The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism marks the entry of the believer into the Christian community. Along with Confirmation and Eucharist, it is one of the Sacraments of Initiation, giving access to the full sacramental life of the Church. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and joined with Christ, sharing in His divinity and destined for eternal life. Baptism leaves us permanently changed, no longer the person we once were, but a new person, dying to death and sin, and rising to new life in Christ. In the words of St. Paul, "We were buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so too may we live a new life." (Romans 6:4).
The rite consists of pouring water over the head while saying the Trinitarian formula. Anyone can baptize in an emergency, although the usual minister of the sacrament is a priest or deacon.
Usually the rite includes anointing the forehead with holy oil to indicate that, even as Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so does the candidate now share in His everlasting life, participating in His glory as a member of His body. The newly baptized then receives a white garment and a candle lit from the paschal candle. Like Christ, who is the light of the world, the newly baptized Christian carries the light of Christ out into the world.
Ordinarily Baptisms are not celebrated during Lent.
Parents and godparents are asked to participate in a short preparation program.
This form is for those parents who do not live within the Sacred Heart or St Marggaret's parish boundaries and would like to baptise their child at the Sacred Heart Church in Penicuik or St Margaret's in Loanhead.
Requirements for Baptism
In the danger of death, any person, whether clergy or laity, may baptize another person. For validity, the person to be baptized must either be immersed in water or have water poured over his/her head while the following is said: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This is a right and valid baptism and therefore must be recorded in the parish register of the place of the baptism. Should the newly baptized recover, a ceremony should be celebrated in the person’s own parish, which will include the other elements of the rite of baptism (for example, anointing chrism oil, the clothing in the baptismal garment and the reception of the baptismal candle). Please call the parish office at 01968 673 709 to make arrangements.
In Church law, for the purposes of reception of baptism, every child under the age of seven is considered and infant and is therefore eligible for baptism without special catechesis. Once a child reaches the age of seven, which is the presumed age of reason, he or she must first take part in a special program before receiving the sacrament. Please call the parish office at 01968 673 709 for more information or to enroll in this class.
A one hour baptism class is required of all new parents and godparents prior to scheduling your child’s baptism. Classes are held two weeks before baptism.
If your godparents are not members of the Sacred Heart or St Margaret's parish, they may attend a similar class in their own parish. In this case, a letter from their pastor will be required one week before the baptism indicating that they are members in good standing.
A child may have two godparents, but one is sufficient. If two, then one must be male and the other female. It is not permitted to have two godparents of the same sex.
Also, as mentioned above, prospective godparents must attend a one-hour class.
According to ancient tradition, anyone over the age of seven who desires baptism will first be prepared by a period of prayer and study tailored to each person according to age, religious background, and other factors. A special program is available for children over the age of seven, while older teenagers and adults often prepare together. Please see the RCIA pages for more information.