Baptisms at St Mary’s

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

St Mary’s offers instruction all year round for adults wishing to be baptised. Adult baptisms generally occur at the Easter Vigil Mass, but they can also be arranged at other times.

Most infant baptisms at St Mary’s are private ceremonies, generally celebrated outside of Mass. West Melbourne parishioners are welcome to have their children baptised in the course of Sunday Mass.

In Baptism, the Heavenly Father says: “You are my child.” Baptism is adoption and admission into God’s family, into communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For this very reason, Baptism should be administered in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. These words are not merely a formula; they are reality. They mark the moment when your children are reborn as children of God. From being the children of human parents, they also become the children of God in the Son of the living God.

But naturally, God does not act in a magical way. He acts only with our freedom. We cannot renounce our freedom. God challenges our freedom, invites us to cooperate with the fire of the Holy Spirit. These two things must go together. Baptism will remain throughout life a gift of God, who has set his seal on our souls. But it will then be our cooperation, the availability of our freedom to say that “yes” which makes divine action effective.

Pope Benedict XVI

Homily given on 7 January 2007

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Baptism times, booking and pricing

Saturday Sunday Weekdays
  • 10:00am
  • 12:30pm–4:30pm
  • 1:30–4:30pm
  • Baptisms can be celebrated on any weekday. Times are negotiable.

Each baptism is celebrated during an individual private ceremony. We allocate an hour in our calendar for each baptism, but the actual ceremony lasts half an hour.

Bookings can be made by phoning the office between 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday. Payment is required at the time of booking. It can be made by credit card, cheque, EFT or cash.

Phone 03 9328 3474.

Once the booking is made, the parish office will post a letter of confirmation, a receipt, and a form. This form needs to filled in and returned to the office with a copy of the child’s birth certificate. We require this paperwork as soon as possible, and certainly before the meeting with the priest.

Subject to availability of the church, a baptism booking can be transferred to another date and time.

Baptism preparation and Saturday morning seminar

Baptism is an important step in the life of the child and his or her family. Parents need to properly understand its significant and be prepared for this great sacrament. If you book a baptism with a priest from St Mary’s, an appointment will be made for parents to meet with the priest.

In addition, St Mary’s offers baptism seminars every second Saturday of the month. These seminars are open to all parents bringing their children for baptism, irrespective of whether you are having a priest from St Mary’s or elsewhere. Parents and godparents are encouraged to attend one of these seminars, which are conducted by parents and a priest. The seminar offers practical tips on Christian parenting. Cost of the seminar is included in your booking fee.

If you organise your own celebrant

You are welcome to invite a Catholic priest or deacon from another parish to be celebrant. Please advise the office of the celebrant’s details. It is still necessary for the parents to return the completed form and a copy of the child’s birth certificate to the office. St Mary’s will prepare the baptism certificate for your celebrant to sign.

Seminar schedule
10:00 Morning tea
10:15 Parents & Godparents’ role in Christian formation, by a St Mary’s priest
11:00 Break
11:15 Teaching your kids to pray, by a St Mary’s parent
Noon Finish

2017 Dates

Saturday 11 February

Saturday 11 March

Saturday 8 April

Saturday 13 May

Saturday 10 June

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Saturday 8 July

Saturday 12 August

Saturday 9 September

Saturday 7 October

Saturday 11 November

On the day of baptism

Godparents

At baptism, a child is to be given one or two godparents who, together with the child’s parents, present the infant for baptism. From that day forth, the godparent also helps the baptised person to lead a Christian life and to fulfil the obligations inherent to baptism.

Catholic law allows only one godfather and/or one godmother. Godparents must be Catholics over the age of 16, who have received the Sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation, and who lead a life of faith in keeping with the duties of godparents. A good godparent is not necessarily a best friend, but rather someone who will be a good example to your children and support their Catholic upbringing.

Non-Catholics cannot be godparents, but they can participate as official witnesses of the baptism. Only the names of Catholic godparents are recorded in the official certificate and registry of the Church.

It is preferable that the godparents attend the ceremony. However, exceptional circumstances may not permit a nominated godparent to attend. In such a case, a proxy may stand in for the godparent at the baptism.

Candle and white garment

On the baptism day, parents usually provide a white garment or stole, and also a special baptismal candle.

The white garment or stole is placed on the child immediately after baptism to signify deliverance from Original Sin and victory over death. The candle signifies the light of faith, which is entrusted the parents and godparents on behalf of the newly baptised child.

Personalised candles and baptismal garments and stoles are easily available on the web. For more information, contact the parish office.

St Mary’s Crypt

As part of the restoration programme, the crypt has been developed as a meeting area. It is located under the church (to the rear, under the sanctuary). It is available for refreshments after baptisms. It can be entered via the school at the rear of the church and has two steps going down in to it. It can accommodate up to 70 people and is available for bookings at a fee of $150.