About the Sacrament of Baptism

Arrangements at St Raphael’s

A child should be baptised as early as possible after birth.  Please approach the Parish Priest prior to the child’s birth, or soon after, to ensure plenty of time to arrange the baptism. 

In order to have your child baptised at St. Raphael’s you must either live in the Parish, or be part of Kingston University, or the Church must be your usual place of worship. 

In preparation for Baptism, all parents will need to attend a Baptism Preparation Course. These run approximately four times a year. The Parish Priest will give you more information on these.

At least one of the parents must be a practising Catholic and there must be reasonable hope that the child will be raised as a Catholic.  Godparents must be practising Catholics (Church Law).  So long as you have one Catholic godparent, you can have a practising member of another recognised Christian body who acts as the official witness to the baptism.

Adults seeking the Sacrament of Baptism would need to join the RCIA course.

The Baptism of St Augustine by St Ambrose by Benito Gozzoli

References from the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

1280 Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the character, which consecrates the baptised person for Christian worship. Because of the character Baptism cannot be repeated.

535 Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the river Jordan. John preaches “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. A crowd of sinners – tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes – come to be baptised by him. “Then Jesus appears.” The Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, “This is my beloved Son.” This is the manifestation (“Epiphany”) of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God.

1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: “Therefore . . . we are members one of another.” Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: “For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body.”

1254 For all the baptised, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.

1279 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 baptised is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.

1226 From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism.  Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptised 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.” The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans. Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptised at once, with all his family.”

1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. The catechism has its proper place here.