The Sacrament of Baptism

marking the beginning of a Christian life

Grandmother holding and kissing tenderly her granddaughter Warm affection
baby girl in a christening dress being held by her mother

Baptism

The First of the sacraments of initiation

Baptism is the sacrament that marks the beginning of the entire Christian life, and is the first of the sacraments of initiation. In Baptism we are freed from sin and become sons and daughters of God. In the sacrament we receive the very life of God, become part of the Body of Christ, become members of the Church, and are called to share in its mission.

Adults or children and youth over the age of seven that wish to be baptized, please Visit our Becoming Catholic page here.

Baptisms are typically celebrated the first and third Sundays each month at 2:30 p.m. (except for holidays).  Once a family is registered as a member of the parish and has completed Baptism preparation, they may call the parish office (763-421-2471) to set a date for Baptism.  Parents must also provide the parish with a copy of their child’s birth certificate PRIOR to the Baptism.

baptism preparation

marking the beginning of life with Christ

Parents who wish to have their child baptized must attend a two part Baptism Preparation process.  We request that you register as members of St. Stephen’s Church.

Part I is a Baptism Theology class held from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. once a month at the church.

Part II Part II is a gathering with a Baptism Support Couple. It’s not really a class so much as a time of fellowship and discussion. The couples coming for baptism meet with a Baptism support couple (and typically at least one other couple seeking the baptism of their child) in their home. It is a time to get to know other couples in the parish on a more informal and inviting atmosphere, and also to talk about things like raising their children in the Catholic faith.

Please contact the Parish Office at 763-421-2471 to verify date, meeting location and register for the prep sessions.

 

2017 Dates

  • June 12
  • July 10
  • August 14
  • September 11
  • October 9
  • November 13
  • December 11

 

2018 Dates

  • January 8
  • February 12
  • March 12
  • April 9
  • May 14
  • June 11

Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Libreria Editrice Vaticana: 2005. View Source.

This sacrament is primarily called Baptism because of the central rite with which it is celebrated. To baptize means to “immerse” in water. The one who is baptized is immersed into the death of Christ and rises with him as a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This sacrament is also called the “bath of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5); and it is called “enlightenment” because the baptized becomes “a son of light” (Ephesians5:8).

In the Old Covenant Baptism was pre-figured in various ways: water, seen as source of life and of death; in the Ark of Noah, which saved by means of water; in the passing through the Red Sea, which liberated Israel from Egyptian slavery; in the crossing of the Jordan River, that brought Israel into the promised land which is the image of eternal life.

All the Old Covenant pre-figurations find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. At the beginning of his public life Jesus had himself baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan. On the cross, blood and water, signs of Baptism and the Eucharist, flowed from his pierced side. After his Resurrection he gave to his apostles this mission: “Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

From the day of Pentecost, the Church has administered Baptism to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ.

The essential rite of this sacrament consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water over his or her head while invoking the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Every person not yet baptized is able to receive Baptism.

The Church baptizes infants because they are born with original sin. They need to be freed from the power of the Evil One and brought into that realm of freedom which belongs to the children of God.

Everyone who is to be baptized is required to make a profession of faith. This is done personally in the case of an adult or by the parents and by the Church in the case of infants. Also the godfather or the godmother and the whole ecclesial community share the responsibility for baptismal preparation (catechumenate) as well as for the development and safeguarding of the faith and grace given at baptism.

The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and the priest. In the Latin Church the deacon also can baptize. In case of necessity any person can baptize provided he has the intention of doing what the Church does. This is done by pouring water on the head of the candidate while saying the Trinitarian formula for Baptism: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Baptism is necessary for salvation for all those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.

Since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God.

Baptism takes away original sin, all personal sins and all punishment due to sin. It makes the baptized person a participant in the divine life of the Trinity through sanctifying grace, the grace of justification which incorporates one into Christ and into his Church. It gives one a share in the priesthood of Christ and provides the basis for communion with all Christians. It bestows the theological virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A baptized person belongs forever to Christ. He is marked with the indelible seal of Christ (character).

The name is important because God knows each of us by name, that is, in our uniqueness as persons. In Baptism a Christian receives his or her own name in the Church. It should preferably be the name of a saint who might offer the baptized a model of sanctity and an assurance of his or her intercession before God.