If you have recently had a baby, congratulations. Here in the Diocese of Elphin, your parish community looks forward to celebrating with you as you give thanks to God for the gift of life and also for the promise of eternal life.

As a Christian community, we welcome with great joy those who are presented for Baptism. We promise to help them by word and example to live the faith which we share with them. That is why, gathered around the baptismal font, we renew the promises that were made on our behalf when we were Baptised, and which we made for ourselves when we were confirmed.

Children depend particularly on the faith of their parents, and for that reason we ask parents (and god-parents), before presenting a child for Baptism, to consider seriously the responsibility involved. This responsibility refers not just to teaching the children their prayers, but to the example of your own faith in practice.

Parishes will normally ask parents (and god-parents if available) to participate in some form of pre-baptismal preparation. This should be regarded more as an opportunity to reflect prayerfully on what we are about to do, than simply as a task that has to be completed. The preparation is just as relevant for a second or third child and, indeed, parents who have previously celebrated Baptism, will have something additional to contribute to the gathering.

It may happens sometimes that there is only one baby for baptism; but sometimes there will be more than one. Please remember, however, that there is no such thing as a private Baptism, because Baptism is about membership of the Christian community.

Similarly, because Baptism is about membership of the faith community, it is normally celebrated in one of the Churches of the parish, where the community habitually gathers. Except in cases of emergency, Baptism may not be celebrated other than in the Church, except with the permission of the Bishop.

The ordinary minister of Baptism is the priest or the deacon. In a case of emergency, any lay-person may Baptise, using the formula: “I baptise you, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, while pouring water on the head three times.

The text of the ceremony of baptism can be found here on our web-site. We invite you to familiarise yourself with it, and to explore the selection of readings and prayers provided.