Baptism is the first sacrament to be celebrated. Baptism, along with the commitment that it requires, makes us members of the Catholic faith community – those who believe and follow the God that we name as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The word baptism literally means plunging or drowning. As we know well in our Australian landscape, water can be both death-dealing and life-giving.
The symbolism of water is best seen in the way early Christian communities celebrated Baptism. In the baptistery, the candidates – anointed with oil to strengthen them for the journey – went down three steps into the water. There they underwent a drowning-type of death experience during which they affirmed their belief in the Trinity. They then went up out of the water to receive a white garment and lighted candle, symbolic of the new life they were undertaking as followers of Jesus Christ. Amid great joy they were led to the Bishop who anointed them with sweet-smelling oil of Chrism, a further sign that they had now committed themselves to live as ‘other Christs’. For the first time these newly baptised/confirmed were allowed to stay for the whole of the Eucharist and receive Communion.
The sacrament of Baptism is received only once in a person’s life. Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church recognises the validity of Baptism within the other mainstream Christian churches. However if a person wishes to receive further sacraments within the Catholic Church, a ceremony of reception into Full Communion into the Catholic Church is usually required.
The Celebration of the Baptism of Children in the Parish of Forster Tuncurry
We celebrate Baptism for children being presented by their parents or guardians on most Sundays of the year. These celebrations take place either during any of the Sunday Masses in the presence of the Parish community, or after the 9am Sunday Mass in our Forster church.
Before celebrating their baptism we ask the parents or guardians to attend a Baptism Preparation meeting, which is held on the second Monday of each month (except January) at 7pm in the Meeting Room of the Parish Office in Forster. During this short session, the nature and significance of Baptism is discussed and there is an opportunity for questions to be asked.
For those parents or guardians who do not reside in the Parish of Forster Tuncurry but would like to celebrate their child’s baptism with us because of family connections, this baptism preparation can be completed in your parish of residence. We would ask you to complete the Baptism Consent Form below and send to your Parish Priest. Once completed please return to our Parish Office, instructions are included and you can also upload the document via our Baptism Request Form below. The information provided confirms that you have completed this preparation session and that your Parish Priest has no objection to the Baptism taking place in the Parish of Forster Tuncurry.
NOTE: Completion of Baptism Consent Form is ONLY required if visiting from another Parish
If you would like further information, please contact the Parish Office.
For adults wishing to explore baptism, or become part of our church community, please see our Becoming Catholic page.