Baptism at S. Bartholomew
Baptism, sometimes known as Christening, is the way in which we become Christians and enter the household of God. In a way it is like a second birth-day for us, when we are born again into our spiritual selves and are adopted by God as His son or daughter.
When do baptisms take place?
At S. Bartholomew we usually celebrate baptisms on the second Sunday of each month as part of the 11am Parish Mass. Baptism is a time of welcome into the family of the church and so we encourage it to be celebrated when the whole congregation gathers rather than at a private service.
What do I need to do to prepare of a baptism?
The first thing to do is to speak to the parish priest, Fr Card-Reynolds. The best time to do that is after Mass one day. We will set up a meeting to discuss the baptism. If you are an adult seeking to be baptised, that will take place as part of Confirmation. At the bottom of this page you will find a Baptism Application Form for you to fill-in. It asks you various details about your child. These details are transferred to the Baptism Register that is kept at the church.
What about Godparents?
It is customary to have three Godparents but it is quite possible to have more or less. All Godparents must have been baptised themselves. They will be making promises on behalf of the child at the baptism that the child will be brought up as a Christian. It is therefore important that the Godparents are themselves Christian. Preferably they will not only be baptised but also Confirmed and regularly worshipping in a church. It doesn’t make sense to make a promise for someone else if we are not keeping it ourself! Choosing good Godparents can be a tremendous blessing for your child; someone who in the years to come will support them, pray for them, who is good at listening, can offer advice and who will be there for them in all the ups and downs of life.
Please fill-in the names and addresses of your chosen Godparents on the Baptism Application Form. If you have a good Godparent in mind but it happens that there is no way that he or she can come on the day of the baptism you can appoint someone, a proxy, to represent them. This needs to be arranged with the parish priest in advance.
What happens at the meeting with the parish priest?
Usually some weeks before the baptism there will be an opportunity to have a meeting with the priest. This is a time to discuss the meaning of baptism and to explain the service so that you are familiar with what happens. It’s a good time for you to ask questions too.
What happens on the day of the baptism?
Please ensure that you have arrived at S. Bartholomew at least ten minutes before Mass, which begins at 11am. You will receive a service booklet and hymnbook as you arrive and we invite you to sit at the front of the church. You are very welcome to invite as many of your family and friends as you like to the baptism. We are happy for photographs to be taken during the baptism but if a professional photographer or if the service is to be recorded with camcorder this needs to be arranged in advance with the priest. The actual baptism takes place at the back of church at the font. All the words spoken by the parents and Godparents are set out in the service booklet. It is customary but not necessary for those being baptised to wear white. The parish gives the newly baptized a large candle as a symbol that they have received the light of Christ. The Godparents are presented with prayer cards to remind them of the promises that they have made.
May I receive a Baptism Certificate?
A signed baptism certificate can be issued from the day of baptism onwards. Although the baptism itself is free of any charge we have to charge a fee for the certificate. Please arrange with the Parish Priest before the baptism if you would like to have a certificate issued on the day of the baptism itself. Certificates can be issued at a later date too.
Following the baptism is it possible to hold a party at S. Bartholomew’s Church?
Yes – the church has a meeting room with an associated kitchen, hallway and two WCs. In the summer months it is also pleasant to have access to the Thanksgiving Garden at the front of the church. Hire rates and arrangements can be found on this site at Venue Hire. The Parish Room can accommodate 40 people – if the garden is being used many more can be catered for.