Baptism – Some frequently asked questions.
- How do I get my child baptised in the parish of Egham?
Approach the priest, giving him your name, your address (the postcode is useful) and your telephone number. He will then get back in touch with you, arranging a meeting, and inviting you to join our baptismal preparation programme. Approaches by email or letter are a good idea.
- Can any child be baptised?
There are in fact a few things to be borne in mind. Children up to seven years old, but not beyond, are baptised as infants; after the age of seven they have to ask to be baptised themselves. With infants, at least one of the parents must be a Roman Catholic, and living within the parish boundary, or, if living outside the parish boundary, a member of the parish community.
- What does the Baptismal preparation programme involve?
After Mass on Sunday, on the first two Sunday of the month, parents, and if possible godparents, are invited to meet the priest, deacon and/or catechists. On the first Sunday there is a talk about the nature of baptism and the duties and responsibilities involved in having your child baptised. On the second Sunday the talk is centred on the ceremony itself. These talks are held most months, alternating between Egham Hythe, and Englefield Green. Each session will not last more than an hour. Your priest will supply you with a detailed schedule of dates.
- When does the actual baptism take place?
The children are presented to the parish on the third Sunday of the month att he Sunday Mass of your choice. At this Mass the very first part of the baptismal ceremony is carried out. The rest of the ceremony takes place on the last Sunday of the month, in the afternoon, either at 1.30 pm or at 3pm, in the church of your choice. It is possible to arrange baptisms at other times too, and we do realise that for family and travel reasons this may be desirable.
- How do we choose godparents?
Good question. Godparents are or should be very important people in your child’s life. Their chief role is to be sponsors of the child at baptism. This means that they themselves must be baptised and at least one of them, but preferably both, must be confirmed and practising Catholics. Two godparents is the norm, but you may choose more.
- Is there a fee for baptism?
No. All sacraments are completely free. It is customary however to give the priest or deacon a stole fee for performing the baptism. This is entirely at your discretion.
- Can you give me an idea of the baptismal ceremony itself?
The ceremony usually lasts about half an hour; you can choose hymns if you wish, though this is not compulsory. Members of the families taking part are usually invited to do one of the readings or lead the bidding prayers. You can find the whole Rite of Baptism here, following this link http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/textcontents/index/4/subindex/67/textindex/7
Books will be provided on the day itself.
- When should a child be baptised?
Your son and daughter should be baptised as an infant. It is traditional to have the child baptised sooner rather than later. Once the mother has recovered from the birth, and once the parents have got round to arranging things, then by all means have the child baptised without putting it off for an undue period. It is not the custom in this country to have the child baptised within a week of birth, as it is elsewhere, but it is a good idea to think of the baptism as the baby’s first important outing.
- Any last points?
Yes. Congratulations on the birth of your child. May she or he bring you much joy.