What is Baptism?
On behalf of the St. Clement of Rome parish community, CONGRATULATIONS! We know this is an exciting time for you as you welcome a new member of your family. We rejoice with you and invite you to make your child also a member of God's family by bringing them into the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism.
Baptism is the first of three Sacraments of Intitiation whereby a person becomes a member of the Church. These three sacraments taken together "lay the foundations of every Christian life" (CCC 1212) and Baptism as the first of these initial sacraments is "the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments" (CCC 1213). In his encounter with Nicodemus, Jesus said that "no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (John 3:5) signifying the sacrament of Baptism which he would institute. It was in his own baptism by St. John the Baptist that Jesus purified the waters of the earth preparing them to be a vessel of God's grace. It was in his suffering, death, and resurrection that Jesus opened the fountain of Baptism to all people. And it was fully instituted as a sacrament when Jesus commisioned his apostles to "go 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).
The Effects of Baptism
The first effect of the Sacrament of Baptism is the washing away of original sin and the forgiveness of all personal sins if the person being baptized is old enough to have committed any personal sins. Just as we use water to wash our bodies from dirt, the waters of baptism wash our souls from spiritual dirt or sin.
The second effect of Baptism is being made a new creature by being reborn through water and the Holy Spirit. In baptism, the Holy Spirit descends upon the person and takes up residence in his soul. Thus, Baptism makes us the dwelling place of the Most Blessed Trinity and a holy temple of God. Due to original sin, we are deprived of the divine life of the Holy Spirit. But when this original stain is washed away, we are born anew and made adopted children of God.
The third effect of Baptism is being made members of the Church, the Body of Christ, and the family of God, and unites us to all the baptized throughout the world.
Finally, Baptism leaves an indelible (permanent) mark on our soul which identifies us as being configured to Christ and sealed with the sign of faith. This mark can never be removed.
Before having your child baptized, there are several things you will need to do.
First, you will need to meet with one of our deacons to discuss the preparation process and to gather vital information.
Second, both the parents and Godparents will need to complete a baptismal seminar. These are held on the second Tuesday of every month from 7:30pm-8:30pm in the Parish Center except during the Lenten season. Seminars are offered in both English and Spanish. If you are unable to attend a seminar here at St. Clement, you may attend a seminar in another parish so long as you bring the certificate showing that you attended the seminar. If, however, you have been to a seminar here at St. Clement within the last three (3) years, you are not required to attend another seminar.
Third, we will need a certified copy of the child's birth certificate, a signed testimonial from the Catholic parents stating that they will raise the child in the Catholic faith, and a signed testimonial from each Godparent stating that they are eligible to serve as Godparents and that they will assist the parents in raising the child in the Catholic faith.
Once this is complete, a date can be set for your child's Baptism. Our regularly scheduled Baptisms occur on the first and third weekends of the month following the 4:00pm Mass in English and following the 2:00pm Mass in Spanish. Arrangements can also be made for private baptisms if necessary based on the availablility of the church building and the minister who will be celebrating the sacrament.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a baptism, please contact Deacon Robert Pendzimaz by calling the Parish Center at 504-887-7821.
If you are an adult and are interested in being baptized, please see the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) page or contact Mickie Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Parish Center at 504-887-7821.