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Baptism

The sacrament of baptism ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. It is the foundation for the sacramental life.

At baptism, the presider prays over the water:

Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Holy Spirit give to this water the grace of your Son, so that in the sacrament of baptism all those whom you have created in your likeness may be cleansed from sin and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit. (Christian Initiation of Adults, #222A)

Freed from Sin

Baptism frees us from the bondage of original and actual sin. Water is poured in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today, the sacrament of baptism is often performed on infants, shortly after birth. Adult baptisms take place at the Easter Vigil through the restored Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adults or children who have been baptized in a valid Christian church are not baptized again in the Catholic church. As we say in the Nicene Creed, “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…”

The Catechism teaches:
"The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ" (CCC 1279).

Baptismal Symbols

  • Water – The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.
  • Oil – At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as a reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
  • Light – The baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal or Easter candle that stands in the church as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.
  • White garment – The white garment that is placed upon us at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that we are destined for eternal life.

While in ordinary circumstances, sacraments in the Catholic Church are administered validly by a member of the ordained clergy, in an emergency situation, the sacrament of baptism can be administered by anyone.

In case of necessity, any person can baptize provided that he or she has the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that the water is poured on the candidate's head while saying: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (CCC 1284).

Baptism of Infants

Children below the age of seven can be baptized at the request of their parent(s) or the person who legitimately takes their place. Parents who are registered members of a different parish, must present a letter of permission from their pastor to have their child baptized at St. Leo the Great Church in Bonita Springs. A child to be baptized is to be given one or two godparents who together with the parents will present an infant for baptism. If there are two godparents, one must be male and one must be female. If the designated godparents are not registered members of St. Leo the Great Parish, they must obtain a Godparent Certificate from their own parish indicating that they are members in good standing and are eligible to act as godparents.

To be permitted to take on the function of godparent a person must:

  1. be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;
  2. have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the presiding priest has granted an exception for a just cause;
  3. be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;
  4. not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;
  5. not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.

A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate as a godparent except together with a Catholic godparent and then only as a Christian witness of the baptism.

Baptisms are celebrated by one of the parish priests normally on the second Sundays of the month during or after the 11:30am Mass depending on the parents’ expressed preference. Apart from a case of necessity, baptisms are not celebrated during the season of Lent and Holy Week. Photography is allowed as long as it does not interfere with the ceremony.

The parish will provide a white baptismal bib and a candle. After the ceremony these will be yours to keep as a reminder of this joyous celebration. If you wish to make a donation, it may be given to the priest or mailed to the parish. Please indicate that the donation is made on the occasion of your child's baptism.

The baptism will be recorded in the permanent sacramental records of the parish based on the information you provide. Therefore please ascertain the accuracy of the facts and names. A baptism certificate will be given to you by the priest after the ceremony.

In order to schedule your child’s baptism, please fill out the registration from available on our website www.stleocatholicchurch.org and call the office at 239-992-0901 or email to schedule an appointment with the Director of Religious Education. Make sure to bring the registration form with you for the meeting along with the Godparent Certificate(s), a copy of your child’s birth certificate and the registration fee of $25.

Baptism of Adults

Adults and children above the age of seven generally enter the Church by participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and Rite of Christian Initiation of Children. These persons are baptized at the Easter Vigil.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) outlines the steps for the formation of catechumens, bringing their conversion to the faith to a greater maturity. It helps them respond more deeply to God's gracious initiative in their lives and prepares them for union with the Church community. This process is meant to form them into the fullness of the Christian life and to become disciples of Jesus, their teacher. This includes an initiation into the mystery of salvation, the practice of faith, hope, and love, and other virtues in a succession of liturgical rites.

Persons baptized into another Christian church and now seeking full communion with the Catholic Church are also welcomed to participate  along with catechumens in the RCIA in the process of learning about the Catholic faith and being formed in that faith. They bring to the process of preparation their prior experience of Christian life and prayer. For a baptized Christian, reception into full communion with the Catholic Church involves reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) and then a Profession of Faith followed by the celebration of Confirmation and Eucharist.

For more information on RCIA and RCIC or to enroll in these programs, contact the Director of Religious Education.

 

 

Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)

 

 

Baptism of Infants
 

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