A message from Father John Armstrong

Over the last couple of years I have noticed a change in the pattern of the age that parents choose to baptise their children. For the first time last year we now have more children baptised after they have turned one year of the age. I thought it would be helpful to reflect on the importance of the sacrament and to provide some practical guidance about how we respond to questions about having their child baptised into the Catholic Church.

In receiving baptism your child becomes a member of the Church. Therefore, the presence of the believing community represents the action of baptism. The gathered community is a sign of the Church who welcomes your child. In fact, the priest or deacon says to your child, calling him or her by name: 'The Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our saviour by the sign of his cross.' If possible baptism should be celebrated during the Sunday Eucharist when the community are gathered together to celebrate the Lord's Day, however, in the parish we normally have a welcoming ceremony with the baptisms occurring later on the Sunday morning.

Baptism is an important part of the responsibility of each parent when the priest or deacon asks, “You have asked to have your child baptised. In doing so you are accepting responsibility for bringing your child up in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring your child up to follow Christ's teaching, by loving God and our neighbour. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?” The parents of the child also chose god parents at least one of whom is a baptised and a confirmed Catholic over the age of sixteen. People who have been baptised in another Christian faith tradition who are willing to support the child in the practice of the Catholic faith may be chosen as one of the godparents.

I have also had discussions with parents who are not of the Catholic faith about whether they can have their children baptised or received into the Catholic Church. Parents have an important role in modelling the practice of the faith for their children and there can be many reasons why people might want their children baptised. If you are not of the Catholic faith but are interested in having your child baptised, or your child has expressed an interest in baptism, I am willing to talk to you about how this may be possible. The normal process is for the parents to also consider their own faith commitment and how they would support the child in their faith journey. This normally occurs through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults which commences in August each year.

Fr. John


Some of this material was prepared by Elizabeth Delaney sgs, Information Officer, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference with thanks to Catholic Ireland for the use of their content. The material may be reproduced for non-commercial use provided this notice is included. Copyright © 2005. More information about the sacraments may be gained at


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Corpus Christi Parish, South Tuggeranong ACT