a new creation and have clothed yourself in Christ.From the rite of baptism

The person being baptised is dressed in a white garment to symbolise the absolving of sin and a visible sign of Jesus’ light and life.

Baptism Arrangements

To arrange a baptism, please contact St Mary’s either by phone or send us an email via our Contact page.

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